Obtaining Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

A GHS compliant SDS and all other relevant information should be obtained from your chemical supplier prior to the purchase of any chemicals. If a non-compliant SDS is received, the chemical supplier should be notified immediately and required to provide the necessary documentation. Every SDS should be reviewed by properly trained staff to ensure that they contain all the information required. A GHS compliant SDS should be maintained for every chemical in use at your facility.

The following documents summarize the required sections and information for SDS, and can be provided to chemical suppliers if needed :

Descriptions of SDS Sections and Content

Annex 4 of the GHS (Rev.6) (2015)

Maintaining SDS Documentation

Proper internal SDS management procedures will ensure that appropriate and up-to-date chemical information is available at your facility. The following good practices should be exercised as part of your SDS documentation management program:

  • Keep designated staff in charge of managing and updating SDS documentation
    • i.e. filing hard and/or soft copies, distributing SDS to relevant departments
  • Ensure that employees operating in procurement and the receiving areas where SDS are likely to enter the facility understand how to properly process newly-received SDS
  • When a new SDS is received, there should be procedures in place to compare it to the previous versions, make notes/records of any changes and update related training information
  • Procedures should be in place to archive old SDS versions and to maintain SDS for chemicals that are no longer in use

Where to keep your SDS

SDS for all chemicals stored and used on-site must be readily available to all workers. This can be accomplished in several ways. An example of a good practice is to post SDS or maintain them in a binder in each work area. When choosing where to keep your SDS, consideration should be given to providing quick and easy access to this information should it be required. Another good practice is to maintain a centralized SDS library where copies of all SDS are maintained.

Simplified SDS

Simplified SDS (Click Image to Enlarge)

Complete chemical SDS contain highly detailed information that may be difficult for most employees to understand. Another good practice is to create simplified information sheets for chemicals that present information in an easy to understand manner. These should be written in the local language(s) of the workers, be posted wherever chemicals are stored or used, and provide simplified information regarding:

  • The chemical hazards
  • Controls (i.e. safety working practices and PPE)
  • Appropriate emergency response (i.e. first aid and spills response)

Relevant Higg Index Facility Environment Module (FEM) 3.0 indicators:

Chemicals Management – Level 1: Question 2

SDS Resources

U.S. OSHA Brief on Safety Data Sheets

UK REACH Leaflet – Safety Data Sheets

Scivera Lens Rapid Screen

3E Company SDS Solutions

International Labour Organization: Chemical Safety Cards

Chemical Safety Cards: Chinese

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