Material Safety Data Sheets – are yours up to date?

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Simple guidance for Managing your Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).  According to Australian law SDSs have to be updated by the supplier at least every 5 years and therefore if yours are 5 years old then you can guarantee they are out of date.

If you received the SDS from a supplier then there is the possibility that it could be nearly out of date before you start to use it.  As such, where possible it is always advisable to obtain your SDS direct from the manufacturer or organisation with responsibliity for the product in your area.

Many manufacturers update their SDS more frequently than every 5 years and in our experience setting a review frequency of at least every 3 years is recommended.  Interestingly some SDSs state that if this SDS is 3 years old or more you should check for a more current version.

Alternatively you can subscribe to online SDS management services which make sure that what you have is always up to date, but this tends to only be a viable solution for larger companies.

When obtaining your SDS make sure that it complies with your country’s requirements otherwise it may incorrectly advise of the substance’s classification.

You only need to obtain SDS for hazardous and dangerous substances, but determining whether a substance is hazardous or dangerous can be difficult without the SDS, so our advice is to obtain them for all substances.

Once you have obtained your SDS you need to review it.  If it is hazardous or dangerous and not already accommodated by a current risk assessment and safe method of work then you will need to develop one.  Where it is accommodated by an existing risk assessment and safe method of work then you need to record this conclusion.


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