Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
What Are Material Safety Data Sheets or SDS?
Safety Data Sheets are sheets that describe and accompany every chemical or concentrate we use in or around our workplace. These sheets are made up of 16 parts that state the product’s contents, first aid treatments, emergency measures, and other crucial information. The material “Safety Data Sheets” are very similar to the MSDS of the past, yet the system has been formatted further to maintain consistency.
In accordance with the globally harmonized system (GHS), companies that produce and distribute chemicals and concentrates are required to include a safety data sheet. These sheets must be thorough and well-categorized. GHS has made sure to create a harmonious system in which specialists will know exactly where to look for the information they require. This keeps chemical use consistent and mitigates unwanted reactions. This is especially important when working with catalysts that can even react with oxygen.
Versions 1-6 of GHS have been in use in most international trading countries. Canada, The US, Australia, and New Zealand have already approved Version 7 of the GHS. Only small differences exist between version 7 and its predecessors.
GHS also emphasizes the importance of SDS training courses that teach specialists about working with chemicals and reviewing the Safety Data Sheets. These courses are required in most countries that have approved GHS parameters.
Explore this Article:
- What Are Material Safety Data Sheets or SDS?
- The 16 Different Sections of a Safety Data Sheet Explained
- SDS Sheets Summarized
The 16 Different Sections of a Safety Data Sheet Explained
Safety Data Sheets are broken down into 16 sections. Sections 1-8 contain general information including the following sections:
SDS Section #1 Identification
The purpose of Section 1 of an SDS is to describe the chemical, how it should and should not be used, and how to get in touch with the supplier.
Section one requires product identity, common names and synonyms, suggested uses, prohibited uses, and the name, address, contact information, and emergency contact information of the maker or distributor.
SDS Section #2 Hazard Identification
SDS section 2 alerts you to potential hazards related to the chemical on that specific SDS.
Hazard categorization, signal words, hazard statements, pictograms, warnings, and descriptions of unclassified hazards are all required pieces of information.
The portion of mixes containing a component with unidentified acute toxicity should also be mentioned.
SDS Section #3 Composition\Information on Ingredients
You can find out exactly what the product is made of, along with any contaminants or stabilizing additives, in the third section of an SDS.
This is vital since impurities and stabilizing additives contribute to the overall classification of the chemical substance while also having their own classifications.
Chemical name, common name, synonyms, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, and other distinctive characteristics are required for all compounds according to SDS Section 3.
The chemical name and precise percentage (concentration) are necessary if the following conditions are satisfied:
- The substance also contains components that are deemed to be harmful to health.
- The additional ingredients either have a concentration that is higher than the limitations allowed or pose a health risk that is lower than the allowed concentrations.
On safety data sheets, percentage ranges may be used for mixtures that vary from batch to batch, a collection of basically similar mixtures, or if a trade secret claim has been made. If precise percentages are withheld due to a trade secret claim, Section 3 must include a declaration to that effect.
SDS Section #4 First Aid Measures
Required information for SDS Symptoms and consequences are described in Section 4 (both acute and delayed). First aid guidelines must be provided for exposure caused by ingestion, skin and eye contact, and inhalation, as well as suggestions for urgent medical attention or special care as necessary.
SDS Section #5 Firefighting Measures
This section of an SDS instructs you on what to do in the event of a chemical-caused fire. The necessary information comprises guidance on specific risks that result from the chemical during the fire, advice on appropriate or ineffective extinguishing equipment, special gear, and safety precautions for firefighters.
SDS Section #6 Accidental Release Measures
What to do in the event of a chemical accident, leak, or other release is described in SDS Section 6. Information on emergency protocols, safety gear, and suitable cleanup and containment techniques is necessary.
SDS Section #7 Handling and Storage
The SDS’s Section 7 contains instructions for handling and storing chemicals properly. Information on general hygiene, conditions for safe storage, particular storage needs, and storage incompatibilities are among the requirements. Safe handling of the chemical to prevent release into the environment is another.
SDS Section #8 Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
The purpose of SDS Section 8 is to guide you in avoiding personal exposure to chemicals in amounts or for lengthier periods of time than is safe. It provides the maximum personal exposure that is deemed safe as well as the safety precautions that need to be taken when handling the chemical.
Information necessary for exposure consists of:
- TLVs (Threshold Limit Values)
- ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists)
- OSHA PELs (Permissible Exposure Limits)
SDS Section #9 Chemical and Physical Properties
The chemical and Physical properties of the material can be found in section 9. These must include:
- Appearance (physical state, color, etc.)
- Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits
- Flammability (solid, gas)
- Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water
- Vapor pressure
- Odor threshold
- Vapor density
- Relative density
- Melting point/freezing point
- Initial boiling point and boiling range
- Auto-ignition temperature
- Flash point
- Evaporation rate
- Decomposition temperature
If the Safety Data Sheet is missing any of the above-mentioned, then those are not pertinent to the product.
Sections 9-11 of safety data sheets contain more technical information and even scientific information. Other scientific information can be found in section 16 sometimes if the information is cross related.
SDS Section #10 Stability and Reactivity
Section ten covers stability. This can be used to gauge the potential for reactions. There are three categories:
Hazardous reactions, situations to avoid, components that can’t be used together, and any hazardous breakdown products that could be created through usage, storage, or heating.
Stability, the stability section states whether the substance is stable or unstable (at normal room temperature) while being handled, whether stabilizers are required, and whether there have been any physical changes to the substance that would be concerning.
Test Data for the chemicals class or family.
SDS Section #11 Toxicological Information
Information on toxicology and health impacts is identified in this section, or it is stated that no such information is available. The details needed are as follows:
- Measures of toxicity
- National Toxicology Program distinction
SDS Section #12 Ecological Information
This section offers data to assess the chemical(s)’ potential environmental effects in the event of a release. The data might consist of:
- Toxicity tests
- Bioaccumulation potential
- Groundwater studies
- Other adverse effects
SDS Section #13 Disposal Considerations
This section offers guidelines for safe handling procedures, recycling or repurposing the chemical(s) or its container, and correct disposal procedures. This section should also direct the reader to Section 8 (Exposure Controls/Personal Protection) of the SDS to reduce exposure. The data might consist of:
- Proper disposal containers
- Approved disposal methods
- Chemical properties that may affect disposal
SDS Section #14 Transport Information
The classification information for shipping and transporting hazardous chemical(s) via land, air, rail, or water is outlined in this section. The data might consist of:
- Special precautions
- Transport hazard class
- UN number
- UN proper shipping name
- Bulk transport guidance
- Environmental hazards
SDS Section #15 Regulatory Information
The safety, health, and environmental laws that are unique to the product and are not mentioned elsewhere on the SDS are listed in this section.
SDS Section #16 Other Information
This section states the date the SDS was created or the date of the most recent known version. Where the prior version has changed may also be noted in the SDS. It also includes how to contact the supplier.
SDS Sheets Summarized
Safety data sheets are another great example of the world unifying in the name of safety and simplicity. In order for free trade to prosper, we must agree on many things to simplify hazards and mitigate confusion. That’s precisely what safety data sheets are designed to do. They promote safety through harmony.