Safety Data Sheets
environmental health & safety
Please note: In 2013 the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted global standards in documenting health and safety information for chemicals. The new information sheet is the SAFETY DATA SHEET (SDS). For the purposes of chemical users, the MSDS and SDS are equivalent.
In accordance with OSHA requirements 29 CFR.1910.120 and 1910.1450 an SDS must be readily available during each work shift to employees when they are in their work areas.
An SDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical. It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product in a set format. Information included in an SDS aids in the selection of safe products, personal protective equipment and spill control measures.
Some laboratories may on occasion synthesize or develop new chemical substances. If the composition of the substance is known and will be shared with other researchers, the laboratory worker must label the substance and create a Safety Data Sheet, determining and disclosing, to the best of his/her abilities, its hazardous properties (e.g., corrosive, flammable, reactive, toxic, etc.).
This can often be done by comparing the structure of the new substance with the structure of similar materials with known hazardous properties. If the chemical produced is of unknown composition, it must be assumed to be hazardous, and appropriate precautions taken including labeling and hazard warnings.
If you create new compounds that you are going to be sharing with another laboratory for use or analysis, contact EHS to learn the requirements for creating an SDS for your chemical.