The Importance of Safety Data Sheets-March 2015

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety

March 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: The Importance of Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are a vital tool when evaluating chemical exposures. SDSs, previously known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), must be current, cover all hazardous materials that may be used or stored at the facility, and be readily available to anyone who may need them. SDSs are the most accessible and detailed source of information on the hazards and controls of a chemical. While SDSs should not be the only source of information, they can begin the evaluation of a chemical hazard.

MSDSs were first required by OSHA in 1983 as part of the Hazard Communication standard 1910.1200. Since then, chemical manufacturers worldwide have developed similar documents. The name MSDS was changed to SDS with the revised OSHA standard in 2012. In addition to the name change, the SDS has been standardized and is aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling, an international consensus standard.

Key Information Found on SDSs
Identification of product and manufacturer
Hazards including health
Fire-fighting procedures
Stability and reactivity
Environmental factors
Procedures for working with the chemical safely

SDSs can be used to help develop an effective chemical control system. They are intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with the substance in a safe manner, and include information such as toxicity, health effects, first aid, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures.

Whenever employees may be exposed to hazardous chemicals, employers must effectively control the hazards. This may require evaluating the chemical, testing the environment, installing engineering controls, and providing personal protective equipment and training. The SDS is a good place to start when taking these steps.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or contact us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

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