When are GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Required?

In the GHS system most of the focus is put on creating simple labels that include easy to understand pictograms so that people know what hazards are present at just a glance. This is important so that people from around the world will recognize the hazards and be able to respond quickly. While this is essential, there are also times when companies will need additional information about the chemicals. For this information, the company would turn to the Safety Data Sheet, or SDS.

What is in the Safety Data Sheet?

Safety Data Sheets were formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) by OSHA, but they have since adopted the SDS name and standards. As of June 1st, 2015, companies had to include SDS whenever manufacturing, distributing, or importing hazardous chemicals. This is required by OSHA now, but is also part of the GHS system that should be followed by all companies around the world.

The SDS need to be formatted properly and include the proper information. There are many sections that need to be filled out to help readers get a firm grasp on the specific chemicals that it is for. Each SDS should include information about identifying the chemical, its hazard identification, the composition or ingredients in the chemical, first-aid measure, instructions for fire-fighting, what to do if there is an accidental release, and more.

Creating a SDS

When learning about Safety Data Sheets it can seem overwhelming since there is so much information that must be included. Fortunately, however, the information is specific to each chemical, which actually makes it very easy to create SDSs. Unless a facility is creating brand new chemicals, the chances are that there will be an existing SDS that can simply be downloaded and printed off to send with the chemicals. Most facilities have SDSs for all the chemicals they use available to use whenever they are needed.


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