Originally published 11/28/2017
Most employees on construction sites are already familiar with Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). SDSs are prepared by the chemical manufacturer and are designed to provide workers and emergency responders with proper procedures for handling or working with hazardous chemicals. If an SDS does not arrive with a shipment of chemicals or products, contact the salesperson or manufacturer for a copy before using the product.
SDSs should be available for immediate use in case there is an accident involving a chemical, and every employee working with chemicals or hazardous materials should know where the SDS binder is located on the site. Remember, when an SDS provides limited or vague information about a chemical, do NOT assume the chemical is not hazardous.
Safety Data Sheets have 16 sections, which should appear in the following order:
- Section 1: Identifies the product and the manufacturer.
- Section 2: Lists hazard classification, signal word, hazard statements, precautionary statements and pictograms that appear on the container label.
- Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients.
- Section 4: First-aid measures.
- Section 5: Fire-fighting measures.
- Section 6: Identifies how to handle spills, leaks or accidental release of the chemical, as well as containment and cleanup practices.
- Section 7: Handling and storage.
- Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection.
- Section 9: Physical and chemical properties of the product.
- Section 10: Stability and reactivity of the product.
- Section 11: Explains the health effects, if any, of over-exposure to the chemical.
- Section 12: Ecological information.
- Section 13: Disposal considerations.
- Section 14: Transport information.
- Section 15: Regulatory information.
- Section 16: Other information.
Supervisors should regularly gather employees and review the SDSs for commonly-used products. Discuss how to:
- Fight a fire involving the chemical,
- Administer first aid if chemical exposure occurs,
- Notify emergency services,
- Clean up a spill, and
- Determine proper PPE
If you work with chemicals and hazardous materials and don’t know where the Safety Data Sheets are on your jobsite, ask a supervisor.