MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) are provided by chemical manufacturers to give you specific detailed information on individual cleaning chemicals and their contents. MSDSs outline what chemicals are contained in a given product’s formula, what potential hazards they may (or may not) present, proper warnings to observe when handling or storing, what first-aid steps to take in the event of a problem, and so on.
OSHA (the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration whose efforts seek to help make workplaces safe and healthy for employees) requires that MSDSs be provided to you and that they become an integral part of your ongoing business operations. OSHA mandates that copies of MSDSs be kept readily accessible in a prominent location for all cleaning chemicals to which your employees may be exposed.
OSHA further requires that all your employees read and understand the information on these sheets. It is your obligation as an employer to train all your employees accordingly.
Specific OSHA requirements and regulations vary from state to state and are subject to change. In addition, many states have their own OSHA departments and individual sets of laws. It is best to check with your local OSHA office for any specific requirements that pertain to your business, including proper use of MSDSs. You will find OSHA listed in your phone book under the U.S. Government, or U.S. Labor Department.
For your help, we’re including the following glossary of abbreviations commonly found on a typical MSDS:
ACGIH American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
N/A Not Applicable
CALC Calculated N/D No Data Available
CAS Chemical Abstracts Service N/E Data Not Established
COR Corrosive NTP National Toxicology Program
CS Cancer Suspect Agent OX Oxidizer
EST Estimated PEL Permissible Exposure Limit
HMIS,PPI Hazardous Material Identification, Personal Protection Index
STEL Short Time Exposure Limit
IARC International Agency for Research on Cancer TLV Threshold Limit Value
NFPA National Fire Protection Assoc. TWA Time Weighted Average, 8 Hours