Important Changes to MSDS After Brexit – What You Need To know
What are MSDS Sheets?
A material safety data sheet is a technical document that provides detailed and comprehensive information on a controlled product related to:
- Health effects of exposure to the product.
- Hazard evaluation related to the product’s handling, storage or use.
- Measure to protect workers at risk of exposure.
- Emergency procedures.
The data sheet may be written, printed or otherwise expressed, and must meet the availability, design and content requirements of WHMIS legislation.
What are SDS Sheets?
The Health and Safety Executive defines SDS sheets as:
‘SDS are important documents in the safe supply, handling and use of chemicals. They help ensure that those who use chemicals in the workplace use them safely without risk of harm to users or the environment.
The SDS will contain the information necessary to allow employers to do a risk assessment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). The SDS itself is not an assessment. However, it will describe the hazards helping employers assess the probability of those hazards arising in the workplace.’
So, what’s changing?
The European Commission has amended Annex II of REACH, concerning the compilation of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). The UK has carried legislation from the EU REACH over post Brexit, so this new legislation now applies to the UK.
The regulation aligns REACH Annex II with the 6th and 7th revisions of GHS, and brings in a number of modifications to SDSs. The latest amendment to Annex II was published in the Official Journal on 26th June 2020 (Regulation (EU) 2020/878).
The main provisions of the new revised Annex II are:
- The alignment of Safety Data Sheets with UN GHS Revisions 6 & 7.
- The alignment with requirements for nanomaterials.
- To clarify requirements related to Poison Centres (Unique Formula Identifiers (UFIs)).
- Additional information for substances and mixtures with endocrine-disrupting properties.
- The addition of Specific Concentration Limits (SCLs), M-factors and Acute Toxicity Estimates.
The main sections of the SDS which have undergone revision are 1, 2, 3, 9, 11 and 12, with sections 3 and 9 seeing the biggest changes.
Deadlines for making the change
The regulation will apply in the UK from 1st January 2021, which means that all new SDSs, authored after this date, must take into account the new requirements.
All existing SDSs, authored before January 2021, will still be valid until the grace period that ends on 31st December 2022 (except for bulk mixtures requiring an UFI).
After this date, all SDSs will need to be updated to the new requirements.
Organisations should start the process of updating their SDSs now.
What you need to do
- You should start preparing for the changes now – make sure you’re ready for the deadline date of December 31st, 2022.
- Begin to gather the relevant information to update your SDSs.
- Ensure that any NEW SDSs, created from 1st January meet the new requirements.