Safety Data Sheets

Hazard Communication Program – 29CFR1910.1200 GHS revision (content detail: Appendix D)

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) formerly known as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) is the cornerstone of chemical hazard communication and central to the safe handling of hazardous substances. The SDSs provide the information needed to work with the materials safely. Hence it is important as well as a legal requirement that users have easy access to them. Every hazardous material (listed on the chemical hazard inventory) must have a corresponding SDS, which is readily available to the user of the material.

SDSs may be obtained by way of the following:

  1. in the shipment from manufacturer as part of the purchase requirements
  2. from the manufactures hotline/fax/Web page
  3. from a web search of online databases
  4. from published safety references at EH&S (for generic material safety data)

The manufactures are required by OSHA to provide SDSs but sometimes it is difficult to obtain information for old chemicals, from small companies and consumer products. In general, the preferred source for SDS is the chemical manufacturer, because these files are actively updated to reflect all that is known about the hazardous material in question. Most major chemical suppliers provide a toll-free number and will fax the latest SDS to purchasers. Safety Data Sheets are also often available via the manufactures home web page.

Other sources of chemical safety information include online searches and published safety references. Several industrial and academic institutes have inactive search engines available. Safety references and chemical dictionaries (e.g. SAX, Hawleys, or the NFPA Handbook to Hazardous Chemicals) can provide generic safety information.

Understanding the information on an SDS is important. As of June1, 2015, the OHSA GHS regulations require the SDSs to be in the following uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

Section 1. Identification
(a) Product identifier used on the label; (b) Other means of identification; (c) Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use; (d) Name, address, and telephone number of chemical manufacturer, importer, or responsible party; (e) Emergency phone number.
Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
All hazards regarding the chemical; and required label elements. Specifically: signal word, hazard statement(s), symbol(s) and precautionary statement(s).
Section 3. Composition / information on ingredients
Information on chemical ingredients

For Substances: (a) Chemical name; (b) Common name and synonyms; (c) CAS number and other unique identifiers; (d) Impurities and in addition
For mixtures: (a) The chemical name and concentration (exact percentage) or concentration ranges of all ingredients which are classified as health hazards;] and
If trade secret is claimed: specific chemical identity and/or exact percentage (concentration) of composition has been withheld as a trade secret].

Section 4. First-aid measures
Important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment. Specifically these are (a) Description of necessary measures, subdivided according to the different routes of exposure, i.e., inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion; (b) Most important symptoms/effects, acute and delayed. (c) Indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed, if necessary.
Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
Suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire. Specifically these are
(a) Suitable (and unsuitable) extinguishing media. (b) Specific hazards arising from the chemical (e.g., nature of any hazardous combustion products). (c) Special protective equipment and precautions for fire-fighters.
Section 6. Accidental release measures
Emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup. Such as (a) Personal precautions, protective equipment, and emergency procedures.(b) Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up.
Section 7, Handling and storage
Precautions for safe handling and safe storage, including incompatibilities.
Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection
OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available as well as appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE)
Section 9, Physical and chemical properties
The chemical’s characteristics including a) Appearance (physical state, color, etc.); (b) Odor; (c) Odor threshold; (d) pH; (e) Melting point/freezing point; (f) Initial boiling point and boiling range; (g) Flash point; (h) Evaporation rate; (i) Flammability (solid, gas); (j) Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits; (k) Vapor pressure; (l) Vapor density; (m) Relative density; (n) Solubility(ies); (o) Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water; (p) Auto-ignition temperature; (q) Decomposition temperature; (r) Viscosity.
Section 10, Stability and reactivity
(a) Reactivity; (b) Chemical stability; (c) Possibility of hazardous reactions; (d) Conditions to avoid (e.g., static discharge, shock, or vibration); (e) Incompatible materials; (f) Hazardous decomposition products.
Section 11, Toxicological information
Description of the various toxicological (health) effects and the available data used to identify those effects, including: a) Routes of exposure; b) related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; c) numerical measures of toxicity.
Section 12, Ecological information*(Non-mandatory)
(a) Ecotoxicity (aquatic and terrestrial, where available); (b) Persistence and degradability; (c) Bioaccumulative potential; (d) Mobility in soil; (e) Other adverse effects (such as hazardous to the ozone layer).
Section 13, Disposal considerations*(Non-mandatory)
Description of waste residues and information on their safe handling and methods of disposal, including the disposal of any contaminated packaging.
Section 14, Transport information*(Non-mandatory)
(a) UN number; (b) UN proper shipping name; (c) Transport hazard class(es); (d) Packing group, if applicable; (e) Environmental hazards (e.g., Marine pollutant (Yes/No)); (f) Transport in bulk; (g) Special precautions which a user needs to be aware of, or needs to comply with, in connection with transport or conveyance either within or outside their premises.
Section 15, Regulatory information*(Non-mandatory)
Safety, health and environmental regulations specific for the product.
Section 16, Other information
Date of preparation or last revision

If you have other questions on SDSs or other problems concerning hazardous materials, environment, health or safety concerns, call EH&S at 646-3327. Thank you.