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Safety Data Sheet: What is it exactly?

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 08/09/2016


The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is an important document for all companies working with, delivering or purchasing dangerous substances and material. The SDS gives the user informations about the chemicals and the identity of the product, potential dangers, but also communicates instructions for a safe manipulation as well as for prevention and guidance in case of hazardous situation. Dangerous materials are products or substances presenting a hazardous potential such as chemical products (for example: ethanol, acetone, benzin).

As regulated in the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances, dangerous materials need to be identified and documented. The Safety Data Sheet constitutes for the danger analysis an  legal document about the handling of such danger materials and is required for the setup of a register of hazardous substances. Such a register is essential for work protection and serves as central communication medium for works safety on the whole supply chain.

The supplier of these hazardous material must give access to the purchaser to an up-to-date version of the safety data sheet. Every SDS need to be archived for all actors within the supply chain for 10 years after the last use of this product.

16 sections of a Safety Data Sheet - Checklist

The following template for the Safety Data Sheet is based on the EU COMMISSION REGULATION No. 2015/830 of 28 May 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

According to the article 31 paragraph 6, the Safety Data Sheet must be divided into 16 sections and subsections. Exception is made of the section 3, where only one of the subsection 3.1 or 3.2 will apply, depending on the material or the mixture.

To support you with your Safety Data Sheet, we have prepared for you a checklist to help you cover all sections with your SDS. Download here our checklist as PDF for free.

1: Identification of the substance/mixture and of the company/undertaking

1.1. Product identifier

1.2. Relevant identified uses of the substance or mixture and uses advised against

1.3. Details of the supplier of the safety data sheet

1.4. Emergency telephone number

2: Hazards identification

2.1. Classification of the substance or mixture

2.2. Label elements

2.3. Other hazards

3: Composition/information on ingredients

3.1. Substances

3.2. Mixtures

4: First aid measures

4.1. Description of first aid measures

4.2. Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed

4.3. Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment needed

5: Firefighting measures

5.1. Extinguishing media

5.2. Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture

5.3. Advice for firefighters

6: Accidental release measures

6.1. Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures

6.2. Environmental precautions

6.3. Methods and material for containment and cleaning up

6.4. Reference to other sections

7: Handling and storage

7.1. Precautions for safe handling

7.2. Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities

7.3. Specific end use(s)

8: Exposure controls/personal protection

8.1. Control parameters

8.2. Exposure controls

9: Physical and chemical properties

9.1. Information on basic physical and chemical properties

9.2. Other information

10: Stability and reactivity

10.1. Reactivity

10.2. Chemical stability

10.3. Possibility of hazardous reactions

10.4. Conditions to avoid

10.5. Incompatible materials

10.6. Hazardous decomposition products

11: Toxicological information

11.1. Information on toxicological effects

12: Ecological information

12.1. Toxicity

12.2. Persistence and degradability

12.3. Bioaccumulative potential

12.4. Mobility in soil

12.5. Results of PBT and vPvB assessment

12.6. Other adverse effects

13: Disposal considerations

13.1. Waste treatment methods

14: Transport information

14.1. UN number

14.2. UN proper shipping name

14.3. Transport hazard class(es)

14.4. Packing group

14.5. Environmental hazards

14.6. Special precautions for user

14.7. Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the IBC Code

15: Regulatory information

15.1. Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation specific for the substance or mixture

15.2. Chemical safety assessment

16: Other information


Further Information


ecratum helps you managing, archiving and automatically collecting your suppliers safety data sheets. Register now for an online demonstration and learn more about your supplier relationship management with ecratum:

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

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