Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

The safety data sheet or SDS (The GHS dropped the word “material” from material safety data sheet in its final revisions) is specifically aimed at use in the workplace. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users to communicate information on these hazards It should provide comprehensive information about the chemical product that allows employers and workers to obtain concise, relevant and accurate information in perspective to the hazards, uses and risk management of the chemical product in the workplace. While there were some differences in existing industry recommendations and country specific requirements, there was agreement on a 16 section SDS to include the following headings in the order specified:

  • Identification
  • Hazard(s) identification
  • Composition/ information on ingredients
  • First-aid measures
  • Fire-fighting measures
  • Accidental release measures
  • Handling and storage
  • Exposure control/ personal protection
  • Physical and chemical properties
  • Chemical stability and reactivity
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological information
  • Disposal considerations
  • Transport information
  • Regulatory information
  • Other information

The primary difference between the GHS and the international industry recommendations is that sections 2 and 3 have been reversed in order. The GHS SDS headings, sequence and content are similar to the ISO, European Union and ANSI MSDS/SDS requirements. The SDS should provide a clear description of the data used to identify the hazards. A table comparing the content and format of a MSDS/SDS versus the GHS SDS is provided in Appendix A of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) GHS guidance.