Safety regulations are an integral factor for any business or individual working with chemicals. As such, providing Safety Data Sheets has been a longstanding obligation. And they have been required by manufacturers, distributors, and importers alike.

This ruling is set by the Hazard Communication Standard. And it is used to identify and communicate any dangers derived from working with chemical materials.

Those forms were standardized on June 1, 2015. The modern format involves 16 sections that everyone in the industry must abide. Safety Data Sheets are a necessity and should be readily available to all employers and employees. Here are those headings, along with details regarding the content that should be included:

Section 1: Identification

This includes all the necessary information from name and address to contact details. This section should additionally include details on recommended use and restriction on use. It must also include the product identifier.

Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification

Employers or employees should list all hazards related to the chemical materials. Also includes the required label elements.

Section 3: Composition & Information On Ingredients

This includes data regarding chemical ingredients and trade secret claims.

Section 4: First-Aid Measures

This section of the SDS should list all symptoms and effects, along with necessary treatments. Must include delayed elements as well as immediate issues.

Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures

The appropriate methods and equipment for extinguishing fires. This heading should also note any potential hazards that could be caused by fire.

Section 6: Accidental Release Measures

Under this heading, the SDS should include data on emergency procedures and protective equipment. There should also be data on containment and cleanup.

Section 7: Handling & Storage

This list should include all precautions required for suitable and safe handling and storage. It must also list any incompatibilities.

Section 8: Exposure Controls & Personal Protection

Under this heading, any recommended limits should be noted. This includes Permissible Exposure Limits and Threshold Limit Values. Should also offer data regarding Personal Protective Equipment.

Section 9: Physical & Chemical Properties

This section of the SDS needs to list all necessary data regarding the characteristics of those chemical materials.

Section 10: Stability & Reactivity

The user needs to note chemical stability. Furthermore, they should report any potentially hazardous reactions that could occur with other materials.

Section 11: Toxicological Information

Any adverse effects, including symptoms and avenues of exposure must be listed. This should cover both acute and chronic issues, as well as the measures of toxicity.

Section 12: Ecological Information

Details anything in relation to the ecological impacts. This information is regulated by external sources.

Section 13: Disposal Considerations

Includes clear instructions for suitable chemical disposal. This information is regulated by external sources.

Section 14: Transport Information

Lists data and precautions required for safe transportation of materials. This information is regulated by external sources.

Section 15: Regulatory Information

Covering the legal issues related to the chemicals. This information is regulated by external sources.

Section 16: Other Information

For more information visit the original sorce at OSHA

According to OSHA, safety data sheets (SDS) are only required for hazardous chemicals. These chemicals pose a threat upon exposure to employees in a work environment. OSHA defines a hazardous substance as one which poses a physical or a health hazard, or both.

Employers are often confused as to whether they should have a SDS for a particular item or not. Since a material may be used in different forms, a data sheet may exist. But why waste your time trying to find a safety data sheet you don’t require?

Food and related items

Not all food and additives are exempt from Hazard Communication Standard. It is only exempted for those items which don’t possess a risk for employees handling them in downstream applications.
This includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for retail establishments and food intended for employees’ consumption in a workplace.
However, substances such as flour dust require an SDS.


Packaged cosmetics for sale at retail establishments such as supermarkets and those meant for employee consumption don’t require SDS. However, beauty salons which are using these cosmetics ‘occupationally’ and manufacturing plants should have SDS.


All those items which are formed or designed in a particular shape and this design as whole or part, is responsible for function, will not require an SDS. However, these items must not pose risk to employees.
For instance, copper electrical wire rolls are distributed without SDS, but copper ingots for computer chip manufacturing must have SDS. These evaluations are mostly made on a case-to-case basis.


Drugs regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require SDS, except when in solid form (e.g. tablets) and prepared for direct administration to a patient. It also excludes packaged drugs for sale, for example, over-the-counter medicines.
However, manufacturing facilities and certain pharmacies require SDS for all drugs, including pills and tablets.

Consumer products

Only those products and chemicals are exempted which are used in their workplace, resulting in a time duration and exposure not greater than expected what’s from consumer intended purposes.
For example, use of cleaning products is exempted. However, the facility must show that exposure is not greater than intended purposes. If an employee is responsible for cleaning all day long and exposed to greater times, then SDS and proper training is required.
Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation

If these substances only pose a radiological hazard and no health or physical hazard are exempted.

Biological Hazards

Biohazards such as cell culture and microbes which do not possess a physical or health hazard are exempted from SDS. However, if the possibility of these hazards exist, then an SDS is required.

Office and School Supplies

Office workers who are not exposed to chemicals or any hazardous substances otherwise used in the organization, are not covered under these rules.

Certain office supplies, for example, printer cleaning solvents may pose a threat. Occasional use doesn’t require SDS and training. However, if a person is responsible for this and often use the hazardous substance, then they must be trained and informed.


Nuisance particulates and dusts, wood and lumber, hazardous wastes, tobacco and tobacco products are also exempted if they don’t pose a physical or health hazard.

Have you figured out which substances you need MSDS sheets for in your facility? Then search our online SDS database and add to the material safety data sheet binder.


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