Officer & Drivers Safety (Lesson 15 of 25)
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
What Is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS’s include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures. These are of particular use if a spill or other accident occurs.
MSDS’s are meant for:
- Employees who may be occupationally exposed to a hazard at work.
- Employers who need to know the proper methods for storage etc.
- Emergency responders such as fire fighters, hazardous material crews, emergency medical technicians, and emergency room personnel.
MSDS’s are not meant for consumers. An MSDS reflects the hazards of working with the material in an occupational fashion. For example, an MSDS for paint is not highly pertinent to someone who uses a can of paint once a year, but is extremely important to someone who does this in a confined space 40 hours a week.
Where Can I Get MSDS’S?
There are several places you can get them:
- Your laboratory or workplace should have a collection of MSDS that came with the hazardous chemicals you have ordered (don’t throw them away!)
- Most universities and businesses have a collection somewhere on site. Check with your Environmental or Occupational Health Office or science librarian. Some organizations use commercial services to obtain printed, FAX or on-line copies of MSDS’s.
- You can get them from the distributor that sold you the material. If you can’t find them then contact the manufacturer’s customer service department