Friday, October 23, 2009

Ask the Wizard: MSDS Documentation Requirements

Each Friday, the Wizard joins us to share an answer to one of the questions asked during the week.

Does U.S. Customs require you that you file the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on shipments that require statement of use and TSCA?

This is an excellent question. While the CBP Regulations do not specifically mandate submission of the MSDS form by name, there are other avenues CBP can use to request it. One way is by the use of the CBP 28, Request for Information. The CBP 28 is used as an informal method for CBP to request and review import records.

Under OSHA's Hazard Communication standard
(29 CFR 1910.1200), chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors must provide material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for hazardous chemicals they are supplying to other distributors and employers. According to 29 CFR 1910.1200(c), an importer is defined as the first business with employees within the Customs Territory of the United States which receives hazardous chemicals produced in other countries for the purpose of supplying them to distributors or employers within the United States

According to
29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(6), chemical manufacturers or importers must:

· Ensure distributors and employers are provided with an MSDS with their initial shipment of a hazardous chemical, and with the first shipment after an MSDS is updated.

· Provide MSDSs with the shipped containers or send them to the distributor or employer prior to or at the time of the shipment.

· If the MSDS is not provided with a shipment that has been labeled as a hazardous chemical, the distributor or employer must obtain an MSDS from the chemical manufacturer or importer as soon as possible.

· Provide distributors or employers with an MSDS upon request.

29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(7) requires that:

· Distributors ensure that MSDSs and updated information are provided to other distributors and employers with their initial shipment of a hazardous chemical and with the first shipment after an MSDS is updated.

· Distributors either provide MSDSs with the shipped containers or send the MSDSs to the other distributor or employer prior to the shipment.

· Retail distributors selling hazardous chemicals to employers having a commercial account must provide an MSDS to such employers upon request and must post a sign or otherwise inform them that an MSDS is available. (Note: A commercial account is demonstrated by a retail distributor selling hazardous chemicals to an employer, generally in large quantities over time and/or at costs that are below the regular retail price.)

· Wholesale distributors selling hazardous chemicals to employers over-the-counter provide MSDSs upon the request of the employer at the time of the over-the-counter purchase, and must post a sign or otherwise inform these employers that an MSDS is available upon request.

· If an employer without a commercial account purchases a hazardous chemical from a retail distributor not required to have MSDSs on file (i.e., the retail distributor does not have commercial accounts and does not use the materials), then the retail distributor must provide the employer, upon request, the name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor from which an MSDS can be obtained.

· Wholesale distributors must also provide MSDSs to employers or other distributors upon request.

To bolster compliance in classification and ensure the form is readily available, it would be considered a good practice to request and maintain the MSDS information. While you do not need to physically maintain this information in your department, you should be able to access it easily. A good place to start would be with the purchase order and classification. When an order is placed for a product subject to the MSDS requirement, the import compliance group has an opportunity to obtain the information at that time and classify the goods accordingly. Even if your department does not maintain the MSDS sheets, you can notate the location of the form and other identifiers with the classification information maintained by your department. Additionally, having the document readily available for submission to CBP will help expedite the release of your shipment in the event CBP wants to review the documents.

We look forward to hearing about our reader’s experiences with this topic!

Environmental Resource Center



Do you have a question for the Wizard? Submit your question by clicking on the link in the space for “Ask the Wizard.” See you next Friday!

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