SDS Guidance

Safety Data Sheets, or SDS, are intended to protect public health and the environment by providing critical information on chemical products that may be extremely hazardous if mishandled. With the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, all SDS must now comply under a globally standardized set of requirements. This ensures that countries around the world provide comprehensive and consistent information on the transportation and use of potentially dangerous chemical substances or mixtures.

The following annex authored by the United Nations in 2017 provides the specific requirements needed to prepare an SDS in accordance with the GHS. Use of the “Guidance on the Preparation of Safety Data Sheets (SDS)” should support compliance with competent authority requirements. The document includes the General Guidance for compiling an SDS, including scope and application, as well as General Guidance on writing the SDS. This includes making sure to list all potential health hazards and safe-handling requirements, taking note of who the intended audience the SDS is written for to ensure it addresses the specific needs of the user, and stating all information with clarity and concision. The annex also covers the strict formatting specifications that include 16 required headings or sections and detailed instructions on the required content of each section.

The 16 Sections of an SDS are as follows:

Section 1, Identification: Includes all chemical product identifiers, supplier, manufacturer or distributor name and detailed contact information, recommended use, and restrictions on use, and emergency contact phone number.

Section 2, Hazard identification: Includes exact classification of the chemical substance, all hazards, and required GHS label elements including precautionary statements and pictograms.

Section 3, Composition/information on Ingredients: Includes all information on chemical ingredients and information on complex substances. If applicable, the Confidential Business Information rules take priority and confidential information about the chemical product may be omitted.

Section 4, First-aid measures: Includes advice on first-aid measures and symptoms and effects of exposure to chemical (acute and delayed) and indication of need for immediate medical attention.

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures: Includes the requirements for extinguishing a fire caused by the chemical substance and specific hazards arising from chemical fire.

Section 6, Accidental release measures: Includes the emergency procedures needed to respond to spills or leaks of chemical product, environmental precautions, and proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7, Handling and storage: Includes guidelines for safe handling practices of chemical substance and safe storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection: Includes “occupational exposure limits” of workplace, specific protection and prevention measures, and how to minimize exposure and risk.

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties: Provides details on each property of the chemical material.

Section 10, Stability and reactivity: Provides all details in regards to chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11, Toxicological information: Primary used by medical, and health and safety professionals, this section includes all toxological health effects and all available data to support the information.

Section 12, Ecological information: Includes the evaluation of the environmental impact of the chemical substance on the environment, if released.

Section 13, Disposal considerations: Provides information on proper disposal of chemical substance including specific precautions.

Section 14, Transport information: Includes all classification information for the transporting or shipment of the chemical product.

Section 15, Regulatory information: Includes any additional regulatory information not found elsewhere in the SDS.

Section 16, Other information: Includes the date of preparation or last revision, a key to all abbreviations or acronyms, and sources for data used to gather information for the SDS

Knowing the health and safety risks your chemical product poses to the general public and environment, the process of compiling all the necessary information needed to create an accurate SDS, writing and formatting the SDS itself, all while making sure each detail is compliant with the most current GHS requirements can seem overwhelming. MSDS is proud to offer SDS consultation, analysis, and creation services to a wide variety of industries. With over 27 years of experience, we are ready to offer your company the SDS solutions that will meet all OSHA, GHS, WHMIS, and worldwide SDS/MSDS compliance needs, as well as protect your trade secret ingredients. We also offer free revisions and updates for 6 months. Request a quote today to learn more about the SDS services we can offer your company.