OSHA Update: Retailers and MSDSs

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued amendments to its hazard communication regulation.  One amendment modified the duties of distributors to provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs).  The rule became effective  March 11, 1994.  Previously, distributors had to provide MSDSs to all types of purchasers.  The amendment modifies this requirement.  Distributors must now, as before, provide MSDSs to all employees.  Similarly, they must also provide the MSDSs to wholesale retailers who purchase from them.  But, for their retail customers, there is a variation on MSDS responsibility.  For retailers who purchase through mail order, or have a business account with the distributer, the MSDSs are required.  But for "walk-in" customers without a business account, the actual MSDSs are not required.  Signage must be posted for these types of customers.  For example, a large distributer of art supplies need not give the MSDS for art materials they sell to retail walk-in clients, putting the MSDS responsibility back on the manufacturer.
For further information telephone: (202) 219-6151, or (202) 219-4667, to get the explanatory pamphlet OSHA 3084, Chemical Hazard Communications.

Art Hazard News, Volume 17, No. 3, 1994

This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts 1994. It appears on nontoxicprint courtesy of the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, who have curated a collection of these articles from their archive which are still relevant to artists today.