Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1200; 1910.1200(g)(2)(xi)


April 18, 2008

Ms. Moraima Lugo-Millan
Defense Supply Center-Richmond
Hazardous Materials Information Division
8000 Jefferson Davis Highway
Richmond, VA 23297-5100

Dear Ms. Lugo-Millan,

This is in response to your correspondence dated December 11, 2007 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. In your letter you requested clarification of the material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirements under OSHA's Hazard Communication standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200. Your paraphrased inquiry and OSHA's response follow.

Question: Some of the MSDSs maintained by our system include a statement that the information contained on the MSDS is "valid on the date of printing only." If a MSDS is printed containing the aforementioned quoted statement on one day, and then one wants to refer to the same MSDS on the next day, would the document be deemed valid on the day subsequent to printing? You specifically ask if an MSDS with the above quoted statement would be considered to be in compliance with OSHA regulations.

Answer: OSHA's hazard communication standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xi) states that MSDSs shall contain ". . .[t]he date of preparation of the material safety data sheet or the last change to it . . . " A material safety data sheet is intended to be a reference document that reflects the most accurate and current information about a specific hazardous chemical (product) that is available at the time that the MSDS is developed. It is imperative that an MSDS is a correct reflection of current scientific information related to the hazardous chemical or product, again, as of the date that the MSDS is prepared. Failure to include a preparation date on the document would be a violation of 29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)(xi). It is the chemical manufacturer's (or the responsible party's) obligation to ensure that the information contained on an MSDS is accurate and meets the requirements of the HCS. The document would be deemed in violation of the HCS if the dates required by the standard were not included on the document.

As you may know, the MSDS must accompany the initial shipment of a hazardous chemical to the downstream user. MSDSs must be updated whenever the required information on the data sheet changes and the updated data sheet must then be sent with thenext shipment of the chemical to the downstream user. MSDSs are therefore tied to the initial shipment of the chemical, and the information on the data sheet would be considered current for that particular shipment of the chemical, and remains valid until such time that the information gets updated.

Thus, a statement that the information is "valid on the date of printing only" is inconsistent with the requirements of the HCS. The MSDS is valid until the information is superseded, and without the date of preparation or last change, it is difficult for the user to know whether it is a correct reflection of current scientific information. This statement also inappropriately attempts to place the duty of learning about updates on the user; the HCS places the duty of providing updated MSDSs on manufacturers, importers, and distributors.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents