Can Safety Data Sheets be Housed Electronically?


Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

Hello-I’m Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. Employers often ask whether or not Safety Data Sheets or SDS’s can be housed on an electronic or online system for employee use. 

The answer is yes if they are accessible to employees. What does accessible mean? It means no passwords--no logins can exist that would be a barrier to information.

For those of us who remember a time when employers stored SDS’s or MSDS’s as they were called years ago in a binder and that binder often hung on a wall in a work area, it was accessible. Now, imagine if that binder was stored in a box on the wall with a lock on the box and employees didn’t have the key, those MSDS’s would not have been accessible. Same is true of electronic or online access, there cannot be barrier to this critical information which is most often needed in times of crisis where someone needs to access the information immediately. 

I hoped this helped clarify one aspect of Hazard Communication Compliance.