Safety Data Sheets

This module covers the fundamentals of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • State the purpose of SDSs.
  • List the mandatory information required in SDSs.
  • State your right as an employee to access and use SDSs.

SDS – The Source of Information

The Safety Data Sheet (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) is the primary source of information about hazardous chemicals used in your work site. Your employer is required to have an SDS for every hazardous chemical used or stored at your work site, and to make it available for review on request.

Safety Data Sheets repeat the hazard information required on a product's label, however, SDSs are also required to specify other information such as emergency and clean-up procedures, chemical names, and a phone number for the manufacturer or importer.

Specifics in Your Workplace

Your supervisor or trainer should review with you the specific SDSs or other information sheets for the chemicals and materials used in your workplace. This review should occur before you use or are exposed to a toxic substance and during annual Right-to-Know classroom training.

The following aspects of the SDS or other information sheet must be covered:

  • Physical and health hazards of chemicals present in your workplace.
  • Methods and observations you can use to identify hazardous chemicals, such as appearance and odor.
  • Procedures for handling the product to protect against hazards, including personal protective equipment, work practices, and emergency procedures.
  • The location of SDSs or other information sheets at your work site, and how you may obtain and use appropriate hazard information.

As part of this online training, your supervisor or trainer will be required to provide the information described below.

The arrangement of information on the SDSs may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all SDS' must contain eight basic required elements.

Required Information

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new SDSs to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

Section 1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); and any other exposure limit used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the SDS where available as well as appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.

Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12, Ecological information*
Section 13, Disposal considerations*
Section 14, Transport information*
Section 15, Regulatory information*

Section 16, Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

*Note: Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15 (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

Employers must ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees.

See Appendix D of 1910.1200 for a detailed description of SDS contents.