|Posted on October 6, 2018 at 9:40 AM|
I have been involved in HAZMAT response and training for over 10 years and it still amazes me that there is still a lack of awareness in regards to Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Many employees are still not aware of the purpose for these sheets, or what an important role they play during an incident involving chemicals.
Within the last 5 years, the OSHA standards regulating workplace safety revised the Hazard Communications Standards (HCS) in order to realign it with foreign countries who use the Global Harmonization System (GHS) and assist in the clarification and communication of the dangers involved with chemicals. One of the results of this revision was the reorganization of the old Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) into the new Safety Data Sheet format.
The SDS is used as a primary information source of the hazards of a chemical and includes such subjects as environmental hazards, first aid procedures, accidental release measures, and safety precautions. Utilizing this information, facility managers can employ safety programs, develop mitigation measures for accidental releases, and develop appropriate safety training for employees. More importantly, the SDS provides critical information to first responders and medical personnel to rapidly and effectively treat individuals that have been exposed. Employees need to be aware of where they can locate these data sheets, and employers have a duty to ensure their workers are knowledgeable as to what chemicals are stored at the workplace and where to acquire this data.