Safety data sheets are standardized informational guides providing important details about classified hazardous chemicals and harmful substances. When these sheets are created so they can be conveniently printed out by SDS software and easily distributed, they must contain some specific information as mandated by OSHA. Whether a company generates this data itself or works with SDS services to create appropriate SDS documentation, the information provided plays an important role in promoting workplace and environmental health and safety.
Understanding the Purpose of SDS
For companies to understand the scope of the information required on safety data sheets, it is essential to understand their purpose. The purpose of these sheets is to provide specific information about certain chemical products that relay to those industrial users the extent of hazard a chemical may be and the types of injuries or physical harm it can cause. OSHA has developed important safety regulations regarding the handling of such identified chemical substances, including how to handle spills and exposures. Businesses that use hazardous chemicals in various applications use safety data sheets as a basis for employee education about the potential risks they face and develop appropriate safety protocols to prevent injuries caused by hazardous chemical products.
Critical Information That Every SDS Must Provide
When creating an official SDS that will be distributed via SDS software, it is critical that those who are responsible for SDS services follow the standardized document format used by OSHA. This format ensures that all information deemed essential to understanding a chemical and the potential hazard it presents is provided on one easily referenced sheet. SDSs must be generated to include sixteen specific points of information that list necessary details on chemical makeup, typical uses, known health and physical hazards, and how to react to a spill or an exposure in various ways.
Required information includes such specifics as chemical classification, regulatory information and hazard identification, ingredients, properties and reactivity, toxicology, proper use and storage, and safe transportation methods. They must also include information about first aid treatment after exposure, fire fighting techniques, environmental spill cleanup measures, and personal protection measures.
OSHA’s New Safety Data Sheets
In 2012, OSHA adopted the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of chemical classification and handling and has been adjusting its policies and regulations since then. As such, the various MSDS used by the organization have been modified and standardized to the SDSs used by the GHS as represented by the sixteen section information sheet. Although these documents provide basically the same information, the new SDS is more detailed, presenting information in a single, standardized format for easier usage. Companies were required to replace old MSDS sheets kept onsite and make safety data sheets (SDS) available to employees by June 1, 2016.
Safety data sheets are an essential resource for all companies working with substances classified as hazardous chemicals. When generating these documents, SDS services must comply with the standardized format to ensure the accurate and required information is provided. With the use of SDS software to manage and print such sheets, these documents provide critical information on chemical properties and behavior, how to safely handle them, and what should be done to protect against exposure and the injuries that can result.