M.S.D.S. for United States
Originally Published in 1994
Material Safety Data Sheets, otherwise known as M.S.D.S., are now being required on stone. This is an environmental matter for which the United States is leading the way in workers safety. If a material has a potential health hazard then consumers and workers must know about this in advance and information about the hazard must be published by the manufacturer.
In order to comply with this the U.S. Department of Labor through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has prepared a form for manufacturers to fill out and submit to buyers of their products. It is a simple matter to fill out the form and conform to the standards of the industry. Many of the dimension stone producers are now offering these forms which explain the chemical or mineral content of the stone which are potential health hazards such as Silica, Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3), Magnesium Carbonate (MgCo3), Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) which is present in many granites etc.
Very simply the form can be filled out by any manufacturer. These chemicals or minerals will be become a health hazard when the stone is being cut. The dust of the stone can get into the lungs of workers and potentially cause long term side effects. The purpose of the form is to advise the worker and their doctors of what materials the workers are being exposed to and to hopefully, through prevention, allow the worker and business owner the chance to take proper care in protecting the workers. Many times this care is nothing more than simple logic such as “when cutting stone, the worker should ware a mask to filter the air he is breathing and not allow the dust to enter the body.”
A supplier can make one form that covers various stones they are producing. The form is broken out into 10 areas. The areas are covered as follows:
1. Name and address of the manufacturer; contact person, phone and fax number, and date, and finally type of product which can be generally granite, or limestone, or marble etc.
2. Chemical Name of problem as outlined above or as applies to your stone. You should also note that the product is an odorless powder or dust.
3. Specific gravity
4. Fire and explosion hazard data: which usually does not apply to stone.
5. Health, First Aid and Medical Data
In this area you would note that the material is either benign, or that dust from cutting the stone is a factor and by removing the person to clean air may assist the patient. Further, that if the stone dust gets into the eyes that may cause irritation, flush with potable water.
6. Corrosivity and Reactivity Data is usually not a factor.
7. Storage, Handling and Use Procedures, again this is usually not applicable.
8. Personal Protection Information
This usually relates to answers such as : Local and mechanical ventilation in the facility is recommended. Gloves are optional as well as goggles to protect the eyes. Safety shoes are recommended to protect heavy stone from damaging workers feet. A mask to filter the air is recommended.
9. Special Precautions
This is normally not a factor but each one must study and report what they recommend.
10. Additional Information
This area is for the manufacturer to make special notes of information about their product such as: “this stone is primarily used for construction of walls, floors, furniture etc. No chemicals should be used on the stone as we are not aware of the results of a reaction to our product. Unless the stone is processed by cutting or grinding their should be no health hazards, as fabrication to the stone emits silica dust. Long term exposure to silica dust through inhalation may cause lung disease/injury (Silicosis) and measures should be taken to avoid inhalation.
These are only general guidelines and should be studied by each manufacturer to insure what contents in the stone is to expected from their product. All 10 points above and their responses will depend solely on each producer.
Many jobs being sold now as well as distributors are requiring the manufacturers M.S.D.S. forms in order to secure payment. All producers therefore, should be aware of the form and how easy it is to fill out and comply with national and local standards of safety and health. In most cases, once you fill out your form correctly and accurately, you should never have to do it again. You can than copy it and submit it to all buyers for their protection. It will also show your concern and awareness.