The University of Iowa

SDS Announcement

Important Annoucement

The Carver College of Medicine (CCOM), in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED), will be purchasing MSDS Online ( for use by University faculty and staff.  This service will maintain the safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals used on campus, as required by OSHA regulations. Departments and laboratories using MSDS Online will no longer have to collect and update their own copies of SDSs as long as the chemicals are maintained in the EHSA chemical inventory.

MSDS Online is accessible through a web browser and mobile phone. One of the OSHA regulatory requirements is that each lab has on hand an accessible copy of a local central SDS database that can be accessed without the need to perform an internet search (e.g., Google®, Yahoo®). The MSDS Online system has this capacity, but obliges us to electronically capture each relevant SDS into our University local database. 
As we prepare to implement this software, we need your help in identifying the exact SDS information to retrieve from MSDS Online to make the local central database.

Each SDS is specific to the manufacturer, obliging us to identify each chemical on campus and its manufacturer. For those of you who already have your chemical inventory in EHSA that includes the manufacturer, we will simply use your electronic inventory directly to gather the relevant SDS forms; there is no further action that you need to take at this time.

If you do not have the manufacturer recorded in your electronic chemical inventory, we need to work with you to gather as much of that information as we can. There are two options:

  1. Laboratories who prefer to update their inventory on their own may begin entering the manufacturer data at any time, and we are available to answer any questions you may have about this.
  2. We will have a staff member available to assist departments and individual laboratories in updating their EHSA chemical inventory with sufficient manufacturer data so we can gather the relevant SDS forms. Only easily accessible chemicals will be accessed such as those on open shelving, in flammable cabinets or under fume hoods.  Chemicals in secure storage or refrigerators/freezers will not be accessed unless we are given explicit permission from the laboratory PI.  As this process nears completion, we may need to have the manufacturer data on a few rare chemicals in these latter locations and will make arrangements with individual laboratory PIs.

We will notify the University community when MSDS Online is ready to launch and will provide access information and training material at that time.

Please keep in mind that EHS is transitioning to a new version of the EHSA chemical inventory in which the manufacturer data will be a required field for each new chemical added.  Thus, investigators may take advantage of our EHS staff to help gather manufacturer data now to meet the needs of the MSDS Online system and the new EHSA chemical inventory format coming in the near future.

Please contact Rick Byrum at 5-9379 with any questions.

Haley Sinn, PhD
Interim Director

Environmental Health & Safety Office
The University of Iowa
122 Grand Ave. Ct. 
Iowa City, IA 52246-1000
V. 319-335-8775