safety data sheets

GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

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safety data sheetsPreviously called MSDS (material safety data sheets) under the old OSHA HazCom Standard, safety Data Sheets are a critical part of GHS and are designed to communicate complete information about a chemical or mixture and how to mitigate any issues with handling or storage. Before GHS, the requirements for MSDSs were confusing and not very detailed. Safety data sheets however follow a particular format to ensure the proper safety information is included.

Now that OSHA has aligned the Hazard Communication Standard with GHS, workplaces must provide properly formatted safety data sheets that employees can access either physically on site or electronically. The information of an SDS is comprehensive and concise, including the relevant and accurate information about the hazardous chemical. An SDS is comprised of sixteen different sections, each section must include a heading and be listed on the document in the following order:

  1. Identification: This section includes contact information of the supplier or manufacturer as well as a product identifier that corresponds with the GHS label.
  2. Hazard(s) identification: Much of the information included in this section is information found on the chemical label including hazard classification, signal word, pictograms, precautionary statement(s), and hazard statement(s).
  3. Composition/information on ingredients: This section lists the ingredients of the chemical or mixture and any trade secret claims are also listed.
  4. First-aid measures: In this section, you can find detailed information about first-aid procedures in the case of exposure.
  5. Fire-fighting measures: This section includes information about the chemical’s impact if it were to catch on fire, how to extinguish the fire, and what to do in case of fire,
  6. Accidental release measures: If a chemical were accidentally released, this information provides information on how to contain it, how to clean it up, and what PPE is needed to keep workers safe.
  7. Handling and Storage: This section provides guidance and instruction for the safe handling of the chemical as well as how to safely store the chemical.
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection: Employees can find information about PPE measures, exposure limits, and engineering controls meant to minimize worker exposure in this section.
  9. Physical and chemical properties: This section identifies and describes physical and chemical properties including appearance, odor, pH, etc.
  10. Stability and reactivity: A list of all information about the stability of the chemical and possibly hazardous reactions that may be occur are included in this section.
  11. Toxicological information: This section has notes on how someone can be exposed to the chemical, symptoms of exposure, and more.
  12. Ecological information: This is where important information about the chemical’s impact on the environment is listed, specifically if it gets into a water supply.
  13. Disposal considerations: This section contains instructions on how to properly and safety dispose of the chemical as well as any special restrictions or requirements.
  14. Transport information: This section is for instructions and information to ensure safe transportation of the chemical.
  15. Regulatory information: Any and all information related to regulation requirements of the chemical is detailed in this section.
  16. Other information: If there is still relevant information you believe should be included in the SDS but doesn’t quite fit in the other sections, this is the place to put them.

All chemicals that are shipped should have included with them an SDS for every unique substance or mixture from the manufacturer or distributor. The first two sections of the SDS, Identification and Hazard(s) Identification, contain all the information about a substance that is required to create a GHS label. Each chemical that requires a GHS label will also need to have an SDS to accompany it.

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