Safety Data Sheets - SDS

Most of you are probably familiar with Material Safety Data Sheets, called MSDS’s, as these document shave been around for almost 30 years. However, MSDS’s for products from various manufacturers and importers often look very different, which sometimes makes it very difficult to find specific safety and health related information about the hazards of a product. So, OSHA recently revised their hazard communication standard to require manufacturers and importers of hazardous products to replace their old MSDS’s with new GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets, also known as an SDS, and in turn employers must make them available to their workers.

What to look for on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS):

  • Section 1: Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributer name, address, phone number, emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use
  • Section 2: Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.
  • Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims
  • Section 4: First-Aid measures includes important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment
  • Section 5: Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire
  • Section 6: Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup
  • Section 7: Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities
  • Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)’ Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Section 9: Physical and chemical properties lists them chemical’s characteristics
  • Section 10: Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions
  • Section 11: Toxicology information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity
  • Section 12: Ecological information provides information to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) if it were released to the environment
  • Section 13: Disposal considerations provide guidance on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, safe handling practices
  • Section 14: Transport information this section provides guidance or classification information for shipping and transporting hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail or sea
  • Section 15: Regulatory information this section identifies safety, health, and environmental regulations specific for the product that is not indicated anywhere else on the SDS
  • Section 16: Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision. Other useful information also may be included here.

In restrictive or confined spaces life a roadway work zone, it is important for employees to understand the hazards of materials with which they work. The new SDS format relays well-organized information about a material’s hazard so that workers can protect themselves. For example, paying crews may use liquid cleanup and release agents that require the use of specified gloves or other protective gear. Even when the hazards of paving materials are well recognized, the SDS also provides needed information such as first aid considerations for overexposure to materials like hot asphalts.