Safety Data Sheets are critical to keeping employees informed of the identities and hazards of the chemicals present in their workplace. Specifically, OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of important hazardous chemical information. In addition, this vital information must be available and understandable to workers. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers. Furthermore, they must train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.
An important component of this workplace standard is the nine pictograms. Each pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s). The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification. The pictograms help alert workers of the types of hazards they are dealing with. The pictograms will also enhance worker comprehension. As a result, workers will have better information available on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals.
In addition to the pictograms, the Safety Data Sheets are valuable in communicating information regarding hazardous chemicals in the workplace. These sheets have a specified 16-section format. Sections 1 through 8 contain general information about the chemical, identification, hazards, composition, safe handling practices, and emergency control measures . Therefore this information should be helpful to those that need to get the information quickly. Sections 9 through 11 and 16 contain other technical and scientific information, such as physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity information, toxicological information, exposure control information, and other information including the date of preparation or last revision. The SDS also contains Sections 12 through 15 which include the information required in order to be consistent with the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Specific Sections of Safety Data Sheets:
- Section 1: Identification
- Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification
- Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
- Section 4: First-Aid Measures
- Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
- Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
- Section 7: Handling and Storage
- Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
- Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
- Section10: Stability and Reactivity
- Section 11: Toxicological Information
- Section 12: Ecological Information (non-mandatory)
- Section 13: Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory)
- Section 14: Transport Information (non-mandatory)
- Section 15: Regulatory Information (non-mandatory)
- Section 16: Other Information (This section indicates when the SDS was prepared or when the last known revision was made.)
Employers must ensure that the SDS are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. This is done in a variety of ways. For example, employers may keep the SDS in a binder or on computers as long as the employees have immediate access to the information without leaving their work area when needed. Furthermore, employers may want to designate a person responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDS.
Employers are required to train their employees to recognize the nine GHS Pictograms. Our Safety Data Sheet binders make compliance easy because the SDS binder is printed with the GHS Pictograms. It is designed to allow easy reference for any employee accessing SDS records. The pictograms are printed on the inside of the binder along with the SDS Requirements.