Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

safety data sheet book

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are documents that describe the physical and health hazards of chemicals or chemical-containing products and must be readily accessible to employees during all work shifts when these products are present in the work environment.

SDSs can be printed, indexed, and stored in binders. The index must be updated whenever a chemical product is added to or deleted from the inventory. The file should be checked annually to verify that all SDSs are present and legible.

Workers must be trained and able to demonstrate that they can successfully obtain an SDS.

What is the difference between an MSDS and an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is generated following the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. The SDS format is new and replaces the MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) format.

What should I do if I get an SDS with a chemical product shipment?

If you get an SDS in your packaging, read it, and then add the SDS to the department chemical inventory.

Do I need to keep a paper copy of an SDS or access them electronically? 

Currently, you need to maintain a paper copy; having an SDS immediately available can be crucial during a chemical exposure incident. 

How to read an SDS

Always read an SDS before working with any chemical. You will learn important information on how to work safely with the chemical: the hazards (health and physical), how to protect yourself from exposure (controls and PPE), signs and symptoms of exposure, proper handling and storage, and more. Familiarize yourself with the format; Every SDS has a standardized 16-section format as part of the 2012 Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

This format is required of all chemical manufacturers in the United States and many countries worldwide. A short description of each section can be found here.