≡ Menu

What Are Safety Data Sheets? A Brief Guide

Sensitization, irritation, and carcinogenicity are only a few of the health hazards that working with chemicals and toxic substances can lead to.

When working with dangerous materials, you need to know how to handle the products and what to do if something goes awry. This is where Safety Data Sheets come in handy.

Keep reading to learn more about them.

What Are Safety Data Sheets?

Safety Data Sheets or SDSs are documents that help businesses identify hazardous materials. An SDS will provide you with full details on what the different hazards are for a specific product and label.

These sheets offer instructions on how to safely work with hazardous materials and products. The steps will be spelled out for you if there ever is an emergency when working with the product.

What Does an SDS Answer?

You’ll refer to an SDS when you require facts on a hazardous product you are working with. The sheet should answer these four fundamental questions:

  1. What is the product? (section 1: Product Identification)
  2. What are the product hazards? (second 2: Hazard Identification)
  3. How do I work with a specific product safely? (section 7: Handling and Storage)
  4. What are the steps to take during an emergency? (section 4, 5, and 6: First Aid, Fire Fighting Measures, and Accidental Release Measures)

Before you start working with a product, make sure the product name exactly matches the SDS.

How Many Sections Does an SDS Have?

Because there are different levels of chemical safety, an SDS is required to have 16 sections that can be easily read.

Each section has its own unique purpose and content information.

Along with Product Identification, Hazard Identification, Handling and Storage, First Aid, Fire Fighting Measures, and Accidental Release Measures, these are the other sections provided in an SDS:

  • Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
  • Section 8: Exposure Controls and Personal Protection
  • Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
  • Section 11: Toxicological Information
  • Section 12: Ecological Information
  • Section 13: Disposal Considerations
  • Section 14: Transport Information
  • Section 15: Regulatory Information
  • Section 16: Other Information

Section 16 tells you who wrote the SDS and when it was written. It might include a glossary that explains abbreviations in other sections.

The SDS is usually written by a manufacturer or supplier of the product. An employer might write the SDS if the product is produced and exclusively used in the workplace.

How Do I Get a Safety Data Sheet?

Safety compliance measures require the product supplier to give the SDS to the product purchaser during the time of sale. They will either give you a printed copy or an electronic copy.

If you aren’t provided with an SDS, check the manufacturer’s website or contact them personally.

Every product that is classified as hazardous requires an SDS. It’s best to have an SDS management system to organize these data sheets online.

The Importance of Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets are essential to those manufacturing, supplying, and using hazardous materials and products.

If you have questions about a product, you can refer to the SDS for information. Each will have 16 sections covering your needs.

For more informative articles like this, check out the other posts on our website.