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Hazardous Chemical Substances

As an OHS Online user, I understand that Material Safety Data Sheets are important. What is a Material Safety Data Sheet?

A Material Safety Data Sheet is more commonly called an MSDS sheet. Every chemical has its own MSDS sheet. It is basically an identity document for the chemical, providing details of its chemical nature and explaining its dangers. It provides guidance on the safe handling of the chemical, its safe storage, its safe disposal and what to do in the event of an emergency involving the chemical. This makes it a very important document to retain, when it comes to using a chemical safely.

Most MSDS sheets follow a common format for explaining and providing details about the chemical. In general, the MSDS sheet will consist of approximately sixteen (16) sections, following the approximate format, given below:

It is the responsibility of any chemical manufacturer to create an MSDS sheet for every chemical it produces. Often, a chemical's MSDS can be located on the web. In cases where the MSDS cannot be found, contact the manufacturer directly and you should be able to obtain an MSDS sheet directly from them.

One last note to make about MSDS sheets. Changes are currently underway to change the names of MSDS sheets to SDS sheets; SDS meaning Safety Data Sheets. This is part of the move to have chemicals identified internationally under a common standard, forming part of the new Global Harmonisation System (GHS).