Safety Data Sheet

Last updated: April 13, 2022

What Does Safety Data Sheet Mean?

A safety data sheet (SDS) is a document prepared by chemical manufacturers and provided with their products. Each SDS includes critical safety information for its product, such as its physical and chemical properties, storage requirements, and what type of PPE to wear when using it.

Safety data sheets were originally known as material safety data sheets (MSDS) until 2012 when OSHA adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

Safeopedia Explains Safety Data Sheet

The purpose of a safety data sheet is to act as a quick reference for how to safely store, handle, and transport a chemical product. Safety data sheets can be obtained from the manufacturer or downloaded from the manufacturer's website. SDS are widely available and easy to locate online.

Sections of the SDS

Every SDS has the following 16 sections:

  1. Identification
  2. Hazard(s) identification
  3. Composition / information on ingredients
  4. First aid measures
  5. Firefighting measures
  6. Accidental release measures
  7. Handling and storage
  8. Exposure control / personal protection
  9. Physical and chemical properties
  10. Chemical stability and reactivity
  11. Toxicological information
  12. Ecological information
  13. Disposal considerations
  14. Transport information
  15. Regulatory information
  16. Other information

Disseminating Safety Information

It is important for employers to keep an SDS on hand for every chemical product on site. However, simply having a printed copy of each filed away in a binder makes this critical safety information too inaccessible.

Best practices for making safety data sheets more accessible include:

  • Store copies of each relevant SDS at workstations where chemical products will be used
  • Make a digital database of your safety data sheets available to all workers
  • Remind workers to consult the SDS for products they handle or store, especially if they will be using the chemical differently than they normally do or in different conditions
  • Highlight key information from the SDS during toolbox talks and safety meetings


MSDS Sheets

Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet

Material Safety Data Sheet


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