Can We Still Use MSDS after GHS Takes Effect Next Month?

  editor |   Laws & Regulations

About The Expert

Glenn Demby is an OSHA attorney and editor-in-chief of SafetySmart Compliance


GHS goes into effect exactly one month from today and I’m completely unprepared. We use several dozen hazardous chemicals at our plant and I have no way of getting a new Safety Data Sheet for all of them. Should I be hitting the panic button?


Not at all. As long as you have an appropriate MSDS for each of these chemicals, you’re golden for the next 4 years.


Yes, GHS officially takes effect on May 25, 2012.

And, yes, the MSDS is getting a makeover. MSDSs will be called SDSs, Safety Data Sheet, and have to list different information in a new format.

But here’s the good news: The MSDS/SDS changes don’t officially take effect until June 1, 2015.

And if you’re a downstream employer that gets its hazardous chemicals from an outside supplier, you not only don’t have to prepare the SDS but have an extra 12 months to get your MSDS/SDS ducks in order. Let me sum it up like this:

  • From now thru June 1, 2016, you’ll be in compliance with Hazcom if you have either an old school MSDS or a newfangled GHS;
  • Starting June 1, 2015, you’ll need to ensure that all new shipments of hazardous chemicals you receive from suppliers have an SDS; and
  • On June 1, 2016, the MSDS becomes extinct and you’ll need to ensure that all MSDSs are replaced with SDSs.

I hope that helps. But click here if you want more information about the new MSDS/SDS rules and what you have to do to comply with them.

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