Clearing up confusion on SDSs and the 3-year expiration rule

November 13, 2018

SDS Expiry Date – Chemscape Safety Technologies

Is there an SDS Expiry Date?

The short answer is yes. Safety data sheets (SDS) continue to have expiry dates to protect workers and keep workplaces safe.

When Does a SDS Expire?

Under WHMIS 2015, SDSs expire when changes to a product are made. This replaces the previous 3-year expiration requirement.  

The End of the 3-Year SDS Expiration Rule 

WHMIS 2015 has been in full effect since Dec. 1, 2018, and with the 3-year expiration rule changing on SDSs, it is causing some confusion if workplaces need to keep reviewing their SDS inventory on a regular basis.

What Are the Supplier Responsibilities Under WHMIS 2015?

WHMIS 2015 requires suppliers to continuously review and update their SDSs. Therefore, SDSs are valid as long as no changes to the product occur. Suppliers have a duty to communicate this to customers with the most current SDS for the hazardous product at the point of sale. In the event that a supplier acquires updated data regarding the hazards associated with a product, they are obligated to promptly revise the safety information within a 90-day period. Should they proceed to sell the product within this timeframe without updating the information, they are required to communicate this information in writing to the purchaser (the employer). It's important to note that the supplier has no obligation to notify previous buyers about the updated information. This change to SDS expiry dates is supposed to improve upon the 3-year rule.

What Can Prompt a Change in an SDS Expiry Date?

The following changes will require SDSs to be updated or replaced: 

  • When a new chemical composition in the manufacturing of a product that introduce new health hazards.
  • When recent health studies could reveal increased hazards of a substance.
  • Transportation and OHS regulations continuously change prompting SDS revisions for some products.
  • Through the adoption of new GHS revision standards (i.e. USA is currently at Rev.4 and adoption Rev.7 in Feb 2019) can introduce new classifications.

What Are the Employer Responsibilities Under WHMIS 2015?

As an employer, WHMIS requirements are governed under provincial, territorial and federal occupational safety and health laws and regulations. Employers need to ensure SDSs are available to workers, hazardous products are properly labelled, and workers receive education and training on the safe handling, storage and disposal of those hazardous products in the workplace. The disappearance of the 3-year rule does not mean you can let the dust accumulate on your SDS. The intention is to review your SDS’ and assess the hazards at your worksite on a recurring basis.

How Long Do Employers Have to Update their SDSs?  

If an employer receives new information about a product they use at work, they need to update the safety information for their employees as soon as possible. This includes details from the product supplier or any other reliable source. This rule helps ensure that workers have the most accurate and up-to-date safety information. 

SDS Expiry Dates by Province

Depending on your provincial or territorial jurisdiction, some employers have obligations under WHMIS 2015 to ensure SDSs for hazardous products in your workplace are not more than three years old. BC, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are jurisdictions with these workplace expectations for their employers. This means you will need to check if anything significant has changed on the SDS and record that you have done the review.

Need Help with SDS Management? 

Chemscape provides this level of service and compliance for employers by checking with manufacturers/suppliers for SDS updates on a 3-year cycle and date marks the SDS in the system. With Chemscape’s help, you can ensure that your workplace stays ahead of changes to SDS expiry dates. Get in touch with the team at Chemscape to learn more about our SDS Management Solutions.


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