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FAQs for WHMIS

Acts/Regulations | Definitions | Scope | MSDSs | Labels | Education and training | Publications | Implementation

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

  1. What is required on an MSDS?
  2. A total of 54 information items are required on an MSDS. (See 9-Section MSDS checklist)

  3. How do I list complex mixtures?
  4. A complex mixture is defined as being naturally occurring, such as derivatives from crude oil (e.g. gasoline, mineral spirits, kerosene), and is listed by the commonly known generic name (for example, Turpentine).

  5. Can I make a generic MSDS to cover a number of products?
  6. Yes.  A generic MSDS is a single MSDS that applies to a number of similar products (for example, paint with different pigments).

  7. When I write an MSDS, do I have to disclose both the manufacturer and supplier names?
  8. No.  Either manufacturer or supplier name, or both can be disclosed.

  9. If I edit (delete/add) the MSDS from the manufacturer, is the manufacturer responsible for the information?
  10. No.  If an employer (or secondary distributor) revises the MSDS, then that employer (or secondary distributor) becomes responsible for the information and, therefore, becomes the supplier of the product.

  11. On MSDSs, do we have to list a 24-hour emergency number?
  12. The supplier emergency telephone required on the MSDS must reflect the emergency number available for the specific supplier - if they have a 24-hour line, it must be provided on the MSDS. If the supplier has only an 8-hour line, then that must be provided. If there is no supplier emergency number, then the regular phone number must be provided and (possibly) the poison control centre phone number.

  13. Can I leave sections of the MSDS blank if the information is not available or applicable?
  14. No.  You must write "not available" or "not applicable", as appropriate. This makes it clear to the reader that the supplier has tried to address the information requirement -- not ignored it.

  15. As a supplier of controlled products, do I have to provide the MSDSs in both English and French?
  16. Legally, yes. Usually, French version of the MSDS is produced upon request.

  17. What is a LD50 or LC50?
  18. These terms refer to the Lethal Dose and the Lethal Concentration, respectively, at which 50% of test animals die due to exposure.

  19. What is PIN on an MSDS?
  20. The Product Identification Number (PIN) called for on an MSDS is any identification number that the manufacturer/supplier has for identifying this specific product or product line. It is very often confused with the PIN (also commonly known as the UN#) for TDG purposes. It is advisable to identify the UN# in the other hazard information seen in section 8 (Leak and Spill information) and reserve the identification number box for the supplier's own information.

  21. When do MSDSs expire?
  22. MSDSs expire every 3 years. The MSDS must be updated by providing any new information that has now become available. If there is none, the date of the review must be identified on the MSDS and the MSDS is now valid for a further three years.

  23. What does "readily available" mean?
  24. This term means that the MSDS for a controlled product is accessible to all workers, who have the right to read that MSDS before using the controlled product.

  25. As a supplier, can I distribute my MSDS through the internet, without issuing hard copies to my users?
  26. Yes, but only if there is a written agreement between supplier and purchaser that the MSDS can be accessed through the web.

  27. Are MSDSs required for hazardous wastes?
  28. It is not required under Federal legislation. However, under Provincial (in B.C., OHS Regulation Part 5) requirements an MSDS or equivalent, such as a Waste Profile Sheet, is necessary.



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