Making Sense of SDS vs. MSDS

Date Posted
Mike Rich
Tags: , , , , ,

What is SDS vs. MSDS?


With the December 1 training deadline fast approaching, many employers are scrambling to comply with the Safety Data Sheet provisions of the new Hazard Communication Standard. To reduce the frustration of compliance lets answer a few questions about what is SDS vs. MSDS.

How is the SDS different?

The SDS is the international form of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). While the MSDS came in multiple formats, the SDS is published in only one format. That format consists of a specific order and set of headlines. That information and order is as follows:

  1. Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.
  2. Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.
  3. Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.
  4. First-aid measures includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.
  5. Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.
  6.  Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.
  7. Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).
  9. Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical’s characteristics.
  10. Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.
  11. Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.
  12. Ecological information*
  13. Disposal considerations*
  14. Transport information*
  15. Regulatory information*
  16. Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

*Note: Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

Why Switch?

The main purpose of the switch from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to the SDS is to create a simpler and more effective way to communicate the hazards of a chemical. Prior to the switch companies may have had MSDS in multiple formats with information on those formats in varied locations. By moving to a universal format it makes it easier for employees to find information on a chemical, it also lowers the burden for chemical manufactures.

Will the change require that both and MSDS and an SDS be kept for the same product?

There is no requirement to keep old MSDS on file once you have obtained and SDS to replace it. However, employers may want to keep an electronic copy on file, especially if existing stocks of the chemical were purchased under the older MSDS.

What is the training deadline?

Take note, the deadline to train employees on the concepts of the new Safety Data Sheet is December 1, 2013.

When must I replace MSDS with SDS?

Employers can obtain new Safety Data Sheets from the manufactures they purchase hazardous chemicals from. These new labels should already be arriving in workplaces, however, manufactures and distributors have until December 1, 2015 to completely switch over. Contact your suppliers to see when these sheets will be available.

Call (888) 271-3480 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

  1. Next Post:
  2. Previous Post: