When Is an SDS Required? How to Know You Need an SDS
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is required for any supplier, distributor, or manufacturer of hazardous chemicals. They contain information to help you understand and handle chemicals properly and what to do in case of an accident or spill.
This article looks at SDS requirements, how to know you need one, and tips on storing and updating an SDS. But first, let’s dive into what an SDS is and its components.
What Is an SDS?
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) explicitly outlines a hazardous product’s physical and chemical properties, potential associated risks when handling, storing, and transporting it, and instructions for safe use.
According to OSHA, an SDS should be properly authored in 16 sections. The SDS should detail the chemical identity of the product, its health and environmental effects, firefighting and first aid measures, leaks response measures, disposal considerations, and other relevant information for the user.
What Is the Content of an SDS?
An SDS should be concise, accessible, and usable, following a standardized format regulated by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.
Let’s look at the format you should follow when preparing an SDS:
- Identification: This section identifies the product and the manufacturer or supplier responsible for providing the SDS sheet.
- Hazard(s) identification: This section describes the hazards associated with the product and identifies the appropriate warning labels.
- Composition/Information on Ingredients: This section lists the chemical name and concentration of all ingredients in the product.
- First-aid measures: This section provides information on how to treat someone exposed to the product.
- Fire-fighting measures: This section provides information on how to fight fires that involve the product.
- Accidental release measures: This section describes the steps to take if the product is spilled or released into the environment.
- Handling and storage: This section provides information on safely handling and storing the product.
- Exposure controls/personal protection: This section provides information on protecting yourself from exposure to the product.
- Physical and chemical properties: This section provides information on the physical and chemical properties of the product.
- Stability and reactivity: This section provides information on the product’s stability and reactivity.
- Toxicological information: This section provides information on the toxicological properties of the product.
- Ecological information: This section provides information on the product’s environmental impact.
- Disposal considerations: This section provides information on how to dispose of the product safely.
- Transport information: This section provides information on safely transporting the product.
- Regulatory information: This section provides information on the regulatory requirements related to the product.
- Other information: This section provides any additional relevant information about the product that wasn’t covered in the previous sections.
How to Know You Need an SDS
First, you need to know the regulations for why an SDS is required to determine if you need one. Here are the regulatory requirements:
- OSHA requires all manufacturers, distributors, and importers who handle hazardous materials to obtain an SDS.
- Laboratories, stores, and institutions that use chemicals need SDS specific to each chemical in the facility.
- Industry standards for chemical labeling require an up-to-date SDS for hazardous chemical products.
Who Is Required to Have an SDS?
Anyone who falls under the following criteria needs an SDS at hand;
- Every employer, worker, or visitor on a site with a hazardous chemical must have an updated copy of the SDS. These sheets must be kept in easily accessible places to guide handlers in case of an accidental spill or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- Manufacturers notify users of their products’ chemical properties and how to safely handle, store, and transport them with an SDS. The manufacturer’s warehouse should also have copies of the SDS for those producing the hazardous elements.
- Importers and distributors need an SDS to know what they are handling and how to deal with the risks of moving the chemicals from the manufacturers to the final user.
When Do You Need an SDS?
You need an SDS for certain hazardous compounds and situations with potential risks. Here are some scenarios when you may need an SDS:
- The chemical product you are handling is highly dangerous and toxic.
- You are handling a hazardous chemical known to cause severe health risks like cancer or congenital disabilities to those in close contact.
- The substance in play is highly flammable and explosive in its natural element or under normal conditions of use. For instance, propane is highly combustible when it mixes with air.
- Your facility had stored gallons of hazardous chemicals that pose severe health risks when ingested or inhaled over time, for example, by regular workers at a manufacturing plant.
Tips for Storing and Updating an SDS
Safety Data Sheets can be hard to keep track of, especially in a busy manufacturing plant or business. The following hacks should help you maintain an updated and easily accessible SDS;
- You can store SDS electronically or manually as paper copies.
- Centralize the storage. Keep the different Safety Data Sheets for the various products you handle in a central cabinet to ensure workers in different shifts can access them promptly.
- Keep a tracking system. Ensure there is a system to track incoming and outgoing products’ Safety Data Sheets and update all necessary changes.
- Regular review. Ensure the Safety Data Sheets of various chemical compounds are reviewed annually to keep tabs on how the product changes. Keep an updated risk profile of hazardous chemical compounds.
OSHA requires Safety Data Sheets for handling hazardous chemicals and imposes fines for violating the SDS provisions. The SDS format is easy to navigate and guides users on the potential outcomes of handling the product.
Let ROI Safety Services help you with all your SDS obligations and compliance requirements. Our experienced staff is ready to guide you through filling out an SDS. Call us today at (714) 520-1608.