Work-related injuries and accidents cost businesses over $170 billion a year.
One important aspect of safety is material data sheets. Since their creation, they have helped create a safer work environment and enhanced safety management.
What makes a good data sheet, and what information should be on one? Let’s break it down by section and take a closer look.
This section is always first, and it details what the substance is. It should have the chemical name, but also any common nicknames or other names for it. This makes it easy to know what you’re working with and helps to prevent misuse.
2. Hazard Identification
With all chemicals and substances, inherent dangers exist in their use. This section will help identify and speak to those dangers. There should also be pictograms showing the severity of danger, such as a skull and crossbones if the substance is poisonous.
The third section on the safety data sheet has to show what is in the chemical. It gives the name of all components as well as their exact mixture amount. The only exception to this is if a trade secret has been claimed by the creators of the substance.
4. First Aid
Even with proper safety training, exposure to a harmful chemical can occur. This section details what steps should happen if accidental exposure or injury occurs. This data can help inform someone how to help themselves or help coworkers do the same.
5. Fire Fighting
For those chemicals and substances that present a fire hazard, this section details how to fight a fire caused by the chemical. This piece of safety information can prevent a larger accident or disaster. It will contain specific steps on how to extinguish a fire involving the chemical.
6. Accidental Release
In the case of corrosive and dangerous chemicals, accidental release can be dangerous. This section will detail how a worker can mitigate or prevent injury or accident if the chemical is released. It will also cover methods and equipment necessary for containment.
7. Handling and Storage
This section will detail any specifics that go into the handling and storage of a chemical. It will offer advice on how to prevent accidental release as well as basic practices. This can mean not smoking around a chemical, ventilation requirements, and other essential data.
8. Exposure Control/ Personal Protection
This area covers exposure limits, what controls need to be in place, and what protective equipment should be. If there are any special requirements for protective equipment, such as glove material or respirator type. This will be in this section.
9. Physical Properties
This area will go into great detail about the specific properties of the substance in question. It will cover boiling point, melting point, pH level, and a lot more. This section is full of dense information that is important for those who handle this chemical to understand.
10. Stability and Reactivity
This section will go into greater detail about the stability of a chemical and the hazards associated with it. It will cover how reactive a substance is and what it reacts with. This section is important for workplace safety, especially when more than one chemical is together.
11. Toxicological Information
This section covers the potential dangers of a chemical if it goes into the human body. This covers how the substance will cause injury and describes the symptoms that a person may experience. It will also go into the effects of the chemical over the short and long term.
12. Ecological Information
This section is non-mandatory but covers the dangers a chemical poses to the environment. It will go into detail about how it can impact plant and animal life. It will also discuss the dangers of the chemical being out in the environment and how it could impact human life.
13. Disposal Consideration
A vital part of any safety management system is how to dispose of a chemical. This section will give information that workers should know when disposing of a chemical. Improper disposal can lead to injuries and accidents, but not all chemicals will have this section filled out.
14. Transport Information
This section will give details and advice on how chemical transport should occur. This will cover topics like what container or what precautions should be taken. Like the last couple of sections, this is a non-mandatory section.
15. Regulatory Information
This section will cover the regulations that exist around a substance. It will cover any laws or codes involved with the use, storage, or disposal of the substance in question. This section will also cover any warnings issued by specific agencies and what agencies those are, such as the agencies name and designation.
16. Other Information
This section will cover any extra information that isn’t covered in the other sections. It can also reiterate or restate vital information. Not every chemical or substance will have something in this category, but it offers space in case a piece of information doesn’t fit under any of the other sections.
The Importance of Safety Data Sheets
Having all this information on hand is essential to safety management. Safety data sheet management is also vital, as it keeps this information up to date and on hand for workers. Modern SDS management online can also ensure that everyone has access to this information.
In an emergency or accident scenario having this information can mean the difference between casualties or a quick and easy clean up.
In order to have proper safety management, up to date and accurate data is required. This is why having an online resource for safety data sheets can be a game changer. The information will be kept up to date in case of changes or expanded understanding.
If you need a safety data sheet for your safety management program, contact us. We can help you keep yourself, your workers, and the environment safe and healthy.