A safety data sheet(SDS), formerly called material safety data sheets (MSDS), is a document that details the hazards and safety measures associated with hazardous chemicals and their communication.
The HCS( Hazard communication standard) 2012 requires all chemical manufacturers to make provisions for the safety data sheets with the names of the importers and distributors of this hazardous chemical.
We need great care during the use and transportation of hazardous chemicals since they can harm people.
What information can you see in the Safety Data Sheet?
- The properties of the chemical.
- The hazards in the chemical, for example, physical, health and environmental hazards.
- Safety precautions of the chemical.
- Protective measures while using the chemical.
Most safety data sheets are in the English language. However, other languages are acceptable. OSHA requires SDS to meet some minimum requirements as seen in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.1200.
16 Sections exist in the Safety data sheet SDS.
SDS has a uniform format consisting of 16 sections. They are
SECTION 1:IDENTIFICATION OF THE SUBSTANCE.
- Product Identifier- Things to see in this part include the product name and product number.
- Relevant identified uses of the substance-for an Industrial Thinner, this section will contain a volatile, liquid, solvent-based product for professional and industrial usage to thin appropriate paint to ease application.
- Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet-This part will contain the supplier details, location, phone number, and the contact person.
- Emergency telephone number– This number is the contact to call in any emergency arising of the substance.
SECTION 2: HAZARD IDENTIFICATION.
This section bears the below.
- Classification of the substance or mixture– For example, if the product is industrial thinner (xylene), in this section, you will see code like ( 1999/45/EEC)
- Human health- Thinner is harmful by inhalation and irritates the skin.
- Physical and chemical hazards– The product is flammable and may form explosive vapours or mixtures with air.
- Under the label elements– You will see risk phrases such as R10 indicating flammable. R20/21 means are harmful by inhalation and in contact with skin. R38 means irritating to the skin.
- Safety phrases – S23 meaning does not breathe vapour /spray. S 24 meaning avoid contact with skin. S 36/37 means putting on suitable protective clothing and gloves.S 38 means insufficient ventilation and wearing respiratory equipment.
SECTION 3: COMPOSITION/INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS.
This section involves the composition of the ingredients for the substance. For example, if the substance is INDUSTRIAL THINNER, It consists of Xylene and Ethylbenzene in different percentages.
- A brief explanation of the three ISO management systems every health and safety officer should know.
- Toolbox talk on equipment maintenance.
- Tips on writing a great minute during a safety meeting.
SECTION 4: FIRST AID MEASURES.
This section involves the description of the first aid measures. And It details the things to do when a person has hazardous substance exposure.
For example, in the case of Industrial THINNER, The first aid measures are
- Seek medical attention
- Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
- If there is an unconscious casualty, put the casualty in a recovery position and seek medical advice.
- Other things like what to do during inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact with the substance. And the symptoms to see when such is happening. For example, INDUSTRIAL THINNERS may cause nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting during ingestion.
SECTION 5: FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES
This section explains the measures in place when the substance catches fire. For instance, if the hazardous product is INDUSTRIAL THINNER (XYLENE). The options are to use alcohol-resistant foam, Co2 powder, or water spray as an extinguishing media.
Then there could be some special hazards arising from the burning substance. Dense black smoke from the burning chemical may cause a health hazard. Also, the use of appropriate breathing apparatus is required.
Still, under fire fighting measures, the firefighters have a part encouraging them on what to do during the fire emergencies, do not allow runoff from the fire to enter the drain or water sources.
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SECTION 6: ACCIDENTAL RELEASE MEASURES
This section will help explain things to do when we have accidental releases of the substance. And these are listed below.
- The environmental precaution; for example, do not allow the substance to enter the drain or watercourses.
- The containment and cleanup methods for the hazardous chemical; Clean up methods like using a non-combustible absorbent material such as sand. Or use of detergent.
SECTION 7: HANDLING AND STORAGE.
This section contains the precautions to follow for the safe handling of the substance. And for manual handling operations of the hazardous chemical. Getting the weight of any chemical will be by multiplying the pack size volume of that substance in litres with the specific gravity. The figure will determine if you can lift it manually.
- The conditions for storage, according to DSEAR- dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres regulation.
SECTION 8 : EXPOSURE CONTROL / PERSONAL PROTECTION.
This section contains the workplace exposure limit of the substance for an individual. It has the controls to be in use during exposure to the substance. Safety controls such as eye google, hand glove, coverall etc. And also the hygiene measures such as do not smoke near this area.
SECTION 9: PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES.
The physical and chemical properties of the substance will come in here. The physical and chemical properties include the appearance, colour, melting point, viscosity etc.
SECTION 10: STABILITY AND REACTIVITY.
The information about the substance’s chemical stability, incompatible materials and reactivity are seen here.
SECTION 11: TOXICOLOGY INFORMATION.
Information on the toxicological aspect of the substance is in this section. And what happens during inhalation and ingestion. Equally, you can know the effects of the chemical when it takes any of the routes of entry into the body.
For example, for a substance called Industrial Thinner, When there is eye contact, it can result in irritation, redness of the eye and pain. And the medical conditions are headache, dizziness etc.
SECTION 12: ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION.
This section will tell you the effect of the substance when it enters the environment and what to do to prevent harm. For example, the product should not enter the drain. And the Substance degradability means whether it can be degradable under anaerobic conditions.
SECTION 13: DISPOSAL CONSIDERATIONS.
Disposal considerations can be on waste treatment methods such as the substance can be disposed of under the environmental regulations.
SECTION 14: TRANSPORT INFORMATION.
You can find the information on the transportation of the substance like the transport labels, transport hazard class, environmental hazard, UN number, and UN proper shipping name in this section.
SECTION 15: REGULATORY INFORMATION.
Regulatory information about the substance is in this section. Basically, on safety, health, and environmental regulations and legislations, Chemical safety assessment and EC regulation.
SECTION 16: OTHER INFORMATION.
This section is the last section bearing other necessary information not seen previously.
A safety data sheet is an all-time document for everyone handling a substance in and off the workplace to be familiar with it.
The safety data sheet gives information on substance hazard control, handling, and safe substance use. Not being acquainted with it may lead to a costly mistake during substance handling.
Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.