What is an MSDS Sheet?

Cleaning, Cleaner, Window.An MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) provides the ingredients and toxicity of different products consumers and businesses purchase. This includes household, janitorial and industrial cleaning products. MSDS sheets also include information regarding storage and disposal of the products for safety and environmental reasons. Information regarding emergency and first-aid are also covered by MSDS sheets if someone is overly exposed to the products or has an allergic reaction to cleaning products.

Keep Careful Records

Certain types of businesses are required to keep careful records of MSDS sheets, including cleaning businesses. Many janitorial bonding and insurance companies require records of MSDS sheets to maintain bonding and insurance. Employers and manufacturers also have the responsibility to provide MSDS sheets. OSHA and many states also require having MSDS sheets available to employees, especially workplaces that use hazardous chemicals or those who have hazardous work environments.

Although many cleaning products aren’t considered hazardous, keeping MSDS sheets available for all of the products your business uses is critical. The reason is because most janitorial businesses are considered a contract business. OSHA requires contract businesses or businesses that work at multi-employer sites to maintain MSDS sheets. If you have multiple clients, MSDS sheets are generally required.

Although it sounds complicated, MSDS sheets can be easily obtained. Manufacturers and Worldwide Janitor are happy to provide an MSDS sheet for each of product they sell and distribute. The MSDS sheets can be sent to you via email or in the mail. Always ask for an MSDS sheet when you order any cleaning products.

 Keep MSDS Sheets Readily Available for Clients

Create a 3-ring binder for each client that includes MSDS sheets for all of the products you use. Allow your clients to have access to the MSDS sheets at all times, even when you’re not available to show them the information they request. Having the information readily available saves you time and money.

Along with allowing clients to have a complete understanding of the products you’re using, many companies are going “green” and may require products that are biodegradable. The MSDS sheets allow them to ensure your business is using “green” products. Companies that advertise sustainability for their work environment often need to provide proof of their sustainability, which includes products used for cleaning. News and environmental organizations often check into a company’s sustainability, especially if they advertise their “green” environment.

Keep all Cleaning Products Under Lock and Key

Inform your clients that the products you use need to be in a locked area. If the client cannot provide a locked area, bring your supplies with you or require your employees to bring them every time they clean the client’s site. Although you have MSDS sheets for your products, if the client’s employees have access to them, they will take advantage of it. Employees often clean their work area and use the products readily available to them, which includes your products. Not only will it save you money, it will ensure there are no complications from your clients using the products improperly.

When you have a new client, ensure the contact person at the company explains to employees the importance of not using your products, due to legal and OSHA complications. Compose an email or prepare a sign for all employees to see near your cleaning products and chemicals stating your products are not to be used by the employees.

Train Your Employees

Train your employees about the importance of MSDS sheets, as well as the legal and insurance complications that may come along if a client has issues with products you use. Your employees don’t have to be experts regarding OSHA requirements or MSDS sheets, but ensure they have access to the MSDS sheets if a client asks for information regarding the products.

OSHA and some states don’t require MSDS sheets for some products. Products used within a short timeframe don’t require MSDS sheets, but it’s good to keep them available for your clients. Products used for cleaning tasks unrelated to what the product is formulated for requires an MSDS sheet in many states. To give an example – if your business uses window cleaner to clean surfaces other than windows and mirrors, you need an MSDS sheet for the window cleaner.

For safety reasons, keep products that may be hazardous or used improperly off-site. While products such as window cleaners and standard sanitizers can be used by anyone, some products require your expertise to perform specific tasks, such as floor strippers and waxing products.

Diluted Products Should be Labeled

When diluting products such as window cleaners, bathroom cleaners and floor cleaners, label each bottle of the diluted products. This allows your employees to use the correct products for specific cleaning areas, but also protects from the client’s employees using those products improperly. Ensure your employees aren’t using products undiluted or not diluted properly.

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