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All You Need to Know About Safety Data Sheets

Juliette Garesche

OSHA requires all companies to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for all hazardous chemicals used in their workplace. The responsibility for creating SDSs falls to the manufacturer or importer of the chemical. However, it is the responsibility of all employers to obtain the SDSs from the manufacturer and/or importer, and to make them available to their workers and customers who handle, store, transport, and work with the chemicals. Employees must receive training so they can read an SDS and understand the hazards and how to protect themselves. Casting manufacturers must make metal alloy SDSs available to their casting buyers so they can provide them to their employees.

How does this affect your foundry? Per OSHA, foundries are manufacturers of “chemicals” when they mix metal alloys to pour castings. Though most castings are sold as “articles” (sewer covers, frying pans, fire hydrants, etc.) some cast parts do receive downstream processing such as grinding, drilling, cutting, welding, re-melting, etc. Those processes can cause particles or fumes to be released and expose employees to hazards. For example, if an alloy has lead in it, the particles or fumes could be carcinogenic. In that case, employees would need to cover their skin, hair, and clothes, wear a respirator, and leave their work clothes and boots at work (so they don’t track lead dust into their vehicle and home).

In the past, as a service to our members, the AFS Safety and Health Committee wrote SDSs. Like many other things in life, the development of SDSs has become more complicated over time. In early 2019, AFS hired a third-party firm to update the SDSs. AFS Corporate Member Keramida, prepared the new SDSs which will be available in April, in time for CastExpo. The documents will be in the fillable PDF format. That is important because there are about 12 pages of detailed information that cannot be modified in any way, but we are leaving fillable fields on page one for foundries to fill in details such as:

  • Foundry logo.
  • Foundry name.
  • Foundry mailing address.
  • Foundry physical address.
  • Foundry phone number.
  • Emergency number.
  • Other names use for the specific alloy.
  • Email or website.

Q: Why does AFS create SDSs?
A: We create them as a service to our members. OSHA requires foundries to have and distribute SDSs and AFS can provide them far more inexpensively than if each foundry bought them individually from an SDS preparer.

Q: How many SDSs must a foundry purchase, and how do they know which SDSs to buy?
It depends upon how many different alloys the foundry pours. For example, if a foundry only pours ductile iron and gray iron, they would need to buy just those two SDSs. SDSs state the alloy ingredients in the castings, and the ingredient amounts are listed as percent by weight. For example, a nickel-alloy steel casting may have:

  • 0.12 – 1.3% carbon.
  • 0 – 2.0% chromium.
  • 0.4 – 14% manganese.
  • 0 – 1.2% molybdenum.
  • 10.0 % nickel.
  • 0.30 – 1.00% silicon.
  • The remainder will be iron.

If the alloy falls within all those ranges, the Nickel-Alloy Steel SDS is the correct SDS. However, if even one ingredient is outside the ranges stated, OSHA will not approve of the SDS.  A custom SDS may need to be created for specialty alloys. AFS can help with that too, on a case-by-case basis.

If a foundry has purchased AFS SDSs in the past, they can easily find the updated SDS replacement. The Product Number is located in the upper right-hand corner of the old AFS SDS, and the last three digits will coincide with the replacement product number. For example, if the Product code used to be “SDS SC-000-026 Rev11,” it can be replaced with the new SDS Product Code “026” which is for copper-tin-lead alloy castings also known as high-leaded tin bronze castings.

Q:  How many SDSs does AFS have available for purchase?
A list of the SDSs available with the metal percent ranges for each ingredient is on the AFS web site at www.afsinc.org/ehs. Click the first bullet under Health & Safety, General for “List of Safety Data Sheets for Sale in 2019.”

Q: What is the foundry to do with the SDSs after they buy them?
When a foundry receives new SDSs they must distribute them to their customers with their first order of each casting alloy.

Q: If a foundry bought new SDSs in 2013 or 2014 when the Globally Harmonized System was adopted, why must they buy new SDSs now?
OSHA requires that SDSs be reviewed annually and updated as needed. AFS has become aware of new information from states and countries that must be included in the SDSs per OSHA’s Hazard Communication requirements. The new AFS SDSs must replace the old SDS as there is more current information on the revised versions being released in 2019.

If you need additional assistance regarding the new AFS SDSs contact me at jgaresche@afsinc.org or call (847) 824-0181, ext. 224.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the April 2019 issue of Modern Casting