The Importance of Safety Data Sheets

April 2019 Safety Topic

Woman holding a binder of safety data sheets

CUIMC employees who work with chemicals in some shape, form, or fashion will encounter a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). SDSs are required by law as part of OSHA’s Hazard Communications Standard. This requires that the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor provide a SDS for hazardous chemicals in order to effectively communicate information about the hazards of the particular chemical that is being used or handled. SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent, user-friendly, 16-section format; the sections break down as follows:

  • Section 1: Identification: Identifies the chemical on the SDS as well as the recommended uses. It also provides the essential contact information of the supplier.
  • Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification: Identifies the hazards of the chemical presented on the SDS and the appropriate warning information associated with those hazards.
  • Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients: Identifies the ingredient(s) contained in the product indicated on the SDS, including impurities and stabilizing additives.
  • Section 4: First-Aid Measures: Describes the initial care that should be given by untrained responders to an individual who has been exposed to the chemical.
  • Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures: Provides recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical.
  • Section 6: Accidental Release Measures: Provides recommendations on the appropriate response to spills, leaks, or releases, including containment and cleanup practices to prevent or minimize exposure to people, property, or the environment.
  • Section 7: Handling and Storage: Provides guidance on the safe handling practices and conditions for safe storage of chemicals.
  • Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection: Indicates the exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective measures that can be used to minimize worker exposure.
  • Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties: Identifies physical and chemical properties associated with the substance or mixture.
  • Section 10: Stability and Reactivity: Describes the reactivity hazards of the chemical and the chemical stability information.
  • Section 11: Toxicological Information: Identifies toxicological and health effects information or indicates that such data are not available.
  • Section 12: Ecological Information (non-mandatory): Provides information to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) if it were released to the environment.
  • Section 13: Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory): Provides guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices.
  • Section 14: Transport Information (non-mandatory): Provides guidance on classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) 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.

For more information or questions about Safety Data Sheets please speak with your supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.