The Hazard Communication Standard requires that all chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each hazardous chemical. The SDS sheets (formerly Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS) are designed to communicate information the product listed on the sheet. The SDS sheets are very similar to MSDS sheets but are required to format in a consistent 16-section format. This makes the experience of reading these sheets easier on the user.
The SDS sheets, which employers should have available to all employees, provide information on a variety of different areas including hazards, protective measures, and safety precautions. Sections 1 through 8 contain general information about the product including appearance, hazards, composition, etc. Sections 9 through 11 are more technical. They contain information on physical and chemical properties, stability, toxicological information, exposure control, etc. Sections 12 through 16 are designed to be part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) but OSHA does not enforce these sections.
Below is a basic breakdown of each section and an example of what the section will look like in a completed SDS.
Section 1: Identification
The first section of the SDS sheet identifies the chemical/product and what the recommended uses are and also provides contact information for the supplier. Required information includes:
• Product identifier includes the name used on the label and any other names or synonyms for the product.
• Name, address, phone number the manufacturer, importer, and other responsible parties, and an emergency phone number
• Recommended use of chemical (what the product actually does) and any restrictions on use (these are usually given by the supplier)
Section 2: Hazard Identification
The second section of the SDS identifies and describes the hazards of the product and any warning information associated with the hazard. Required information includes:
• The hazard classification of the product
• Signal word
• Hazard statement(s)
• Pictograms (include link to pictogram page)
• Precautionary statements
• Description of any non-classified hazards
• Mixtures with ingredients with unknown toxicity: A statement detailing how much (percentage) of the mixture consists of ingredients with unknown toxicity
Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
The third section of the new SDS discusses the ingredient(s) in the product and includes impurities and stabilizing additives. This information also includes details on substances, mixtures, and chemicals considered trade secrets**. This section has two sets of required information: one for substances and one of mixtures. Required information for substances includes:
• Chemical name
• Common names and synonyms
• Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number and any other unique identifiers
• Impurities and stabilizing additives
Required information for mixtures includes:
• The same information as substances
• The chemical name and concentration (exact percentages) of all ingredients that are classified as health hazards and
o Are present above cut-off limits or
o Present health risk at levels less than cut-off limit
• The concentration (exact percentages) of each ingredient must be used. Concentration ranges can be used in the following situations:
o A trade-secret
o There is variation from batch to batch
o The SDS is used for a group of similar mixtures
**A statement is required for any chemical that is considered a trade secret. This statement must include the chemical identity and/or exact percentage of the composition that is being withheld.
Section 4: First-Aid Measures
The fourth section of the SDS contains information on initial care that should be given to the person that is exposed to the chemical. These instructions are for the untrained responders. Required information includes:
• Necessary first-aid for all possible exposure (inhalation, skin contact, eye contact, and ingestion)
• Descriptions of the most important symptoms and effects. Also, list out any symptoms that are acute or delayed
• Recommendations for immediate medical care and any special treatment that may be needed.
Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
The fifth section focuses on fire-fighting measure that should be taken when handling a fire caused the by product. Required information includes:
• Recommendations for appropriate extinguishing equipment as well as information on equipment that would not appropriate for a specific situation
• Information on hazards that can develop from the chemical during a fire, such as toxic fumes
• Suggestions for protective equipment or precautions for firefighters
Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
The sixth section of the new SDS sheet provides information on the response needed for spills, leaks, or releases. This includes details on containment and clean-up practices that minimize exposure to people, places, and/or environment. This section will also detail how to distinguish between responses for a large and small spill for when the volume impacts the hazards.
• Personal precautions and protective equipment to prevent contamination with skin, eyes, clothing, etc.
• Emergency procedures including evacuations, when to consult experts, and any needed protective clothing
• Methods and materials needed to contain the spill or leak
• Cleanup procedures including information on any techniques for decontamination, cleaning and any equipment/materials that might be needed
Section 7: Handling and Storage
Section seven offers guidance on the safe handling practices and storage of the products listed on the SDS sheet. Required information includes:
• Precautions for safe-handling including ways to minimize release and proper personal practices around the product (smoking, etc.)
• Details on safe storage, including incompatibilities and specific storage requirements.
Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
The eighth section of the sheet discusses exposure limits, engineering controls, and protective measures that can be taken to minimize exposure to workers. Required information includes:
• OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and any other exposure limit used or recommended including those by the manufacturer, importer, or employer.
• Appropriate engineering controls
• Suggestions for personal protective measure to prevent illness or injury
• Any special requirements for personal protective equipment, protective clothing, or respirators
Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
Section nine identifies physical and chemical properties of the product. Required information includes (when relevant to product):
• Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits
• Vapor pressure
• Odor density
• Relative density
• Melting point/freezing point
• Initial boiling point and boiling range
• Flash point
• Evaporation Rate
• Flammability (solid, gas)
• Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water
• Auto-ignition temperature
• Decomposition temperature
When all items listed above are not relevant, a notation must be made informing the reader. The manufacturer can also add other properties they think are relevant.
Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
The tenth section of new format describes the chemical stability and reactivity hazards of the chemical. This section has three parts: reactivity, chemical stability, and other.
The required information for reactivity includes:
• Description of the specific test data for the chemical. This data can be for the class or family if it gives an adequate representation of the hazards
The required information for chemical stability includes:
• Indication of whether the chemical is stable or unstable under normal conditions while being stored or handled.
• Information on any stabilizers that might be needed to maintain stability of the product
• Information on any safety issues that may occur if the product changes in physical appearance
The required information for other includes:
• Information on the possibility of hazardous reactions, including a statement on whether the chemical will react or polymerize. A description of the conditions under which these hazardous reactions can occur is also needed
• A list of all conditions that should be avoided
• List of all classes of incompatible materials which could cause the chemical to react and produce a hazardous situation
• List of any known hazardous decomposition products that could be produced because the use, storage, or heating of the product.
Section 11: Toxicological Information
The eleventh section of the SDS provides information toxicological and health effects of the product or indicates that the data is not available. Required information includes:
• Information on likely routes of exposure or indication that this information is unknown
• Descriptions of all the effects from short- and long-term exposure (delayed, immediate, or chronic effects)
• Numerical measures of toxicity (the estimated amount of the product that is expected to kill 50% of test animals with a single dose
• Description of symptoms that includes information on symptoms from exposure from the lowest to most severe exposure
• Indication of whether the product is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (latest edition) or has been listed as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs or by OSHA
Section 12: Ecological Information (Non-mandatory)
The twelfth section of the SDS provides details to evaluate the environmental impact of the product if it is released into the environment. The required information includes:
• Data from toxicity tests performed on aquatic and/or terrestrial organisms.
• Information potential for the chemical to persist or degrade the environment through either biodegradation or other processes
• Results from tests run on bioaccumulation potential with reference to the octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) and the bioconcentration factor (BCF) when available
• Information on the potential for the product to move from the soil to groundwater (results from adsorption or leaching studies)
• Other adverse effects
Section 13: Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory)
The thirteenth section of the SDS sheet provides details on the proper disposal practices, recycling, or reclamation of chemicals or its container and safe practices for handling. This section should also refer the reader to section 8 for the SDS to get information on minimize exposure. The required information may include:
• Description of proper disposal containers
• Recommendations for appropriate disposal methods
• Information on the physical and chemical properties that could hinder disposal
• Language discouraging sewage disposal
• Any specific precautions for landfill or incineration activities
Section 14: Transport Information (non-mandatory)
The fourteenth section of the SDS provides classification information for shipping and transporting hazardous products. This includes information shipping by road, air, rail, and sea. The required information may include:
• UN number
• UN proper shipping name
• Transport hazard class(es)
• Packing group number based on degree of hazard (if applicable)
• Environmental hazards
• Information on transport in bulk
• Any necessary special precautions that an employee should be aware or comply win in regards to transport (inside or outside of their premises)
Section 15: Regulatory Information (non-mandatory)
The fifteenth section the SDS explains the safety, health, and environmental regulations for the product but it not listed anywhere else on the sheet. Required information may include:
• Any national and/or regulatory information on the chemical or mixtures. This can include any OSHA, Department of Transportation, Environment Protection Agency, or Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations.
Section 16: Other Information
The final section of the SDS provides the date the SDS was prepared or when it was last revised. It also can state where any changes were made. Any other useful information will also be included in this section.