COMMUNICATION TRAINING MANUAL
Material Safety Data Sheet Information
Labeling & Signage
Chemical Inventory List
Updated January 2008
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS
- Prepared by Chemical Manufacturers or Importers to describe
characteristics of the product and to provide information concerning potential hazards.
Must be readily available for employee review at
all times the employee is in the work place.
WHAT INFORMATION IS ON AN MSDS?
- Company Information
- Hazardous Ingredients
- Physical Data
- Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
- Health Hazard Data
- Reactivity Data
- Spill or Leak Procedures
- Special Protection Information
- Special Precautions
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a detailed
information bulletin prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a chemical that describes
the physical and chemical properties, physical and health hazards, routes of exposure,
precautions for safe handling and use, emergency and first-aid procedures, and control
measures. Information on an MSDS aids in the selection of safe products and helps prepare
employers and employees to respond effectively to daily exposure situations as well as to
The MSDS/s are a comprehensive source of information for
all types of employers. There may be information on the MSDS that is not useful to you or
not important to the safety and health in your particular operation. Concentrate on the
information that is applicable to your situation. Generally, hazard information and
protective measures should be the focus of concern.
Appendix II of the OSHA Hazard Communication Compliance Kit
contains a glossary of terms used on MSDS/s. Some employers who are not very familiar with
chemical terminology may find this helpful in reading and understanding MSDS/s.
Employers must maintain a complete and accurate MSDS for
each hazardous chemical that is used in the facility. They are entitled to obtain this
information automatically upon purchase of the material. When new and significant
information becomes available concerning a product's hazards or ways to protect against
the hazards, chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must add it to their MSDS
within three months and provide it to their customers with the next shipment of the
chemical. Employers must have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical used in the workplace.
If there are multiple suppliers of the same chemical, there is no need to retain multiple
MSDS/s for that chemical.
While MSDS/s are not required to be physically attached to
a shipment, they must accompany or precede the shipment. When the manufacturer/supplier
fails to send an MSDS with a shipment labeled as a hazardous chemical, the employer must
obtain one form the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor as soon as possible.
Similarly, if the MSDS is incomplete or unclear, the employer should contact the
manufacturer or importer to get clarification or obtain missing information. (See Tab H in
the OSHA Compliance Kit for sample letters requesting an MSDS, or for additional
When an employer is unable to obtain an MSDS from a
supplier or manufacturer, he/she should submit a written complaint, with complete
background information, to the nearest OSHA area office. (Although written complaints do
not have to be submitted on an OSHA-7 Form, one is included on p. F-7 of the OSHA
Compliance Kit, and may be reproduced for your convenience.) OSHA will then, at the same
time, call and send a certified letter to the supplier or manufacturer to obtain the
needed information. If the supplier or manufacturer still fails to respond within a
reasonable time, OSHA will inspect the supplier or manufacturer and take appropriate
Sections of an MSDS and Their Significance
OSHA specifies the information to be included on an MSDS,
but does not prescribe the precise format for an MSDS. A non-mandatory MSDS form (see OSHA Form 174) that meets the Hazard Communication Standard
requirements has been issued and can be used as is or expanded as needed. The MSDS must be
in English and must include at least the following information.
Section I. Chemical Identity
- The chemical and common name(s) must be provided for single
- An identity on the MSDS must be cross-referenced to the
identity found on the label.
Section II. Hazardous Ingredients
- For a hazardous chemical mixture that has been tested as a
whole to determine its hazards, the chemical and common names of the ingredients that are
associated with the hazards, and the common name of the mixture must be listed.
- If the chemical is a mixture that has not been tested as a
whole the chemical and common names of all ingredients determined to be health hazards and
comprising 1 percent or greater of the composition must be listed.
- Chemical and common names of carcinogens must be listed if
they are present in the mixture at levels of 0.1 percent or greater.
- All components of a mixture that have been determined to
present a physical hazard must be listed.
- Chemical and common names of all ingredients determined to
be health hazards and comprising less than 1 percent (0.1 percent for carcinogens) of the
mixture must also be listed if they can still exceed an established Permissible Exposure
Limit (PEL) or Threshold Limit Value (TLV) or present a health risk to exposed employees
in these concentrations.
Section III. Physical and Chemical
- The physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous
substance must be listed. These include items such as boiling and freezing points,
density, vapor pressure, specific gravity, solubility, volatility, and the product's
general appearance and odor. These characteristics provide important information for
designing safe and healthful work practices.
Section IV. Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
- The compound's potential for fire an explosion must be
described. Also, the fire hazards of the chemical and the conditions under which it could
ignite or explode must be identified. Recommended extinguishing agents and fire-fighting
methods must be described.
Section V. Reactivity Data
- This section presents information about other chemicals and
substances with which it reacts. Information on any hazardous decomposition products, such
as carbon monoxide, must be included.
Section VI. Health Hazards
- The acute and chronic health hazards of the chemical,
together with signs and symptoms of exposure, must be listed. In addition, any medical
conditions that are aggravated by exposure to the compound, must be included. The specific
types of chemical health hazards defined in the standard include carcinogens, corrosives,
toxins, irritants, sensitizers, mutagens, teratogens, and effects on target organs (i.e.,
liver, kidney, nervous system, blood, lungs, mucous membranes, reproductive system, skin,
- The route of entry section describes the primary pathway by
which the chemical enters the body. There are three principal routes of entry: inhalation,
skin, and ingestion.
- This section of the MSDS supplies the OSHA PEL, the ACGIH
TLV, and other exposure levels used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer.
- If the compound is listed as a carcinogen (cancer-causing
agent) by OSHA, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), or the International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC), this information must be indicated on the MSDS .
Section VII. Precautions for Safe Handling and
- The standard requires the preparer to describe the
precautions for safe handling and use. These include recommended industrial hygiene
practices, precautions to be taken during repair and maintenance of equipment, and
procedures for cleaning up spills and leaks. Some manufacturers also use this section to
include useful information not specifically required by the standard, such as EPA waste
disposal methods and state and local requirements.
Section VIII. Control Measures
- The standard requires the preparer of the MSDS to list any
generally applicable control measures. These include engineering controls, safe handling
procedures, and personal protective equipment. Information is often included on the use of
goggles, gloves, body suits, respirators, and face shields.
Employers must ensure that each employee has a basic
knowledge of how to find information on an MSDS and how to properly made use of that
information. Employers also must ensure the following:
- Complete and accurate MSDS/s are made available during each
work shift to employees when they are in their work areas.
- Information is provided for each hazardous chemical.
Material Safety Data Sheet Checklist
You must ensure that each MSDS contains the following
- Product or chemical identity used on the label.
- Manufacturer's name and address
- Chemical and common names of each hazardous ingredient.
- Name, address, and phone number for hazard and emergency information.
- Preparation or revision date.
- The hazardous chemical's physical and chemical characteristics, such as vapor pressure
and flash point.
- Physical hazards, including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity.
- Known health hazards.
- OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), ACGIH threshold limit value (TLV) or other
- Emergency and first-aid procedures.
- Whether OSHA, NTP or IARC lists the ingredient as a carcinogen.
- Precautions for safe handling and use.
- Control measures such as engineering controls, work practices, hygienic practices or
personal protective equipment required.
- Primary routes of entry.
- Procedures for spills, leaks, and clean-up.
Guide for Reviewing MSDS Completeness
OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38A, Office of Health
29 CFR 1910.1200(g) Material Safety Data Sheets
Note: This is for use as an aid on
inspections. It is NOT a form.
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