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Preventing Chemical Accidents:  Understanding MSDS’s & Assessing Chemical Hazards

Factsheet #11

What’s in an MSDS?

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) give detailed information on chemical and physical dangers, safety procedures and emergency response techniques.  Employers are required to have MSDSs for every hazardous chemical in the workplace.   The MSDSs must be readily accessible to all employees on every shift and in the employee’s work area.

MSDSs include the following information:

1.  Product identity

2.  Hazardous ingredients

3.  Physical and chemical characteristics

4.  Fire and Explosion Data

5.  Reactivity

6.  Health hazards

7.  Precautions for safe handling and use

8.  Control measures

A description of each section is included below and on the next few pages.

Section I: Product Identity

This information gives you the product’s name as it appears on the label and on the company’s chemical inventory list.  Product identity is usually the chemical’s brand name, e.g. “Solvent 460” or “Trichlor.”  The manufacturer is listed along with a contact person you can call to get more information on the product.

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