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Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) >>

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program. It also contains information on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to the hazards of the material. The MSDS contains much more information about the material than the label. MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material. It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur.

A safety data sheet (SDS),[1] material safety data sheet (MSDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is a document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health for the use of various substances and products. SDSs are a widely used system for cataloguing information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. SDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product, along with spill-handling procedures. The older MSDS formats could vary from source to source within a country depending on national requirements; however, the newer SDS format is internationally standardized.

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals contains a standard specification for safety data sheets.[2] The SDS follows a 16 section format which is internationally agreed and for substances especially, the SDS should be followed with an Annex which contains the exposure scenarios of this particular substance.[3] The 16 sections are:[4]

Safety data sheets have been made an integral part of the system of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH).[6] The original requirements of REACH for SDSs have been further adapted to take into account the rules for safety data sheets of the Global Harmonised System (GHS)[7] and the implementation of other elements of the GHS into EU legislation that were introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP)[8] via an update to Annex II of REACH.[9]

In Germany, safety data sheets must be compiled in accordance with REACH Regulation No. 1907/2006. The requirements concerning national aspects are defined in the Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 220 "National aspects when compiling safety data sheets".[10] A national measure mentioned in SDS section 15 is as example the water hazard class (WGK) it is based on regulations governing systems for handling substances hazardous to waters (AwSV).[11]

The board's Combustible Dust Hazard Study analyzed 140 data sheets of substances capable of producing combustible dusts.[25] None of the SDSs contained all the information the board said was needed to work with the material safely, and 41 percent failed to even mention that the substance was combustible.

As part of its study of an explosion and fire that destroyed the Barton Solvents facility in Valley Center, Kansas, in 2007, the safety board reviewed 62 material safety data sheets for commonly used nonconductive flammable liquids. As in the combustible dust study, the board found all the data sheets inadequate.[26]

Many companies offer the service of collecting, or writing and revising, data sheets to ensure they are up to date and available for their subscribers or users. Some jurisdictions impose an explicit duty of care that each SDS be regularly updated, usually every three to five years.[28] However, when new information becomes available, the SDS must be revised without delay.[29] If a full SDS is not feasible, then a reduced workplace label should be authored.[30]

Safety data sheets have sixteen sections. The early sections, one through eight, focus on quick access to essential


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