• MattD2
    So I have been reviewing a few SDS for some work and came across the Section 8 information in the attached... basically saying typical chemical handling PPE may be required if indicated by a risk assessment - under the requirements of schedule 1 of the EPA Notice for SDSs is this even compliant/legal?
    This is from a reasonably large supplier/manufacturer that I would bet most of you have hear of so we are not talking about some small volumes of boutique substance.

    Just seems pretty crap to put this sort of rubbish in an SDS to me!
    SDS Section 8 (99K)
  • Chris Anderson
    Without knowing what the substance is, and what the specific risks of it are it's hard to say. It may be that the PPE isn't required and they're just putting that in their for completion instead of writing something like "No specific eye protection required." The risk assessment may encompass more that just the hazardous substance being used and may include the other activities on site going on as well.
  • MattD2
    But this is an SDS. The information is supposed to be specific to the product in question so it should specify either "No specific eye protection required" or state what eye protection is required. I could accept conditional requirements in line with specified conditions such as "no respiratory protection required if used outdoors in a well ventilated area, otherwise a P2 half face respirator is recommended where the atmospheric concentration is above 3mg/m3 but under 30mg/m3. For atmospheric concentrations is above 30mg/m3 seek specialist advice."
    But basically saying do you own damn risk assessment is not acceptable.

    Schedule 1 specifies in the requirements for NZ complaint SDS in the EPA Notice for SDSs
    identification of the specific types of personal protective equipment needed to minimise the potential for illness or injury due to exposure to the substance, based on the hazards of the substance and the potential for contact. — Schedule 1, Section 8c
  • Tony Donahoe
    SDS are still a bit of a shambles. I thought by now suppliers were legally required to supply New Zealand supplier contact details and HSNO hazard classifications. Is this not correct? Because they certainly don't do either of these yet either.
  • JackieP
    Hi I have in the past sent copies of SDS to the EPA and asked them to check if they are compliant if I think there is something wrong.
    I'm not sure if they follow up on anything.
  • MattD2
    Yes contact details and HSNO classifications are required... but can have some specific changes in certain circumstances.
    Contact details can be an overseas supplier as long as the product is imported directly by the user for use (i.e. not for sale to another person).
    GHS Classifications can be used instead of HSNO classifications, with some specific requirements.

    Schedule 2 of the notice provides a comparison table between HSNO and GHS classifications.
  • E Baxter
    What frustrates me is the amount of SDS that don't comply. Surely it would be sensible as part of the import approval process to ensure that the SDS is NZ compliant.... Instead the onus often ends up on the end user to hold the supplier to account and update before purchasing
  • MattD2
    hat frustrates me is the amount of SDS that don't comply. Surely it would be sensible as part of the import approval process to ensure that the SDS is NZ compliant.... Instead the onus often ends up on the end user to hold the supplier to account and update before purchasingE Baxter

    And I have seen situation where the end user can't even do that so resorts to ChemGoogle to find a SDS for the product... which in a couple of cases I have seen an overseas SDS provided which has the same name as the one on the can but actually a completely different product inside due to what is/sin't allowed to be used by either of the countries!
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Unfortunately yet another example of NZ regulators setting up a razzle-dazzle compliance framework that is not supported with appropriate means of following up to ensure compliance.....any compliance framework is only as robust as its enforcement.

    I recall some years ago listening to a speaker from NZTA at an NZISM meeting, who observed that much of NZ's legislation seems to assume that simply putting a law or regulation in place was automatically going to result in the desired behaviours - rarely have meaningful considerations been given to enforcement actions and resources. It's exactly the same as posting a hazard sign or notice in a workplace and thinking you have the hazard under control!
  • Andrew
    I'm finding SDS's less and less helpful

    Got one today for Hydrocloric acid 1.0n. In Section 2 it says its not a hazardous substance or mixture. Wear gloves and glasses as appropriate.

    Section 4 says if, for example, skin contact then flush with fresh water for 15 minutes. Its not sounding so non-hazardous to me now.

