A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provides basic information on a certain material or chemical product. A MSDS describes the properties and potential hazards of the material, how to use it safely, and what to do if an emergency occurs.
The MSDS is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety procedure for the material. MSDSs are prepared by the manufacturer or supplier of the material. MSDS will include information about specific chemicals, breaking down all physical + environmental hazards, proper safe handling, safe storage, transportation of the chemical and more! With this being said, certain MSDS's can be lengthly based on the complexity and severity of the chemical.
There are 16 sections found within an MSDS:
1. Product and Company Identification: This outlines the chemical, the intended use and the contact information of the supplier.
2. Hazards Identification: This describes the potential hazards and health effects of the chemical as well as the necessary warning information
3. Composition, Information on Ingredients: Lists the ingredients of the product, including any impurities or stabilizing additives.
4. First Aid Measures: This describes actions to be taken immediately in case you are accidentally exposed to the material. The purpose of first aid is to minimize injuries.
5. Fire Fighting Measures: Provides recommendations for fighting fire hazards caused by the chemical and to plan the best response to a fire for a particular work site.
6. Accidental Release Measures: General instructions for responding to an accidental release or cleaning up a spill are provided in this section.
7. Handling and Storage: Outlines the safe handling practices and conditions for proper/safe storage of chemical(s).
8. Exposure, Controls and Personal Protection: Lists all chemical exposure limits, provides information which is used to develop procedures for working safely with the chemical.
9. Physical and Chemical Properties: identifies physical and chemical properties and can be used to help determine the conditions under which the material may be hazardous.
10. Stability and Reactivity: Describes any conditions under which the material is unstable or can react dangerously and conditions that should be avoided.
11. Toxicological Information: Identifies toxicological and health effects information along with the ingredients of the product or the product as a whole.
12. Ecological Information: Explains the environmental impact of a chemical(s) if released to the environment (toxicity to fish, birds, plants etc).
13. Disposal Considerations: Provides guidance on proper disposal, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container.
14. Transport Information: Intended for those responsible for shipping the material (road, rail, sea, air). If there are special precautions necessary during shipment, they will be provided.
15. Regulatory Information:Identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific to the product.
16. Other Information:Provides supplementary information that is considered important for the safe use of the material (e.g. label text, hazard ratings) along with the revision date.