Who owns the MSDS?
In May 1997, the Federal Court, ruled in favour of ACOHS as owners of Infosafe being allowed to distribute MSDS prepared by Chemwatch through the Infosafe system. The court ruled that copyright had not been infringed if Infosafe only acts as a vehicle to distribute their MSDS. Ownership (copyright) by Chemwatch appeared not to have been proven. ACOHS also operated under an implied license.
By arrangement with our associates, we can now offer you a MSDS preparation service.
Inquiries to www.chemlink.com.au
Information fields MSDS checklist
Glossary of terms
The MSDS is a structured document which provides information about a specific substance including the identity, health hazards, precautions for use, safe handling, storage and disposal information.
The MSDS may be regarded as bridging the gap between the extensive data resources of data banks or other specialised information sources, and the immediate needs of the workplace. It is a key component of workplace information (ranging from extensive literature through to the workplace label and warning signs).
The information includes the identity, health hazards, precautions for use, safe handling, storage and disposal.
Although aimed at providing a basis for safer application of the substance at work, it is a general application document which is not necessarily prepared to specifically describe the actual situation in which the substance is used. Therefore, professional advice is often required before applying the MSDS in the particular workplace.
An MSDS is required to be available for all hazardous substances that may be used (ie. handled, stored or transported) in the workplace. It could also be available where hazardous substances that are produced and substances which are only hazardous if used incorrectly or in abnormal applications.
|Must be available for each hazardous substance in the workplace (at or before introduction); and|
|Must be current and valid (less than 5 years, accurate, unaltered, Australian contact details etc.).|
An industrial hygienist or other skilled person may be helpful to assess accuracy and relevance to the workplace.
The MSDS has to comply with the National Code of Practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets [NOHSC:2011(1994)].
A format is provided by the Commission but it allows formats defined by the European Community and the International Labour Office. Any overseas MSDS for products supplied in Australia should include the Australian manufacturer or importer contact details.
i. Reissue requirement
The National Model Regulations require the MSDS to be reviewed and re-issued at intervals not exceeding 5 years, or when there are changes including to the;
|Composition (formulation), particularly if it changes the;|
The National Model Regulations requires the MSDS to be;
|Available for all hazardous substances (Appendix 4) for use in the workplace (see Scope 12.2). (This includes substances which could produce hazardous substances). Manufacturers and importers have the responsibility for identifying hazardous substances;|
|Provided by manufacturers or importers. If the employer manufactures a hazardous substance, an MSDS has to be provided if the substance is supplied outside the workplace. The National Code of Practice does not require an MSDS for hazardous substances produced and used within the workplace, or for by-products, wastes or fugitive emissions.|
|Provided before, or with the first supply of the substance.|
|Available on request, without difficulty or delay, at the worksite or designated work area to purchasers, prospective purchasers and users including;|
|employees who could be exposed,|
|medical practitioners treating an employee, and|
|supervisors of users (whether or not themselves with potential for exposure).|
|the equipment is readily accessible and in good working order;|
|users are trained to use equipment; and|
|a paper copy can be obtained;|
The MSDS should be provided in an original and not
altered other than by the manufacturer or the importer. Changes or additions, (eg. specific workplace information) may be incorporated by appending to the MSDS, and providing it is made clear that the section is an appendage and not part of the original issued MSDS.
Material Safety Data Sheets are not required to be provided for;
|Substances not intended for use in the workplace (eg. the home);|
|Suppliers to retailers and for retail warehouse operators, for substances in consumer packages which hold less that 30 kilograms or 30 litres and which are not intended to be opened; and|
|Laboratories, for preparations, samples or reaction intermediates.|
|Substances not for workplace (eg. home);|
|Retailers and retail warehouse operators for packages in consumer packages less than 30 kg/L and not opened; and|
|Laboratories for preparations, samples and intermediates (but required for reagents!)|
As also previously indicated there must be one party who is clearly identified as taking full and legal responsibility for the accuracy and quality of the information. This is defined as the Australian manufacturer or importer.
In adopting the National Model Regulations, the format of the MSDS will be legislated to be that as recommended by the National Commission.
The term Worksafe format does not imply that the MSDS must provide information in the same sequence (structure or order) as indicated in the Worksafe National Code of Practice. The objective is to encourage the provision of complete and understandable information for the workplace. The structure of the MSDS is therefore not critical (although a similar or familiar format is helpful for ease of interpretation).
If the substance is imported, and the MSDS is not available in the Worksafe format (see note above), the National Model Regulations provides that it may reformatted.
The introductory section of the MSDS should indicate whether the substance is a hazardous substance.
The physical data should describe the product as supplied and not the ingredients.
Ingredients should be identified by chemical name, CAS No. and proportion.
There are in effect two principal parts to the MSDS in the Worksafe format - a Source part and the Application part. The Other part is also relevant. The format is summarised by the following table.
Each ingredient, including the impurities, should (subject to 12.6.1) be listed by its common chemical/technical names. The CAS number should be provided for each ingredient, whilst the common synonyms, including recognised abbreviations, may also be detailed.
Ingredients at concentrations below their respective concentration cut-off level or without exposure standards need only be identified (ie. as Type III substances by their generic name or even as Other ingredients determined not to be hazardous see 12.6.1).
If the exact amount of the ingredient(s) in the formulation cannot be specified the proportion of each ingredient should be indicated as a range (see Volume 1 of the Guide to Chemicals).
i. Commercially Confidential Information
The National Code of Practice for Completion of Material Safety Data Sheets provides guidelines for disclosure of the identity of the ingredients. It makes provision for the use of generic names or even total non-disclosure of the identity to provide for commercial confidentiality (ie. identifying the substance will place commercial interests at risk).
|Worksafe Australia to be notified by the manufacturer or importer on an approved form for the use of a generic name (guidance on use of generic names is provided).|
|The chemical identities (and CAS numbers) for ingredient chemicals identified by generic name disclosed (by the manufacturer or importer) to specified parties on defined terms. Basically as outlined on page 49 of this Guide, Type I substances (hazardous substances except harmful substances) and SUSDP scheduled drugs and poisons, must be fully identified, type II may be identified by generic name (for which guidelines are provided).|
MSDS disclosure requirements for ingredients
1. The Retail Sector
Employers, as retailers and retail warehouse operators that usehazardous substances, have the same responsibilities as others using hazardous substances. However establishments handling only consumer packages intended for retail sale, that are not opened on the premises and hold less than 30 kilograms or 30 litres require;
|No register and MSDS; and|
|Information for training, and workplace assessment may be limited to that provided by the label or MSDS.|
Retailers can advise their customers that MSDS are available from the supplier as detailed on the label (of the hazardous substance).
Therefore as employers, retailers and retail warehouse operators have obligations, with the above qualifications/exemptions, that therefore require;
|All containers of hazardous substances to be properly labelled (3);|
|Workplace assessments (and subsequent action including monitoring, instigating controls) (5);|
|Induction and training of staff (2);|
|Maintaining records (9);|
|MSDS for all hazardous substances used in work activities (ie. including opening of retail packages but excluding unopened packages as allowed for above); and|
|Maintaining a register where MSDS are required because hazardous substances are used in work activities (4).|
|This report is NOT indicative of our
private client reports.
It has been prepared simply to get you started. It is cheaper than you will find on the web for other detailed information and thus we rarely recover the cost of its preparation.
Given the value of your time,
if only a small percentage of the information proves useful, then it should
have paid for itself. Feel free to discuss the preparation of a confidential
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1997. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change
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