Should we Retain MSDS Sheets for chemicals not in use?



Good morning,
I am presently going through all of our MSDS sheets. I know that some of the material we have sheets for is no longer used in the facility. My question is can I discard these sheets if the material is no longer used in the facility?


Dean Frederickson

A big thanks to Stijlor.

# Can I throw away old or outdated MSDS's?

The question is not whether you can, but whether you would dare do so. A "harmless" chemical may later be found to cause cancer or other disease sometime in the future (asbestos is one good example). It is certainly to your corporation's legal benefit to be able to produce documentation showing that you had supplied all the protective equipment and procedures necessary according the MSDS you had at the time.

In some cases, MSDS's may be a part of your OSHA-mandated "employee exposure records" and you would have to retain these for at least 30 years. While this is a remote possibility, it is something to think about from a legal liability standpoint. See OSHA's policy interpretation titled "Retention requirements for superseded MSDSs" for more information. Also see our FAQ entry What are my rights to an MSDS?


Archive old MSDS perhaps?

4.4.5 of Document control of 144001 requires one to:

g) prevent the unintended use of obselete documents & apply suitable idenification to then if they are retained for any purpose

4.4.5 of 4801 specifically states:

(d) obselete documents & data are promply removed from all points of issue & points of use or otherwise assured against unintended use; and

(e) archival documents & data retained for legal or knowledge preservation purposes or both, are suitably identified.


Super Moderator
As a safety professional and one who has been on the defense witness stand you'd better keep them as records. You're in the most litigious society in the history of this planet and even though it may seem a little much you can never have too much CYA:ca:


Trusted Information Resource
even though it may seem a little much you can never have too much CYA

:agree1: :agree1:. This kind of advice normally originated from the 'School of Hard Knocks' and they don't teach you in Harvard either.
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