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Referral Procedures and Sample Letter, Safety Data Sheet/Label Query
The following procedures apply in situations where the manufacturer's, importer's, or distributor's safety data sheet (SDS) or label is inadequate or deficient, inappropriate language (e.g., "OSHA approved") is used on the label or SDS, or trade secret information is not disclosed. These procedures also apply when the manufacturer, importer or distributor refuses to supply a SDS to a downstream user.
State Plan program offices shall follow the referral procedures as required by the respective State Plan.
- If an employer does not have a SDS but has made a good faith effort to contact the manufacturer, importer or distributor because they have not received the SDS and still has not been able to receive an SDS, the Area Office may be contacted to provide assistance. See X.G.4.a of this Instruction.
- Employers assume no responsibility for the content and accuracy of the SDS provided to them by the manufacturer, importer or distributor, unless the employer changes the SDS. See X.G.4.b of this Instruction.
- Compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) will collect copies of any SDS with inaccurate or deficient information for referral to the appropriate Area Office or State Plan that has jurisdiction over the manufacturer, importer or distributor.
- Referral procedures
- The originating Area Office (the one with the inadequate SDS or label) shall provide documentation of the issues (e.g., a list of errors) and a copy of the SDS and/or label by fax or email to the Area Office with jurisdiction over the manufacturer, importer or distributor. The originating Area Office must phone the Area Office with jurisdiction to ensure that the documents are received, understood, and that the Area Office with jurisdiction knows who to contact in the originating Area Office.
- In the event that the CSHO needs SDS information quickly as part of a current inspection, he/she may contact the manufacturer, importer or distributor directly prior to making the referral to the Area Office in whose jurisdiction the manufacturer is located.
- The Area Office with jurisdiction receiving the referral shall contact the manufacturer, importer or distributor using the contact letter provided in this appendix.
- If the manufacturer, importer or distributor does not respond or provides an inadequate response, the appropriate Area Office shall open an inspection.
- The Area Office within whose jurisdiction the manufacturer, importer or distributor is located will ensure that results from the referral are provided to the Area Office or State Plan where the referral originated.
Company Name Street Address
City, State, ZIP Code
Dear (Name or Position of Responsible Employer Representative):
Representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)/or State Plan designated agency recently visited/or corresponded with (company name), which purchases the following chemical(s) from your company:
(List chemicals, products)
At the time of the visit, (company name) did not have safety data sheets (SDSs)/labels for the above-listed products, despite a prior request to your company.
At the time of the visit, safety data sheets (SDSs)/labels supplied by your company were found to be deficient in the following areas:
(Describe the specific deficiencies.)
You are required under OSHA's Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) to classify the hazards of the materials, label containers, and provide the SDSs for all hazardous chemicals which you produce or import. A copy of the standard is available at www.osha.gov.
Please immediately send properly completed safety data sheets/labels for the chemicals listed above to your customer and a copy to OSHA. If the SDSs were deficient, you are required to send revised copies to all of your customers with the first shipment after an SDS/label is revised. If this information is not received within 20 working days, an inspection of your establishment may be conducted.
Thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact me at _______.
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Entry last updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015.
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