Safety is the second best policy next to honesty. Success and growth in business are also dependent on the ability of employers to provide a safe working environment. Commercial establishments, especially those who are handling or manufacturing dangerous materials or chemicals, provide MSDS to workers to keep them safe.
What is a Material Safety Data Sheet? It is a data sheet containing information about hazardous and dangerous substances or materials. These Data Sheets also contain information on how to safely handle these materials and substances.
For example, you can find information about a substance’s inflammability, toxicity, proper disposal, prescribed emergency actions or spill response in a material data sheet. However, not every product or chemical has a corresponding material data sheet information because not all of them are hazardous or dangerous.
Labeling of product containers
Proper labeling of products and chemicals is also essential in keeping a disaster-free working environment. To classify products and chemicals as hazardous or dangerous, it is important that they are properly labeled. As mentioned earlier, only those products which are classified as hazardous or dangerous have a corresponding information on this kind of data sheet.
Laws related to Material Safety Data Sheets
The welfare of workers are protected by the law since employers are mandated to provide material data sheets to them. Some federal or state laws even provide what these data sheets must contain.
In the United States, they have the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which require material data sheets to be readily accessible to occupational workers who are exposed to dangerous and hazardous chemicals. The rules and regulations implementing the 1970 OSHA and other laws related to it also provide what information must be included in the material data sheet.
In Canada, they have the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Its legal foundation is the “Hazardous Product Act”. Hazardous products and chemicals are classified according to WHMIS. WHMIS also contain information about proper labelling of product containers, required contents of material data sheets, and worker education programs.
Europe has the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals or REACH system. The system regulates and controls the use of dangerous products and substances in the European market. Suppliers of hazardous substances are required to provide material data sheets either before or during the first delivery of the hazardous substance or product.
Annex II of REACH contains details about the required contents of the material data sheets. Packaging, labeling and classification of products are also governed by the REACH system. Material Data Sheets provided by manufacturers and suppliers in Europe must also be updated in case one of the circumstances stated under the REACH system occurs.
The REACH system also features the “extended safety data sheet” or eSDS. The eSDS provide information on how the substances were made or manufactured. Risk management measures and operational conditions are also contained in the eSDS. The eSDS is required only in case of substances or products classified as hazardous AND are delivered or sold in quantities that are more than 10 tonnes annually.
Material Safety Data Sheets are essential in keeping a healthy and safe working environment. The welfare and security of the workers must always be the paramount consideration because they get the job done. Businesses and commercial establishments will surely collapse without them.