MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet
What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program. It also contains information on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to the hazards of the material. The MSDS contains much more information about the material than the label. MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material. It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur.
What information is on the MSDS?
There are nine (9) categories of information that must be present on an MSDS. These categories are specified in the Controlled Products Regulations and include:
Product Information: product identifier (name), manufacturer and suppliers names, addresses, and emergency phone numbers
Fire or Explosion Hazard Data
Reactivity Data: information on the chemical instability of a product and the substances it may react with
Toxicological Properties: health effects
First Aid Measures
Preparation Information: who is responsible for preparation and date of preparation of MSDS
The Controlled Products Regulations prescribes what information must be present in more detail.
Why is my MSDS so hard to understand?
Traditionally the intended readers of MSDSs were occupational hygienists and safety professionals. Now the audience also includes employers, workers, supervisors, nurses, doctors, emergency responders and workers. To ensure that MSDS users can quickly find the information that they need, the information should be in an easy-to-read format and written in a clear, precise and understandable manner.
For most people who work with controlled products, there are some sections that are more important than others. You should always read the name of the chemical, know the hazards, understand safe handling and storage instructions, as well as understand what to do in an emergency
When would I use an MSDS?<
Always be familiar with the hazards of a product BEFORE you start using it. You should look at a MSDS, match the name of the chemical on your container to the one on the MSDS, know the hazards, understand safe handling and storage instructions, as well as understand what to do in an emergency.
The material safety data sheet contains several sections
which contain specific categories of product information. Each MSDS includes the following sections usually in this standard order.
Section 1 – Product Information.
Identifies the product by trade name or product number; the same one which will appear on the product container allowing you to match up the product label with the MSDS. Also included is the manufacturer’s name and address and an emergency telephone number.
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