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

7.  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.

8.  The pH of a chemical tells you if the chemical is an acid, a base (also called alkali or caustic), or neutral.  Chemicals with lower or higher pH should only be stored with chemicals of like pH and never with their opposite or a neutral chemical.

9.  MSDSs have some problems.  They are sometimes hard to read and are not written for their intended purpose—to protect workers.

10. Through New Jersey’s Right to Know program you can obtain factsheets (for no charge) on over 1,700 commonly used hazardous substances and chemicals.  The factsheets are easier to read than most MSDSs.

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