Safety data sheets can be very long and confusing to read. As an employer or safety manager, this can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. What should you do when you receive an SDS? We’re here to let you know exactly how to begin!
When you receive a safety data sheet, you should first review it to ensure it is compliant with the regulations and procedures you have on site.
The following should initially be reviewed:
- Check that it has 16 sections.
- Verify the language is correct for your market. Is it clear and accurate?
- Check that it is dated and any revision date and/or details of revisions are provided.
- You must file the documents (new and archived versions) and maintain a record of all safety data sheets. It can be a hard copy or via digital means.
- Ensure the details on the chemical product’s label are exactly as given in sections 1 and 2 of the SDS.
- The onus is on the employer/chemical user/company to contact the supplier and request an updated version if not satisfied with the information provided.
- Make sure all safety data sheets are easily accessible by employees and that they understand them to make safe decisions.
- It is also good practice to regularly check the safety data sheets to ensure the most accurate and up to date version is easily accessible.
Once all of these areas have been checked, it’s time to focus on key information within the safety data sheet. The most important sections that should be prioritized are Section 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 13. The SDS information taken from these sections will help you develop chemical risk assessment measures, decide what PPE and resources to have on site, create emergency policy in relation to chemical safety, and much more.
Section 2: Hazard identification
* Read and understand all hazards this chemical product could pose to your employees.
* Communicate these hazards to your teams.
* Put policies, procedures, and controls in place to protect employees from these potential hazards.
* Create chemical risk assessments based on this chemical product and its potential hazards.
* Implement the proper controls to mitigate risks and hazards.
Section 4: First aid measures
* Read and understand the first aid measures which may be required if an exposure event occurs.
* Communicate these measures to employees.
* Develop emergency procedures based on these first aid measures.
* Create and implement employee training, so they are aware of what to do during an exposure event.
* Make sure you have the resources needed to help in such scenarios, like eye-wash stations, proper ventilation, etc.
Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
* Read and understand all accidental release measures.
* Develop emergency response procedures, (which complement the above first aid measures) so employees know what to do in this event.
* Ensure all resources mentioned are found on site.
* Get any protective clothing mentioned and supply them to your teams.
* Communicate these measures to your teams.
Section 7: Handling and storage
* Read and understand the handling and storage instructions.
* Follow the storage instructions to maintain the consistency of each chemical product.
* Develop training policies and procedures based on the handling recommendations.
* Communicate all handling and storage requirements to your teams.
Section 8: Exposure controls and personal protection
* Read and understand all exposure controls and personal protection recommendations.
* Implement the necessary controls on site to help protect your employees from harm.
* Communicate these controls to your teams and develop training so they are aware of how to make sure all proper elements are in place.
* Resource all personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended.
* Provide training on how to properly use and maintain PPE.
Section 10: Stability and reactivity
* Read and understand the stability and reactivity information.
* Communicate these elements to your teams so they are aware of adverse conditions to avoid.
* Develop training to ensure employees know how to use this chemical product and what to do if it becomes reactive.
* Make sure all resources needed to handle a reactive event are found on site.
Section 13: Disposal considerations
* Read and understand all disposal considerations.
* Develop employee training and procedures based on these disposal considerations.
* Ensure all resources needed for disposal are found on site.
* Resource any PPE needed for safe disposal of this chemical product.
* Communicate these considerations to your teams.
EcoOnline’s SDS management module within our Chemical Manager solution can help simplify your SDS management processes and extract key information needed with the help of our Safety Protection Sheets. These sheets, created for you with the help of our software, contain the most important parts of the SDS like chemical product names, hazards posed, and how to carefully handle and use such substances. Our experts can also help source the most up to date safety data sheets and distribute them to your teams to make sure you’re always compliant.
We have kept over 600,000 employees safe in over 70 industries around the world. Find out more about how we can help protect your people .