A safety data sheet (SDS), material safety data sheet (MSDS), or
product safety data sheet (PSDS) is an important component of product
stewardship, occupational safety and health, and spill-handling
procedures. SDS formats can vary from source to source within a
country depending on national requirements.
SDSs are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals,
chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. SDS information may include
instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a
particular material or product. The SDS should be available for
reference in the area where the chemicals are being stored or in use.
There is also a duty to properly label substances on the basis of
physico-chemical, health or environmental risk. Labels can include
hazard symbols such as the European Union standard symbols.
A SDS for a substance is not primarily intended for use by the general
consumer, focusing instead on the hazards of working with the material
in an occupational setting.
It is important to use an SDS specific to both country and supplier,
as the same product (e.g. paints sold under identical brand names by
the same company) can have different formulations in different
countries. The formulation and hazard of a product using a generic
name may vary between manufacturers in the same country.
1 Globally Harmonized System
2 National and international requirements
2.2 European Union
2.4 South Africa
2.5 The Netherlands
2.6 United Kingdom
2.7 United Nations
2.8 United States
3 SDS authoring
4 See also
6 External links
Globally Harmonized System
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of
Chemicals contains a standard specification for safety data sheets.
The SDS follows a 16 section format which is internationally agreed
and for substances especially, the SDS should be followed with an
Annex which contains the exposure scenarios of this particular
substance. The 16 sections are:
SECTION 1: Identification of the substance/mixture and of the
1.1. Product identifier
1.2. Relevant identified uses of the substance or mixture and uses
1.3. Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet
1.4. Emergency telephone number
SECTION 2: Hazards identification
2.1. Classification of the substance or mixture
2.2. Label elements
2.3. Other hazards
SECTION 3: Composition/information on ingredients
SECTION 4: First aid measures
4.1. Description of first aid measures
4.2. Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed
4.3. Indication of any immediate medical attention and special
SECTION 5: Firefighting measures
5.1. Extinguishing media
Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture
5.3. Advice for firefighters
SECTION 6: Accidental release measure
6.1. Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency
6.2. Environmental precautions
6.3. Methods and material for containment and cleaning up
6.4. Reference to other sections
SECTION 7: Handling and storage
7.1. Precautions for safe handling
7.2. Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities
7.3. Specific end use(s)
SECTION 8: Exposure controls/personal protection
8.1. Control parameters
8.2. Exposure controls
SECTION 9: Physical and chemical properties
9.1. Information on basic physical and chemical properties
9.2. Other information
SECTION 10: Stability and reactivity
10.3. Possibility of hazardous reactions
10.4. Conditions to avoid
10.5. Incompatible materials
10.6. Hazardous decomposition products
SECTION 11: Toxicological information
11.1. Information on toxicological effects
SECTION 12: Ecological information
12.2. Persistence and degradability
12.3. Bioaccumulative potential
12.4. Mobility in soil
12.5. Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
12.6. Other adverse effects
SECTION 13: Disposal considerations
13.1. Waste treatment methods
SECTION 14: Transport information
14.1. UN number
14.2. UN proper shipping name
14.3. Transport hazard class(es)
14.4. Packing group
14.5. Environmental hazards
Special precautions for user
14.7. Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the
SECTION 15: Regulatory information
15.1. Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation
specific for the substance or mixture
Chemical safety assessment
SECTION 16: Other information
National and international requirements
In Canada, the program known as the Workplace Hazardous Materials
Information System (WHMIS) establishes the requirements for SDSs in
workplaces and is administered federally by Health
Canada under the
Hazardous Products Act, Part II, and the Controlled Products
Safety data sheets have been made an integral part of the system of
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH). The original requirements of
REACH for SDSs have been further adapted to take into account the
rules for safety data sheets of the Global Harmonised System (GHS)
and the implementation of other elements of the GHS into EU
legislation that were introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008
(CLP) via an update to Annex II of REACH.
The SDS must be supplied in an official language of the Member
State(s) where the substance or mixture is placed on the market,
unless the Member State(s) concerned provide(s) otherwise (Article
31(5) of REACH).
European Chemicals Agency
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a guidance document
on the compilation of safety data sheets.