    Then I get to Section 8 if theres insufficient ventilation then wear a respirator with a vapor filter (EN 141), nitrile rubber gloves, safety glasses and chemical resistant protective clothing.

    So this stuff must be pretty hazardous after all.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    - yes! And nearly as bad are those SDSs that warn of all sorts of possible risks that don't relate to the product at all - especially when they are based on the hazardous properties of the pure ingredient that might be present in only very diluted form or as a possible trace contaminant!

    That probably happens either when people don't really understand the hazards information, or forget the intent of that section of information, and / or just can't be bothered to think it through and figure out what is needed.
  • MattD2
    and / or just can't be bothered to think it through and figure out what is neededSheri Greenwell
    Are you meaning the ones writing / publishing the SDS? Because I expect that most of these are now automated processes based on the ingredients... annoying, useless and in my opinion downright dangerous as (as you and @Andrew have already started to mention) destroys any potential usefulness of all SDS as they no longer can be trusted to provide valid and accurate information (except to cover the manufacturers backside).
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Exactly. And I would suggest that SDSs produced in such a way would actually not meet the legal requirements and could potentially be a breach of the regulations because they don't accurately represent the hazards of the actual substance.

    I recall when I used to deliver training about the HSNO that there was among the penalties a provision for fines that could apply if a substance was labelled or otherwise identified as hazardous when it was not, and the example we used to discuss is when a substance was transported with labeling and signage that indicated it was more hazardous that it actually was. Is that your understanding as well?

    The difficulty with SDSs is that there is currently very little meaningful policing of the quality of information. When I worked with chemicals in the past, many were sourced from China, and those often were accompanied by the barest skeleton of information, rarely anything close to the ISO standard format, and often little more than the technical data sheet, which is more like a product specification, without safety information for handling, storage, use and disposal.

    It would be interesting to find out how much review and vetting is done by organisations that provide hazardous substances information for emergencies - e.g., Chemwatch. Even so, these service providers are often not used by smaller companies who may be in a position of 'you don't know what you don't know'.
  • MattD2
    My main area of focus around hazardous substances was originally in stationary container systems and bulk storage where labeling was a bit more simpler :wink:
    But in my mind there could be a couple of areas where the law is broken in your example; depending on the actual issue at hand. For example if the substance was originally mis-classified (but labelled according to that classification) then it would be breaching the Hazardous Substances Classification regs and a matter for the EPA to investigate, however if they mislabeled the containers with something other than it's actual classifications then that would be covered under the HSW Haz. Subs. regs and dealt with by WorkSafe... now if it is being transported then that would get into the land transport rules, which is another beast in and of itself, and now crossing into the realm of the NZTA!

    No wonder there is such confusion in the situation...
  • Rob Carroll
    The manufacturer of the substance has no idea how you will use / store / work with the chemical and therefore they cannot tell you what PPE is required. If the chemical is automatically decanted and used without a person being exposed in anyway shape or form then what is the PPE requirement? On the other hand, if the product is being sprayed onto a surface and the user can be exposed then a completely different level of protection is required. A SDS is base information and the risk assessment (have a look at COSHH regulations from HSE in UK) is where the controls should be determined, relative to the way the chemical is used etc.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Yes - your comment really highlights the most important point: users need to conduct their own risk assessment and determine what is appropriate.

    I can well imagine with all the heavy-handed threats of prosecution if an injury incident occurs, it's common for people preparing SDSs and those managing the SDSs at the user end to default to 'err on the side of caution' and just assume the highest level of controls for constituent materials.

    One of the things that is most ironic about HSWA's approach to holding people and businesses more personally accountable for safety is that their use of fear tactics often takes them further off track and discourages them from doing their own thinking, which is ultimately counter-productive to genuine and effective workplace safety management.
  • MattD2
    but there is a difference between vague information then stating to "do your own risk assessment" and providing information specific to the type of PPE that would be required if it is needed such as "if respiratory protective equipment is used, filters must be suitable for organic solvents".

    In the example from the first post there is no way the product could be in a gas or vapour form (it was a cement based product) but they still included to consider gas/vapur in the RPE section.
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