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A Material Safety Data Sheet is a document that contains information on how to use, handle and store a product. It also contains potential hazards related to the product, health effects of exposure to the product, measures to protect the users from the risk of exposure and emergency procedures.  MSDS should be easy-to-read, written in a clear, precise and understandable manner.

All controlled products, that is, products that meet the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) criteria, should have an up-to-date, less than three years old, MSDS. In case new significant information becomes available before the end of the three years, the manufacturer or the supplier should update the product label and the MSDS. If no new information will be available by the end of the three years, the manufacturer or the supplier should revise the MSDS where necessary and also revise the preparation date.

Content in Material Safety Data Sheet:

  • Product information: This section includes the name of the product, the manufacturer’s name and their contacts, chemical name, family and formula.
  • Hazardous ingredients: Any chemical added to the product and the amount of concentration are explained in this section.
  • Preparation information:In this section, the following information is included: the manufacturing date of the product, the expiring date (it should not be more than three years from the manufacturing date), the name and contacts of the person or company that prepared the MSDS.
  • Physical dataThis includes the appearance of the product, its state (that is, solid, liquid or gas), the odour, its physical behavior or reaction when stored in various places, spilled and how it reacts to other products. It is also includes its pressure, density, melting point and boiling point.
  • Reactivity dataThis section explains the stability of the product and its reaction with heat, light or moisture. It also includes how to store the product based on its reactivity.
  • Fire or explosion hazard data:In this section, the following is explained; the temperature and condition that can cause the chemical to explode or catch fire, the personal protective equipment required for firefighting and the type of extinguisher to be used.
  • Toxicological propertiesThis section describes; how the product is likely to enter the body and the harmful effects of exposure, the exposure limits, short-term and long-term health effects from exposure to the product.
  • Preventive measuresThis includes instructions on safe use of the product, handling and storage of the product, personal protective equipment required when handling the product and information on disposal of the product.
  • First aid measuresThis section explains the first aid measures on exposure to the product.

Storage of MSDS

MSDS can be in form of a hardcopy or as a softcopy in computers. It should be readily available and the employees should know how to access it and how to use it.

How to use a MSDS

Match the name of the chemical on the container of the product with the one in the MSDS. Understand the safe use, safe handling and storage of the product. Also understand the hazards, first aid measures and emergency response.

Responsibilities of an employer to the MSDS

  1. To ensure there is up-to-date MSDS anytime a new controlled product is brought in the workplace.
  2. Maintain up-to-date MSDS.
  3. Make copies of the MSDS or to ensure they are readily availableto employees.
  4. To train the employees on how to use and follow the MSDS.

Responsibilities of an employee

  1. To follow instructions trained by the employer on safety measures as indicated in the MSDS.
  2. Should know where the MSDS is located and how to find information on safety use and first aid measures.


1)      Wikipedia. 2018. Material Safety Data Sheet

2)     WHMIS. 2006. Material Safety Data Sheet.

Home > Radiation Protection and Quality Assurance > Environmental Protection > MSDS

Home > Radiation Protection and Quality Assurance > Environmental Protection > MSDS

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