The German Federal Water Management Act requires that substances be
evaluated for negative influence on the physical, chemical or
biological characteristics of water. These are classified into numeric
water hazard classes (WGK or WHC, depending on whether you use the
German or English abbreviation).
WGK nwg: Non-water polluting substance
WGK 1: Slightly water polluting substance
WGK 2: Water polluting substance
WGK 3: Highly water polluting substance
This section contributes to a better understanding of the regulations
governing SDS within the South African framework. As regulations may
change, it is the responsibility of the reader to verify the validity
of the regulations mentioned in text.
As globalisation increased and countries engaged in cross-border
trade, the quantity of hazardous material crossing international
borders amplified. Realising the detrimental effects of hazardous
United Nations established a committee of experts
specialising in the transportation of hazardous goods. The
committee provides best practises governing the conveyance of
hazardous materials and goods for land including road and railway; air
as well as sea transportation. These best practises are constantly
updated to remain current and relevant.
There are various other international bodies who provide greater
detail and guidance for specific modes of transportation such as the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) by means of the
International Maritime Code and the International Civil Aviation
Organisation (ICAO) via the Technical Instructions for the safe
transport of dangerous goods by air as well as the International
Air Transport Association (IATA) who provides regulations for the
transport of dangerous goods.
These guidelines prescribed by the international authorities are
applicable to the South African land, sea and air transportation of
hazardous materials and goods. In addition to these rules and
regulations to International best practice,
South Africa has also
implemented common laws which are laws based on custom and practise.
Common laws are a vital part of maintaining public order and forms the
basis of case laws. Case laws, using the principles of common law are
interpretations and decisions of statutes made by courts. Acts of
parliament are determinations and regulations by parliament which form
the foundation of statutory law. Statutory laws are published in the
government gazette or on the official website. Lastly, subordinate
legislation are the bylaws issued by local authorities and authorised
Statutory law gives effect to the Occupational Health and Safety Act
of 1993 and the National Road Traffic Act of 1996. The Occupational
Health and Safety Act details the necessary provisions for the safe
handling and storage of hazardous materials and goods whilst the
transport act details with the necessary provisions for the
transportation of the hazardous goods.
Relevant South African legislation includes the Occupational Health
and Safety Act of 1993, the National Road Traffic Act of 1996,
and the Standards Act of 2008.
There has been selective incorporation of aspects of the Globally
Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
into South African legislation. At each point of the chemical value
chain, there is a responsibility to manage chemicals in a safe and
responsible manner. SDS is therefore required by law. A SDS is
included in the requirements of Occupational Health and Safety Act,
1993 (Act No.85 of 1993) Regulation 1179 dated 25 August 1995.
The categories of information supplied in the SDS are listed in SANS
11014:2010; dangerous goods standards – Classification and
information. SANS 11014:2010 supersedes the first edition SANS
11014-1:1994 and is an identical implementation of ISO 11014:2009.
According to SANS 11014:2010:
Dutch Safety Data Sheets are well known as veiligheidsinformatieblad
nl:Veiligheidsinformatieblad or Chemiekaarten. This is a collection of
Safety Data Sheets of the most widely used chemicals. The
Chemiekaarten boek is commercially available, but also made available
through educational institutes, such as the web site offered by the
university of Groningen
In the U.K., the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for
Supply) Regulations 2002 - known as CHIP Regulations - impose duties
upon suppliers, and importers into the EU, of hazardous materials.
NOTE: Safety data sheets (SDS) are no longer covered by the CHIP
regulations. The laws that require a SDS to be provided have been
transferred to the European REACH Regulations.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
govern the use of hazardous substances in the workplace in the UK and
specifically require an assessment of the use of a substance.
Regulation 12 requires that an employer provides employees with
information, instruction and training for people exposed to hazardous
substances. This duty would be very nearly impossible without the data
sheet as a starting point. It is important for employers therefore to
insist on receiving a data sheet from a supplier of a substance.
The duty to supply information is not confined to informing only
business users of products. SDSs for retail products sold by large DIY
shops are usually obtainable on those companies' web sites.
