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Hazardous Materials SignIn recent weeks I have been having conversations with some Cazbah customers about SDSs on their websites.  The conversations center around how OSHA is requiring manufacturers and distributors of hazardous chemicals to update the MSDS (Material Safety Data  Sheet) to the new SDS (Safety Data Sheet) format.

In 2012, OSHA decided they needed to update their HazCom 1994 standard to create some more consistency between the different MSDS sheets and get them more aligned with a global standard of labeling hazardous chemicals.  This is what OSHA says about the new standard:

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Once implemented, the revised standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information in the workplace, making it safer for workers by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals while providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.


If you are a manufacturer, you should have your SDS completed by now.  If you are a distributor, you need to make sure the manufacturers of the products you are selling have provided you with the updated SDS. Here are some important deadlines that you need to keep in mind:

  • December 1, 2013 – By this date, employers must train employees on how to read GHS formatted labels and SDSs. Changes to labels are probably more substantial, however, employees need to understand where to find information on the  SDS, especially in section 2 where critical hazard information is located.

  • June 1, 2015 – By this date, chemical manufacturers and distributors should have completed their reclassification of chemicals and be shipping GHS formatted SDSs and labels with their shipments. By this time too, a majority of your library will have turned over.

  • December 1, 2015 – Distributors have an additional six months beyond the June 1, 2015 date to pass along manufacturer labels and SDSs in the older formats. However, beyond December 1, 2015, all SDSs and labels in the U.S. should adhere to HazCom 2012 provisions.

  • June 1, 2016 – By this date, employers should be fully compliant with HazCom 2012. That includes making any necessary updates to their HazCom program, training employees on any newly identified chemical hazards (identification of new hazards is likely during the reclassification process chemical manufacturers undertake), and updating safety data sheets libraries and secondary labels.


Work with your Cazbah account manager to make sure you have updated all your MSDS to SDS as soon as possible.  Click on the following link for more info on outsourcing your SDS Compliance. OSHA has been known to review compliance and pass out hefty fines for violations of non-compliance.  Fines can go anywhere from $100 to $500,000.  For more information about OSHA penalties visit “5 Ways to Avoid OSHA Fines for HazCom


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