SDS Requirements in Canada. Are You Required to Update Your SDS?
By: Alison Senyi, B.SOC.SC. SENIOR PRODUCT SAFETY SPECIALIST
We are often asked, “Do I need to update my SDS in Canada”? It’s a fair question given the complex and ever-changing regulations around hazardous chemical health and safety.
In this article we’ll address this question and so much more.
Then: Controlled Products Regulations
Under the previous Controlled Products Regulations (CPR), it was required that a material safety data sheet (MSDS) be updated every 3 years. This rule applied regardless of whether there were actual changes needed to the material safety data sheet itself. For example, an update was required even if there had been no changes to the product’s formula. In other words, the MSDS’s date needed to be no more than 3 years old.
Sounds a bit redundant, right?
Thankfully, this is no longer the requirement based on the new regulations.
When do you have to update an SDS? And under what regulations do you follow?
You may find misleading information out there about safety data sheets. We urge you to trust the experts; we’re here to help. Keep reading to see what the rules are today.
Now: Globally Harmonized System
When the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) regulations came into effect in Canada, the three-year renewal period was abolished FEDERALLY. Generally, in Canada, you are not required to update your safety data sheet every 3 years.
The three-year requirement remains in effect in some provinces. These include Saskatchewan, BC, and the Territories. So, if your product is in those provincial markets, you have the ongoing responsibility of ensuring your safety data sheet(s) are reviewed and updated every three years if any significant data has changed, or new information on the product is available
Why are SDS requirements important in Canada?
Chemical manufacturers and suppliers must ensure the updated version of a product’s safety data sheet is made available to the employers of every workplace where the product is used. Those employers have a duty to provide occupational health and safety training to their workers. SDSs and labels contain hazard information; including safe storage, occupational exposure limits, and protective measures that workers must be aware of. Training on this information is one of the most important ways to protect workers on the job.
And, you guessed it: even if nothing has changed with your product, you must update your SDS so that the date is within 3 years of the last update.
For more information on the provincial requirements, and to ensure your product is compliant for sale in Canada, check out Dell Tech’s safety data sheet services.
The Hazardous Products Regulations and its significant new data
In addition to provincial SDS requirements stated above, there is another scenario where safety data sheets are required to be updated in Canada.
The Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) states in section 5.12 (1) the definition of significant new data. Significant new data is that which changes the hazard classification of the product as a whole. If significant new data comes about for an ingredient within your product or for the product as a whole, there is a requirement to update your SDS.
The sale of a hazardous product for which new significant data becomes available MUST be updated within 90 days. A company will be in violation of the law if it does not update the product’s SDS.
But how do you know if new data exists? How do you know your SDS is still compliant?
If your company did not author the safety data sheets, then determining the requirements for data review and revisions may be very difficult. It is certainly not something that you can do quickly, and you’ll likely need an expert to review.
New data is constantly becoming available that has the potential to impact your product’s overall hazard classification. At Dell Tech, we pride ourselves on keeping the information on our raw materials up-to-date, and we work to stay informed of the changing regulations.
One example of new information that can impact a classification is new toxicity LD50/LC50 data. Without completing a proper recalculation of the toxicity values, your product may not have the correct toxicity classification for GHS.
Another example of new information is the availability of studies relating to Irritant testing. For example, perhaps there is new information indicating that a particular chemical is no longer considered irritating to the eyes, skin or respiratory tract. In fact, when Canada transitioned from the previous Controlled Products Regulations to the current Hazardous Products Regulations, many products changed classification from hazardous to non-hazardous. Unfortunately, many chemical manufacturers may have left products on the market under the hazard class ‘Irritant,’ leaving them at a disadvantage compared to their competitors with the updated data.
So how do you know if new hazards have been identified, or perhaps even removed? Where is this data coming from? Keep reading to find out.
Where is your SDS data coming from?
The truth is, most safety data sheet authoring software systems are not updated consistently, based on the changing regulations. If this is your only source of information, it may put you at risk of non-compliance.
New information is constantly becoming available from data sources such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). And Health Canada provided some classification information through their Hazardous Substance Assessments (HSAs). Other resources include specific lists that can impact your classification such as those of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
Without reviewing your product formulation, there is no way for you to know if a classification change is required. You could be putting your company at risk with Health Canada if you are not reviewing your formulations consistently. In the worst-case scenario, your company may be in violation of the law if your safety data sheets have not been updated, or contain false or misleading information.
At Dell Tech, we continue to provide our clients with expert advise and guidance when their SDS is outdated, and to help with any SDS requirements. Additionally, we provide our clients with updates throughout the 3-year period if significant new data emerges that will impact their product(s).
How Dell Tech Can Help with your SDS Requirements in Canada
If you would like further information on SDS requirements in Canada, or are interested in updating your existing documents to be in compliance with the Hazardous Products Act and WHMIS 2015, then please contact us. We’d be happy to offer our expert guidance, and to help you ensure your product(s) are compliant with the Canadian regulations.