The Safety Data Sheet, or SDS, plays an important role in hazard communication. It’s a source of information about product hazards and advice on safety precautions. GHS has outlined criteria for the content and organization of Safety Data Sheets, which ensures that this information is clearly presented to the end user, and ultimately is easier to find in the event of an emergency.
The first change made by GHS is to the name: Material Safety Data Sheets, or MSDS, which are what these documents have been known as, are now referred to as Safety Data Sheets, or SDS.
Second, GHS requires that content in Safety Data Sheets follow a specific format. All manufacturers of chemicals around the world need to follow this format, making it easier to find hazard information and creating a safer working environment for people using chemicals. Safety Data Sheets still contain the same information that the MSDS contained, it is just reorganized in a specific order. The required order of SDS sections is listed below.
1. Product & supplier identification
2. Hazard identification
3. Composition/information on ingredients
4. First-aid measures
5. Fire-fighting measures
6. Accidental release measures
7. Handling and storage
8. Exposure controls/personal protection
9. Physical and chemical properties
10. Stability and reactivity
11. Toxicological information
12. Ecological information
13. Disposal considerations
14. Transport information
15. Regulatory information
16. Other information
The only section of the SDS with major changes is Section 2: Hazard Identification. This section contains the specific wording required by GHS, including hazard and precautionary statements, the signal word, hazard classes, and hazard pictograms. The information in Section 2 of a product’s SDS is identical to the information found on the label, providing a second resource for safe handling of the product.