What is a Material Safety Data Sheet?A MSDS is a document prepared bythe manufacturer of a hazardous substance.A MSDS describes the properties anduses of a particular hazardous substance.
A MSDS will contain the following details : identity of the substance chemical and physical properties of the substance health hazard information precautions for use and safe handling informationOccupational Health and Safety (Safety Standards) Regulations 1994, regulation 6.05
Why do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet? There are tens of thousands of chemicals used in workplaces, ranging from metal dusts and fumes to cleaning agents. Not all chemicals are alike, some chemicals are necessary to support life, for example amino acids are the building blocks of our bodies. Other chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, a naturally occurring compound, can end life very quickly.
Why do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet? To assess the risks to health that these chemicals may pose we need information on the hazardous nature of the chemical substance. A MSDS is designed to provide this information. Without a MSDS the user could remain ignorant of the hazardous nature of the substance, how it could affect their health or safety and what to do in case of an emergency.
Why do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet? For employers, there is a legal obligation to obtain a MSDS on or before the first supply of the hazardous substance. This MSDS must be made readily available to all persons that use the substance or have reasonable need for requesting the information.
Where does the Material Safety DataSheet come from? The hazardous substance regulations require suppliers of hazardous substances to workplaces to provide a copy of the MSDS. The MSDS should be provided on the first supply of the substance to a workplace or should be available upon request. The manufacturer can be contacted for a copy of the MSDS if one is not available from the supplier.
What if the supplier will not provide aMaterial Safety Data Sheet?There are four reasons why a MSDS is not available for asubstance:1. the substance has been determined not to be hazardous according to the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC) (formerly NOHSC) document Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances2. the substance is old stock, is no longer produced and no MSDS is available3. the substance is a mixture that contains hazardous substance(s) but the proportion is below the cut off limit used to determine whether the mixture is hazardous4. the supplier is not complying with the law.
How do I know what should be on aMaterial Safety Data Sheet?1. company details2. sufficient information to identify the product3. the recommended uses of the product4. the physical and chemical properties5. the ingredients
How do I know what should be on aMaterial Safety Data Sheet?6. health hazard information such as the health effects and first aid procedures7. precautions for use, such as exposure standards, use of personal protective equipment and flammability8. safe handling information, such as storage and transport, dealing with spills and disposal, fire hazard9. the manufacturer’s contact point. National Code of Practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets.
When do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet? It is a minimum mandatory requirement to have a MSDS for a hazardous substance in the workplace. However it is good OHS management practice to have MSDS on all substances being used by employees, not just the designated hazardous substances. Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991
Current OH&S Legislation:From 24 April 2008, the informationprovided in anMSDS must conform with the requirementsof theNational Code of Practice for thePreparation ofMaterial Safety Data Sheets[NOHSC:2011(2003)].The national code isavailable atwww.ascc.gov.au
How can I tell if a Material Safety Data Sheetdoes not conform?1. Must be written in English, translation into other languages is not acceptable2. Must be written in plain English and should not contain abbreviations3. There should be no blank spaces under any headings4. Must be an Australian MSDS, overseas information is not acceptable5. Must not be more than 5 years old6. All pages must be numbered and the total number of pages given eg page 1 of 4 etc7. Must not be marked ‘confidential’ or ‘not to be copied’8. Must show a date of issue in ‘month/year’ format