Web sites of manufacturers and large suppliers do not always include
them even if the information is obtainable from retailers but written
or telephone requests for paper copies will usually be responded to
United Nations (UN) defines certain details used in SDSs such as
the UN numbers used to identify some hazardous materials in a standard
form while in international transit....
In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
requires that SDSs be readily available to all employees for
potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the
Hazard Communication regulation. The SDS is also required to be made
available to local fire departments and local and state emergency
planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and
Community Right-to-Know Act. The American
Chemical Society defines
Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CAS numbers) which
provide a unique number for each chemical and are also used
internationally in SDSs.
Reviews of material safety data sheets by the U.S.
Chemical Safety and
Hazard Investigation Board have detected dangerous deficiencies.
The board’s Combustible Dust Hazard Study analyzed 140 data sheets
of substances capable of producing combustible dusts. None of the
SDSs contained all the information the board said was needed to work
with the material safely, and 41 percent failed to even mention that
the substance was combustible.
As part of its study of an explosion and fire that destroyed the
Barton Solvents facility in Valley Center, Kansas, in 2007, the safety
board reviewed 62 material safety data sheets for commonly used
nonconductive flammable liquids. As in the combustible dust study, the
board found all the data sheets inadequate.
In 2012, the US adopted the 16 section Safety Data Sheet to replace
Material Safety Data Sheets. This became effective on December 1,
2013. These new Safety Data Sheets comply with the Globally Harmonized
System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). By June 1,
2015, employers were required to have their workplace labeling and
hazard communication programs updated as necessary – including all
MSDSs replaced with SDS-formatted documents.
Many companies offer the service of collecting, or writing and
revising, data sheets to ensure they are up to date and available for
their subscribers or users. Some jurisdictions impose an explicit duty
of care that each SDS be regularly updated, usually every three to
five years. However, when new information becomes
available, the SDS must be revised without delay.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of
Chemical Safety Card
Data collection system
MSDSonline (requires subscription)
Risk and Safety Statements
Health and Safety Executive (UK)
^ "Transport - Transport - UNECE". Unece.org. Retrieved 22 December
^ "Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets". U.S.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved
^ "Guidance - ECHA". Guidance.echa.europa.eu. Retrieved 22 December
^ "EUR-Lex - Einfache Suche". Web.archive.org. 29 October 2013.
Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December
2017. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
^ Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a
European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing
Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No
1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission
Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396,
30.12.2006, corrected version in OJ L136, 29.5.2007, p.3).
^ "GHS (Rev.3) (2009) - Transport - UNECE". Unece.org. Retrieved 22
^ Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging
of substances and mixtures amending and repealing Directives
67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006
(OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p.1)
^ Commission Regulation (EU) No 453/2010 of 20 May 2010 amending
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the
Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction
of Chemicals (REACH) (O.J. L133 31.05.2010, p1-43)
^ Janelle, Donald G; Beuthe, Michel (1997). "
research issues in transportation" (PDF). Journal of Transport
Geography. Elsevier Science Ltd. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
^ Dangerous Goods Digest - The Orange Book of Southern Africa.
Foresight Publications. 2015.
^ "About IMO". Imo.org. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
^ "Annex 18". Icao.int. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
^ "Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)".
Acts.co.za. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
^ "National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996)". Acts.co.za.
^ "Standards Act, 2008 (Act No. 8 of 2008)". Acts.co.za. Retrieved
^ "SABS - ABOUT SABS OVERVIEW". Sabs.co.za. Retrieved
^ "Health and safety laws update July 2015". Sheqafrica.com. Retrieved
^ "ICSDS, Source of all your needs on GHS SDS for an affordable fee".
Icsds.com. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
^ "The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply)
Regulations 2002". Opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
^ "Redirect to...
Chemical classification". Hse.gov.uk. Retrieved 22
^ "Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)". Hse.gov.uk.
Retrieved 22 December 2017.
Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Investigation
Report, Combustible Dust Hazard Study, Report No. 2006-H-1" (PDF).
Csb.gov. November 2006. pp. 38, 88–95. Retrieved 22 December
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
^ "GHS Overview - SafeTec". Safetec.net. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
European Chemicals Agency
European Chemicals Agency (2013). Guidance in a Nutshell -
Compilation of safety data sheets (REACH Regulation). Version 1.0. p.
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