SDS Expiry Date and Risk of Compliance
By: Alison Senyi, SENIOR PRODUCT SAFETY SPECIALIST, email
Upcoming regulatory changes
In January 2023, Canada published the revisions to the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). The document reflects the HPR requirements that came into force on December 15, 2022. The HPR amended and revised the previous standards for hazard classification, labelling, and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements for hazardous products in the workplace.
The current HPR is based on the fifth revised edition of the United Nations (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The HPR has been updated to align with revision seven of GHS, and includes elements from revision eight of GHS.
Suppliers have been granted a 3-year transition period to align with these changes. The transition period will end on December 14, 2025. Suppliers will need to ensure they are in compliance with the amendments, with regards to their product classifications, labels, and safety data sheets. This transition period also gives employers and workers time to adjust to the changes. The purpose is to ensure consistency across Canada and between all jurisdictions.
Canada vs. United States
Canada has proceeded with issuing the changes in the revisions, without any updates from the United States. Once the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published their final rule, it is very unlikely that the timing will be aligned between Canada and the US. The GHS Rev 7/8 changes will result in misalignment between the two countries.
The regulations require that an SDS must be compliant and accurate with the hazardous classifications. An SDS is required to be updated when the supplier is made aware of any “significant new data” relating to their product and its components. Any change that impacts the overall classification of the product would be considered significant. “Significant new data” refers to:
“New data regarding the hazard presented by a hazardous product that change its classification in a category or subcategory of a hazard class, or result in its classification in another hazard class, or change the ways to protect against the hazard presented by the hazardous product.” (Source: Hazardous Products Regulations, Section 5.12 (1))
An SDS should be updated within 90 days after the supplier is made aware of any new information. If a product is purchased within this 90-day period, the supplier needs to provide an SDS with a document outlining the changes that still need to be made to the SDS due to this new data. A date should also be present that states when the new data was available.
Although federally the three-year expiry has been removed, there are still requirements for updating your SDSs if you sell within Canada. The requirement for the employer to update or obtain a revised SDS for their workplace is regulated based on jurisdiction:
In Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island, SDSs must be updated within 90 days of receiving significant new information for product(s).
In addition to “significant new data,” some provinces are requesting that a new SDS be prepared every three years, even though federally it is no longer a requirement. When an SDS is three years old, an employer must obtain an up-to-date SDS from their supplier. An employer should contact the supplier for written confirmation that the SDS has not changed, or to request if an updated SDS is available. Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia do require their SDSs to be updated every three years. If you intend to sell to these provinces, ensure that your SDSs are up-to-date.
All SDSs should have a revision date listed in Section 16. When reviewing an SDS, check for this date on the document.
Frequently Asked Questions about Safety Date Sheets
What is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
A Safety Data Sheet (formerly Material Safety Data Sheet) is a comprehensive document that provides information about the properties, hazards, and safe use of a chemical product. It includes details such as composition, physical and chemical properties, first-aid measures, and guidelines for handling, storage, and disposal. Safety Data Sheets are essential for workplace safety and regulatory compliance.
Who is responsible for SDS compliance?
The responsibility for SDS compliance lies with chemical manufacturers/chemical suppliers, as well as importers/distributors of the hazardous chemical. They are responsible for providing accurate and up-to-date SDSs for their products. Though some of these businesses may produce SDSs internally, many work with professionals who author safety data sheets with expertise in the regulatory requirements for accurate hazard classification. Users of the chemical products, such as employers in the workplace, are responsible for ensuring that workers receive education on how to read and understand safety data sheets in order to keep themselves safe. This is the easiest way to prevent injuries in the workplace.
When should Safety Data Sheets be revised?
SDS revisions are required when there is significant new information about the hazards or safe use of a chemical product. Changes in composition, manufacturing processes, or regulatory requirements may also trigger revisions. Manufacturers, importers, or distributors must update SDSs promptly, and notify downstream users of any significant information changes. These documents form an important part of a workplace occupational health and safety plan and risk management measures.
How can Dell Tech assist with my expired SDSs?
Contact Dell Tech if you have any questions about your SDS expiry date, or other updates that may be required. We are your experts in GHS classification and requirements, and can help keep your SDS compliant within the three-year window. For more information on SDS requirements in Canada, contact us!
Our Product Safety team also specializes in:
- Assisting with Health Canada recalls for deficiencies in consumer product labelling
- Working with chemical manufacturers to ensure accurate hazard information is available to product users
- Reviewing products to ensure they are properly labelled for compliant e-Commerce retail
Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the specialty chemical
industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.