Authoring Your Safety Data Sheet (SDS): What it Includes and How to Create One

Posted by Royal Chemical - 09 September, 2019

Do all these terms confuse you?

  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?
  • Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)?
  • Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)?
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

Not sure where to start with ensuring your custom blended chemicals meet all international regulation standards?

Royal Chemical is dedicated to helping all of our customers through the chemical manufacturing process from start to finish. While our expertise is in chemical blending and mixing, our team ensures that clients are provided with all of the knowledge and assets to make sure that the final product meets all regulations, including guiding customers through creating a compliant Safety Data Sheet. Royal Chemical partners with Infotrac to guide our customers through the SDS authoring process.

What is a Safety Data Sheet?

Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formally known as Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is a document that provides information related to the occupational health and safety for the use of chemicals and substances to workers in an occupational setting. The document includes the properties of the chemical, physical, health and environmental hazards of the chemical, protective and safety measures to take when handling the chemical as well as storage and transporting precautions. An SDS provides additional information the chemical such as personal protective equipment (PPE) that a user may need to wear, first aid procedures if there is an incident and spill clean-up procedures.

Who Uses an SDS?

Employers are required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to have SDS accessible to all employees who handle hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Facilities that use chemicals must obtain a SDS that is specific to each chemical that is used by employees. Employers may provide a SDS in whatever way is most convenient as long as employees have immediate access to the information without having to leave the work area and a backup is available for quick access in case of an emergency. Anytime a chemical is transported, the driver and possibly HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) would require a SDS to know the hazards of the product being transported. In addition to those who use chemicals in the workplace, consumers may want to see if there are hazards involved with a product they are purchasing, whether that be for home improvement or automotive mechanical work.

What Needs to be Included in a Safety Data Sheet?

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) has created a standard specification for safety data sheets. All SDSs must follow a 16-section format that has been internationally agreed upon. The 16 sections are:

  1. Identification – Identifies the chemical and it’s recommended uses.
  2. Hazard Identification – Identifies the hazards of the chemical in the SDS.
  3. Composition/Information on Ingredients – Identifies what ingredients the product contains. This section includes information on substances, mixtures and trade secret compounds  or mixtures. 
  4. First Aid - Describes the care that should be given to an individual who has been exposed to the chemical.
  5. Fire-Fighting Measures – Provides recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical
  6. Accidental Release Measure – Details the appropriate response to spills, leaks or releases. This includes containment and cleanup practices to prevent or minimize exposure to people, property or the environment
  7. Handling and Storage – Provides safe handling and storage practices for the chemical.
  8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection – Details exposure limits, engineering controls and protective measures that should be taken to minimize exposure.
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties – Identifies physical and chemical properties of the product
  10. Stability and Reactivity – Describes the reactivity hazards and stability information of the chemical
  11. Toxicological Information – Details the toxicological and health effects information of the chemical
  12. Ecological – Provides information on the environmental impact of the chemical
  13. Disposal Considerations – Provides information of proper disposal, recycling and reclamation practices for the chemical
  14. Transportation Information – Details classification information regarding shipping and transporting of hazardous chemicals.
  15. Regulatory Information – Identifies additional health, safety and environmental regulations for the chemical not detailed elsewhere in the SDS.
  16. Other Information – Indicates when the SDS was created and when the last known revision was made.

What Types of Products Require a Safety Data Sheet?

Safety Data Sheets should be obtained for each hazardous chemical that is produced, transported, stored, imported, or used in the workplace. Some examples of products that you would need an SDS for would typically include paints, cleaners, solvents, sealants, lubricants, compressed gasses, fuels, etc.

Don't Forget Your Label!

In addition to a compliant SDS, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS) requires a specific label for chemical products.

SDS Blog Graphic 2 - Revised

The six elements that are required on a GHS compliant label are:

  1. Product Identifier – How the chemical is identified and must match what is listed on the SDS
  2. Signal Word – A single word used to indicate the severity of the potential hazard a chemical has
  3. Hazard Statements – A phrase that describes the nature of the specific hazard a product presents. Form more information on Hazardous Materials for DOT, please contact Infotrac
  4. Precautionary Statements – A phase describing the action that should be taken to prevent adverse effects from exposure or improper handling of the chemical
  5. Supplier Identification – Name, Address and Phone Number of the manufacturer or supplier of the chemical
  6. Pictograms – OSHA designated and used to communicate the effects of the chemical

Need Help Getting Started?

Royal Chemical understands that creating a SDS can be a daunting task. We partner with Infotrac to help guide our clients. As an emergency response company, they understand the importance of an accurate safety data sheet. Their SDS specialists can work with you to turn your chemical data into a compliant SDS.

SDS Information Request Sheet

Royal Chemical recommends Infotrac as a preferred SDS Authoring Specialist. Contact Infotrac today for more information or to get a quote!


Topics: Customization, Trust