What is an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is used by chemical manufacturers and importers to convey both the physical hazards (pH, flashpoint, flammability, etc.) and the health hazards (carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, etc.) of their chemicals to the end user.

SDSs are a critical component of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)). This standard mandates that workers have a right to know what hazards are associated with the chemicals they use in the workplace. Both manufacturers of chemicals and employers with chemicals in their workplace, must be in compliance with this regulation as it is the most often cited violation by OSHA, with fines of more than $70,000 per violation per instance.

The OSHA SDS format has the following required categories that must be on every SDS:

Section 1, Identification;

Section 2, Hazard(s) identification;

Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients;

Section 4, First-aid measures;

Section 5, Fire-fighting measures;

Section 6, Accidental release measures;

Section 7, Handling and storage;

Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection;

Section 9, Physical and chemical properties;

Section 10, Stability and reactivity;

Section 11, Toxicological information.

Note 1: To be consistent with the GHS, an SDS must also include the following headings in this order:

Section 12, Ecological information;

Section 13, Disposal considerations;

Section 14, Transport information; and

Section 15, Regulatory information.

Note 2: OSHA will not be enforcing information requirements in sections 12 through 15, as these areas are not under its jurisdiction.

Section 16, Other information, including date of preparation or last revision.

For the full text of OSHA's SDS requirements, click here.