OSHA SDS Standards - Enforcement for Transporters of Hazardous Materials



OSHA HCS 2012 SDS standards synch material safety information with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) created by the United Nations to ensure uniformity in communicating information about hazardous materials across the globe.

These standards are relevant for transporters of hazardous materials as well as many transportation companies that use chemicals in the maintenance and cleaning of equipment. As some of these chemicals are hazardous it is the responsibility of the transporter to follow these OSHA regulations.

Beginning June 1, 2015 manufacturers must stop using old material safety data sheets (MSDS) and replace them with new safety data sheet (SDS) instead. Transporters that use or transport these chemicals have until June 1, 2016 to respond to new SDSs creating a one-year period to respond to new and updated information and be compliant by June 1, 2016.

SDS/MSDS Document Retention

Transporters should not discard old MSDS but rather keep them to serve as:

  • Proof that an employer was compliant with old HazCom standards
  • Evidence in defending against worker's compensation claims by employees for occupational diseases alleged to have arisen from exposure to using or transporting hazardous materials during the course of employment.
  • Evidence in defending third-party toxic tort claims alleged to have been caused by exposure to hazardous materials that the employer used or transported.

 Training Opportunity

This new compliance standard presents an opportunity for transportation companies to update training, hazard communication, and chemical safety procedures. Safety training should include:

  • New hazard scale and document format 
  • Hazards and mechanisms to control them
  • New SDS forms filing and retention of old MSDS files 

New SDS forms includes sixteen separate sections, some of which are similar or identical to the existing MSDS sections. As of June 1, 2016, OSHA will check to see that employees of transportation companies reviewed the SDSs to identify any new risks as well as whether it has evaluated its existing compliance programs in light of the sixteen requirements in the new SDSs.

Regulatory compliance is an ongoing challenge for transportation companies. HUB Transportation experts and risk managers are able to provide information, guidance and training on how to stay ahead of current regulatory issues.

Contact a HUB Transportation expert to discuss regulatory updates that affect your business.