An MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheet, is a document that provides information about a specific chemical or substance. These documents are required to be stored in any facility where the chemical is used. The purpose of MSDS is to provide specific information related to the chemical so that those who need to know about it can find it quickly and easily. There is an MSDS for all known hazardous chemicals and substances that are commonly used, and they can be accessed online and printed off if needed.
Who Needs the MSDS?
There are two main groups of people who will need access to the MSDS. The first is all emergency responders in the event of a problem. If a chemical is spilled, for example, the emergency responders will want to know key information about the chemical so they can respond properly. An MSDS will tell them what the hazards of the chemical are, and how they should clean it up to keep everyone safe.
The other group that will want to access these sheets are the employees themselves. OSHA has made it clear that employees have the legal right to be informed of any hazards that are present in the workplace which includes mandating the use of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Keeping employees informed of these dangers will help ensure they treat the chemicals or solutions properly to avoid harm to themselves or others. It will also allow them to understand what personal protection equipment they should be using so they can demand that the company provide it for them.
Where to Keep MSDS
Many facilities that use potentially dangerous chemicals are quite large, so it isn’t always obvious where the best place to keep one of these safety data sheets. A common mistake is thinking that they need to be kept near the locations within the facility that the chemicals are being used. In reality, however, it is best to keep them in a central location that can be easily accessed by those who need them. Companies that have multiple MSDS’s will also want to keep them all together in one place for easier accessibility.
Additional MSDS facts:
- The purpose of MSDS is to provide specific information related to the chemical or product, such as its identity, hazards, composition, safe handling, storage, disposal, and emergency procedures. MSDSs are intended to inform and protect workers and the environment from potential exposure and harm. Source: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/1995-01-25-0
- MSDSs are required by various regulations and standards around the world, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) in Canada, and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) internationally. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_data_sheet
- MSDSs follow a 16-section format that is internationally agreed and standardized by the GHS. The sections include identification, hazards, composition, first aid, firefighting, accidental release, handling, storage, exposure, physical, stability, toxicology, ecological, disposal, transport, and regulatory information. Source: https://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/chemical/safety-data-sheets-sdss
- MSDSs are not primarily intended for use by the general consumer, but rather for the occupational setting where the chemical or product is used. However, consumers can also access MSDSs online or by contacting the manufacturer or supplier if they want to learn more about the substances and products they use. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_data_sheet
- MSDSs are dynamic documents that need to be updated whenever there is new or revised information about the chemical or product, such as changes in its formulation, hazards, or regulations. MSDSs should also be reviewed periodically to ensure their accuracy and completeness. Source: https://www.hseblog.com/material-safety-data-sheet-msds/
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