All employers are required to have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) available in the workplace where it can be accessed easily by an employee for any hazardous chemical employees can potentially be exposed to, due to a spill, leak or other accident. A hazardous chemical is defined as any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, or gas that can spontaneously ignite or ignite when exposed to air, or a hazard not otherwise classified.
The following categories of product are exempt by OSHA from needing an SDS:
- Tobacco or tobacco products
- Wood or wood products — Wood or wood products which have been treated with a hazardous chemical and wood which may be subsequently sawed or cut, generating dust, are not exempt
- Articles — An article is a manufactured item other than a fluid or particle: (i) which is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture; (ii) which has end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon its shape or design during end use; and (iii) which under normal conditions of use does not release more than very small quantities, e.g., minute or trace amounts of a hazardous chemical, and does not pose a physical hazard or health risk to employees. Examples of exempt articles include toner or inkjet cartridges, syringes, and a dental burr.
- Food or alcoholic beverages which are sold, used, or prepared in a retail establishment, and foods intended for personal consumption by employees while in the workplace.
- Any drug, as that term is defined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act when it is in solid, final form for direct administration to the patient (e.g., tablets or pills); drugs which are packaged by the chemical manufacturer for sale to consumers in a retail establishment (e.g., over-the-counter drugs); and drugs intended for personal consumption by employees while in the workplace (e.g., first aid supplies). — A pill that is crushed and mixed in something for a child in the office is not therefore exempt.
- Cosmetics which are packaged for sale to consumers in a retail establishment, and cosmetics intended for personal consumption by employees while in the workplace.
- Any consumer product used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the manufacturer for the same time and frequency as a normal consumer. — For example, the polish you use to dust the waiting room once a week would be exempt but the ammonia you use to treat a gluteraldehyde spill would not be exempt nor would the bleach you use for dental procedures or even to do more laundry than a normal consumer.
- Nuisance particulates where the chemical manufacturer or importer can establish that they do not pose any physical or health hazard.
- Ionizing and nonionizing radiation.
- Biological hazards. For example, blood, viruses, bacteria
Make sure all your employees know how to access an SDS in an emergency.