To finish up the year, here's another part of the Alphabet Soup Series, where I try to define one of the many acronyms we run across every day. Remember, I'm looking for more to do, so feel free to suggest some!

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document containing data regarding the properties of a potentially hazardous chemical substance. It is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner.

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that MSDS be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation.

In Canada, the program known as the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) establishes the requirements for MSDS's in workplaces.

OSHA has specifically excluded wood flooring from the need for an MSDS. That's right, an MSDS is not required for a processed wood floor. Glues and finishes used on the job site must have them, but processed wood flooring does not.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")