Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Feb 20, 2019
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are a system used to catalog information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. The SDS includes information including the properties of each chemical; physical, health, and environmental hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical.
OSHA requires that the information on the sheet is written in English, and that the SDS prepared provides specific minimum information as detailed in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.1200. OSHA also requires that SDSs are readily available for all potentially harmful substances that are handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation. The SDSs should also be made available to local fire departments and state emergency planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Safety Data Sheets consist of 16 sections total. Sections 1 through 8 contain general information about the chemical, identification, hazards, safe handling practices, and emergency control measures. Sections 9 through 11 and section 16 contain technical and scientific information including physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity information, toxicological information, and exposure control information. To remain consistent with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, SDSs contain sections 12 to 15, but OSHA will not enforce the content of these sections as they concern matters handled by other agencies.
The title of each section and a summary of what that section contains is outlined below. If specific information is not applicable or not available under a particular section, the SDS should state this.
Section 1: Identification
Identifies the chemical on the SDS and the recommended uses. This section also includes information from the supplier including:
Section 2: Hazards Identification
This section identifies hazards or chemicals presented on the SDS as well as appropriate warning information associated with the hazards. Required information includes:
Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
Identifies ingredients contained in project indicated on SDS including impurities and stabilizing additives.
Section 4: First-Aid Measures
Describes initial care that should be given by untrained responders to individuals who have been exposed to the chemical.
Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
Provides recommendations for fighting a fire cause by chemical.
Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
Provides recommendations on appropriate response to spills, leaks, or releases including containment and cleanup practices to prevent or minimize exposure.
Section 7: Handling and Storage
Provides guidance on safe handling practices and conditions for safe storage of chemicals.
Section 8: Exposure Controls / Personal Protection
Indicates exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective measures to minimize worker exposure.
Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
Identifies the physical and chemical properties associated with substance or mixture.
Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
Describes reactivity hazards of the chemical and chemical stability information. Broken into three parts, reactivity, chemical stability and other.
Section 11: Toxicological Information
Identifies toxicological and health effects information or indications if such data is not available.
Section 12: Ecological Informational *Non-Mandatory
Provides information to evaluate the environment impact of the chemical if it were release to the environment.
Section 13: Disposal Considerations *Non-Mandatory
Provides guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemicals or its container and safe handling practices.
Section 14: Transport Information *Non-Mandatory
Provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemicals by road, air, rail or sea.
Section 15: Regulatory Information *Non-Mandatory
Identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS
Section 16: Other Information
Indicates when the SDS was prepared or when the last known revision was made. May also state where the changes have been made to the previous version. May include any other useful information
Storing & Maintaining Safety Data Sheets
Safety Data Sheets should be stored electronically or on paper copies that are readily accessible to all employees. If you store SDSs electronically, they should be saved on an internal drive that all employees are able to access and should be backed up on an external drive in case of an emergency. Paper copies should be stored in binders marked “Safety Data Sheets” in a location that is easily accessible.
Maintenance of SDSs is the responsibility of the department that is using the chemicals which require a SDS. Ideally, one employee should be tasked with the maintenance procedure.
All employees should be trained on how to read, understand, and access Safety Data Sheets, as well as basic knowledge about the chemicals used in their workplace.
Chemical Storage and Spill Containment
Whether you are storing chemicals in your facility or handling them on a daily basis, your facility should be equipped with the proper chemical storage cans, safety cabinets and spill containment systems.
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