What are Safety Data Sheets?

13th January 2016

A safety data sheet (SDS), also known as a material safety data sheet (MSDS) or a product safety data sheet (PSDS), describes the hazards that a particular chemical substance can present. It also provides key information on how to correctly handle and store a particular substance as well as detailing emergency measures to be taken in the event of an accident e.g. first aid measures, fire-fighting measures and accidental release measures.

In the U.K., Regulation 12 of COSHH regulations requires that an employer provides information, instruction and training for employees exposed to hazardous substances. It would be virtually impossible for employers to comply with this regulation, ensuring safe chemical storage and handling, without the presence of data sheets. It is therefore imperative that employers ensure that they always receive a material safety data sheet from a supplier of a substance. The MSDS should be available for reference in the area where the chemicals are being stored or in use. At Safety Storage Systems, we fit waterproof MSDS Holders on the external walls of our chemical stores to ensure that a MSDS is available for reference where the chemicals are being stored.

 

What do I do if the SDS is misplaced or does not come with the substance?

If you purchase a chemical product that is classified as ‘dangerous to supply’, it should come with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Lost or misplaced a Safety Data Sheet? Contact the supplier/manufacturer of the substance for a replacement SDS. In the event that you cannot source the SDS direct from the supplier, rest assured that there are several excellent SDS resources online including MSDS.com, MSDsOnline.com and MSDSXchange.com where you can search for the MSDS for your substance and discover appropriate chemical handling and chemical storage guidelines.

 

A supplier must supply a safety data sheet if:

They supply a substance classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Substances Directive 67/548/EEC or Dangerous Preparations Directive,1999/45/EC or a substance classified as hazardous under the CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008.

  1. They supply a substance that is considered persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT), or very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvB) as defined in Annex XIII of REACH.
  2. They supply a substance that features in the European Chemicals Agency’s ‘Candidate List’ of substances of very high concern.
  3. A customer requests a SDS for a mixture of substances that is not classified as dangerous under Directive 1999/45/EC, but contains either a substance posing human health or environmental hazards in an individual concentration of ≥ 1 % by weight for solid or liquid mixtures or ≥ 0.2 % by volume for gaseous mixtures.
  4. A customer requests a SDS for a mixture that contains a substance that is PBT or vPvB in an individual concentration of ≥ 0.1 % by weight for solid or liquid mixtures.
  5. A customer requests a SDS for a substance on the ECA ‘Candidate List’ of substances of very high concern in an individual concentration of ≥ 0.1 % by weight or a substance for which there are Europe-wide workplace exposure limits.
  6. Substances are supplied to EU countries other than the UK where national workplace exposure limit values The SDS should be supplied in an official language of the E.U. member state(s) where the substance or mixture is placed on the market.
  7. They supply a substance listed as a ‘special case’ in paragraph 1.3 of Annex 1 of the CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 for which there are labelling errors/confusions. e.g. a container just labelled a gas cylinder but could contain propane gas, butane gas or other gas.

For more information about chemical safety and chemical storage, browse through the Safety Storage Systems blog.

 

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