Safety Data Sheets

Popular questions and misconceptions.

Following is some information that seems to cause no end of confusion.  Hopefully we can help clear up some of the myths about Safety Data Sheets.

1. With the introduction of GHS classification and labelling of workplace chemicals in 2009 we saw Safety Data Sheets (SDS) replace Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) as at 01 January 2017 under a United Nations Agreement.
2. An SDS is a WORKPLACE document, used for the storage and use of hazardous chemicals in our work environment.
3. An SDS is NOT required for transport under any transport legislation or regulations.  It must be provided if someone requests one, but it is not a mandatory transport document. In fact most regulations do not even mention them.
4. Just because a chemical has an SDS it DOES NOT necessarily mean it is a dangerous good.  Section 14 of the SDS and the properties of the chemical determine if it is a restricted dangerous good for transport.  The proportion/concentration of the ingredients can also mean it is not restricted as they do not cause damage or harm in that concentration.
5. NOT ALL dangerous goods will have an SDS.  Some items such as Infectious Substances, Radioactive Materials and some miscellaneous articles (e.g. fire extinguishers, refrigerators, vehicles, machinery and batteries) are not required to have an SDS.
6. An SDS under international standards is required to be reviewed every 5 YEARS.  It is impractical and cost restrictive to require chemicals to be retested and reviewed in periods less than this.
7. Is it dangerous or hazardous?  They actually have two different meanings when talking about transport.  In general terms: Hazardous = long term effects or a large quantity required to harm or damage, Dangerous = immediate danger if spilt or released and only a small(ish) amount needed to harm or damage.

Want to know more, have a look at the Australian standards that are based on the ISO standards (Click the little person to the left or the link):  

(Disclaimer: The information above has been simplified to help with general understanding)


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