SDS Safety Data Sheets

SDS Safety Data Sheets

SDS Safety Data Sheets

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), previously known as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is a critical document that provides information on the safe handling and use of chemicals and their mixtures such as formulations.

A SDS is typically only legally required to be provided for substances and mixtures which are hazardous. Hazards are most often determined according to legislation related to GHS, based on the rules adopted by a specific region. However, a SDS can also be requested for non hazardous product for worker protection, so the recipient is reassured there are no known hazards.

The main purpose of an SDS is to promote workplace safety by giving workers and emergency responders the knowledge they need to manage hazardous materials properly. This can help prevent accidents, injuries, and illnesses.

By referring to the SDS, employers can also develop programs for worker protection and training specific to the hazards of the materials they use. In addition to workplace safety, SDS information can also be helpful for:

  • Emergency responders who may need to deal with accidents involving hazardous materials.
  • Those involved in transporting hazardous materials.

Note that SDSs are not substitutes for a risk assessment in the workplace. A SDS provides hazard information but does not set out specific controls needed in a particular work environment, as this also needs to consider type and frequency of exposure.

SDS Format

The format of a SDS is almost always dictated by regional legislation and typically this is under the umbrella of the GHS. The GHS SDS format contains 16 sections and many regions of the world have adopted this structure, although there are some regional variations. Formpak produces SDS for substances and mixtures for GHS and regional variations.

A SDS is not a fixed length document and needs to contain information appropriate to the product and its hazards. The 16 sections of a GHS SDS are briefly described below.

1. Identification

Product Identifier: The chemical name, trade name(s), and product codes of the substance or mixture.

Manufacturer/Supplier Information: The name, address, phone number, and email of the manufacturer/supplier who produced the SDS.

Recommended Use: The intended purpose of the substance or mixture.

Emergency Phone Number: A contact number for emergencies involving the material.

2. Hazard(s) Identification

Hazard Classification: Classification of the hazards of the substance or mixture according to GHS categories (e.g., flammable, toxic, corrosive).

Hazard Statements: Phrases describing the nature of the hazards (e.g., “Causes skin irritation”).

Precautionary Statements: Phrases that recommend measures to protect against the hazards (e.g., “Wear protective gloves/eye protection”).

Pictograms: GHS symbols that visually represent the hazards.

3. Composition/Information on Ingredients

List of ingredients including their chemical names, CAS numbers, and concentrations.

This section helps identify hazardous components and their potential health effects. Some regions make provision for trade secrets.

4. First-Aid Measures

Provides instructions for first-aid treatment in case of inhalation, skin contact, eye contact, and ingestion.

Includes information on whether to induce vomiting or seek medical attention.

5. Fire-Fighting Measures

Suitable extinguishing media for different types of fires involving the substance or mixture.

Specific hazards arising from the combustion of the substance or mixture.

Special protective equipment for firefighters.

6. Accidental Release Measures

Personal precautions, protective equipment, and emergency procedures for accidental spills or leaks.

Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up.

7. Handling and Storage

Precautions for safe handling, including measures to prevent exposure.

Conditions for safe storage, including incompatibilities with other materials.

8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection

Occupational exposure limits for the substance or mixture and its ingredients.

Recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, respirators, and eye protection.

9. Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical appearance (colour, odour, form), melting point, boiling point, flash point, flammability, solubility, etc.

Provides basic understanding of the material’s behaviour.

10. Stability and Reactivity

Chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Incompatible materials to avoid.

Hazardous decomposition products formed under certain conditions.

11. Toxicological Information

Routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact).

Symptoms of short- and long-term exposure.

Numerical measures of toxicity (e.g. LD50, LC50).

12. Ecological Information

Toxicity to aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

Persistence and degradability in the environment.

Bioaccumulation potential.

Mobility in soil.

13. Disposal Considerations

Information on safe disposal methods for the substance or mixture and its contaminated containers.

Local, regional, and national regulations that may apply to disposal.

14. Transport Information

UN number, shipping name, transport hazard class(es), packing group, and environmental hazards (if applicable).

Regulations for transport by road, rail, air, and sea.

15. Regulatory Information

Safety, health, and environmental regulations specific to the substance or mixture.

16. Other Information

For example, last revision of the SDS, list of abbreviations used I the SDS.

Any additional information relevant to the safe handling and use of the material.

Who can prepare an SDS?

There are generally no set rules about who is allowed to prepare an SDS. However, they need to be suitably qualified and experienced such that the company providing the SDS can be confident their legal responsibilities for legislation including health and safety are properly met.

Formpak generates SDS according to the GHS and regional rules, including performing appropriate GHS calculations. The information generated uses information available for your products. Your supply chain is unique in terms of your ingredients and your customers use, and the impacts of this cannot be fully estimated. However, Formpak is very configurable and when different rules apply or a specific circumstance is unique, you can adjust the calculated outputs to meet your own needs.


March 2024

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