From time to time, our customers look for our regulatory team to clarify their obligations regarding Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) for household consumer products. For the US, the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard exempts products that fall under the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Consumer Product Safety Act and Federal Hazardous Substances Act, as well as cosmetics and drugs, which fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA. Examples of these products are air fresheners, cleaners, adhesives, paints, anti-bacterial products, and nail polishes.
What may come as a surprise to many is that in certain situations, OSHA will still require the manufacturer to provide an SDS, even though there is language at the beginning of the Hazard Communication standard exempting these products. OSHA has released numerous standard interpretations on this topic, and these interpretations indicate that, for the consumer product exemption to apply, the consumer product being used at a workplace must be used in a manner (same frequency and duration of use) as a normal consumer would utilize them.
In situations where a worker is required to use a consumer product with a longer duration and frequency of use than that of a typical consumer, the employer can request for an SDS for a manufacturer. For example, a professional window washing company that is using a window cleaning solution with a longer duration and higher frequency of use than that of a typical consumer could request an SDS from the manufacturer.
In addition, distributors and transporters may request SDS’s in the event of an emergency. As a best practice, we encourage companies to have these SDS’s ready to meet any requests in a timely fashion.
- FDA Exemption 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(5)(iii)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission Exemption 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(5)(iv)
- OSHA Standard in Interpretation on Consumer Products