Safeguarding employees and making a well-trained team requires conducting thorough hazard communication. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) has mandated that facilities must store and share material safety data sheets(MSDS) with employees. This is to ensure workplace accidents and safeguard the workers from fatal injuries. 


Facilities must prepare a Material Safety Data Sheet for every hazardous chemical they store. So, what information does it include? It provides details on chemical information and hazard details. Moreover, it’s every section must provide the required details to help workers or users understand the risk factors of using a specific chemical. 



Overview of Material Safety Data Sheet


A material safety data sheet (MSDS), now mainly known as a safety data sheet (SDS), is a critical document that every chemical manufacturing facility must keep. It provides important information about the hazards of chemical products. Above all, it includes details about the composition of the product, and shares details about its physical and chemical properties, as also the potential hazards associated with its use. By going through the document users must find some safe handling and storage procedures, emergency measures, and regulatory compliance information. 


Facilities that store, manage, or produce toxic substances must keep updated MSDS for their workers and users. These documents are essential tools for ensuring workplace safety which also provides workers with the necessary knowledge to handle chemicals safely. It also guides on how to respond effectively to emergencies. 


To prepare an MSDS facilities must follow the structure that OSHA has prepared. Continue reading and find how OSHA’s Hazcom Standard has to define  


Information MSDS Includes:


An MSDS can be considered comprehensive if it has 16 sections and certain particular information. Moreover, it has to be a user-friendly document that provides useful information on toxic chemicals and their specific hazards. The purpose of preparing a document with 16 sections is to make a document that is comprehensible for all the workers or users. Each of its sections needs to be prepared in the following way. So, take a look and understand OSHA’s guidelines. 


  • Section 1 (Identification): 


This particular section helps identify the chemical and provides details on its recommended uses. Besides, it adds details about the suppliers or the manufacturers. While preparing this section manufacturers must include the product identifier used on the label, the synonym of the chemical, also the recommended use of the chemicals. The manufacturer’s name along with contact details must also be mentioned. Details on any restriction of use should also be mentioned. 


  • Section 2 (Hazard Identification):


 This section must explain the hazards of the chemical along with the appropriate warning information associated with those hazards. While preparing the document manufacturers must mention the hazard classification of the chemical, and signal word and must provide a hazard statement. Moreover, a precautionary statement must be there which is helpful for each worker or user. 


  • Section 3(Information on Ingredients):


 With this section, users will be able to know all the ingredients present in the product including impurities and stabilizing additives. While preparing the document, manufacturers must include information such as the substances(chemical name, common name, and synonyms). It must also provide details on the mixtures such as the chemical name and concentration of all ingredients which are known as health hazards. 


  • Section 4 (First Aid Measures): 


This section should have some helpful information on some tips that any untrained person can understand.  It should also be helpful enough to teach how to assist someone who has been exposed to a particular hazardous material. Therefore, it must share the relevant routes of exposure in this section and describe the most important symptoms or effects. It must provide information on immediate medical care and special treatment suggestions. 


  • Section 5 (Fire-Fighting Measures): 


Information about what to do in the event of a chemical fire must be accessible to users through this section. In the description, suitable extinguishing equipment has to be present. It must also provide information on specific hazards that develop from the chemical during the fire. Suggestions for extra safety equipment or safety measures for firefighters must also be included. 


  • Section 6 (Accidental Release Measures): 


By going through this section the users must be able to find some useful recommendations on the appropriate response to spills, leaks, or releases. Moreover, it must come with suggestions on 

useful containment and cleanup practices to prevent accidents or environmental damage. The manufacturers must also provide instructions on emergency procedures, and evacuation instructions along with details on consulting experts. 


  • Section 7 (Handling and Storage Tips):


This section must provide safe handling practices and conditions for safe storage of chemicals. To prepare this section the manufacturers must therefore share the precautions for safe handling, including recommendations for handling incompatible chemicals, and also minimizing the release of the chemical into the environment must be present here. This section must explain the conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities. 


  • Section 8 (Exposure Control): 


Users should be able to find the exposure limits, engineering control, and personal protective measures by going through this section. Therefore, manufacturers should include OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), American Conference of Governmental Industrial

 Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs), and any other exposure limit used. Above all, this section must provide adequate information on personal protection methods in detail. 


  • Section 9 (Physical and Chemical Properties): 


With this section, users will be able to identify physical and chemical properties associated with the substance or mixture. Therefore, while preparing this section users must be able to know the appearance, odor, Odor threshold, Vapor pressure,  Vapor density, etc to know more facts about the chemical. 


  •  Section 10 (Stability and Reactivity): 


With this part of the Material Safety Data Sheet, users will learn the reactivity hazards of the chemical. They will also gain information on the chemical stability. There should be a third part in this section that must share details such as the possibility of hazardous reactions. It must also share the list of avoidable conditions or any known or anticipated hazardous decomposition products that could be produced. 


  • Section 11 (Toxicological Information): 


This section is helpful for users to gain toxicological and health effects information about the toxic substance. Therefore, manufacturers must provide information on the likely routes of exposure. The users must also be able to know the delayed, immediate, or chronic effects of short- and long-term exposure. Moreover, the description of the symptoms has to be present here thoroughly. 


  • Section 12 (Ecological Information): 


All the environmental impacts of the chemical must be present here in this section. It must therefore share data from toxicity tests performed on aquatic and/or terrestrial organisms. This section must also share whether there is a potential for the chemical to persist and degrade in the environment. Also, it must share the other adverse effects of the chemical on the environment in this section. 


  • Section 13 (Disposal Considerations):


To understand a thorough disposal process for a particular substance, this section will help.  Therefore, proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemicals, and their safe handling practices can be learned from this section. After reading this section users must know what is an appropriate disposal container that they can use. Moreover, the right disposal method can be understood through this section. 


  • Section 14 (Transportation Information):


 Having a thorough knowledge of the transportation guidelines is important and that’s why manufacturers must use this section. This section therefore should provide information on how to transport or ship hazardous chemicals in the right way. Along with tips the manufacturers should be able to know any special precautions related to the chemicals. 


  • Section 15 (Regulatory Information);


From this section, users can get some vital regulatory information on the specific chemical. Any national and/or regional regulatory information on the chemical or mixtures should be shared in detail in this part of the material safety data sheet. 


  • Section 16 (Other Information): 


From this particular part, the users will be able to find the date when the SDS was prepared. This section also shares all the changes that the manufacturer has made. Moreover, it must give details about the supplier for further information. 


Why MSDS is Important?


In simple terms, the material safety data sheet is useful for sharing some vital information on the chemicals and the hazards information to ensure workers’ safety. Below we have highlighted some other crucial points. Take a look to learn more about it.


1) Helpful for Hazard Identification: 


Along with details on chemicals and their ingredients, a Material Safety Data Sheet also provides crucial information about the hazards associated with the chemicals. It, therefore, helps users understand potential risks which may be around them. Thus, it’s a great help for easy hazard identification. 


2) Ideal for Safety Measures: 


With this users can outline safety precautions and some procedures for handling, storing, and disposing of hazardous substances. It also helps reduce the risk of accidents. Thus safeguarding workers and building a safe workplace is possible with this.


3) For Emergency Response:


Workers often have to face situations that may need information to protect themselves from chemical exposures. An MSDS includes instructions for responding to chemical spills, fires, or exposure incidents. Thus it trains how to take quick and appropriate action in emergencies.


4) Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: 


Each organization must know what are the regulatory requirements and must follow them. A material safety data sheet helps know it well and helps organizations avoid paying penalties. After all, federal agencies like OSHA issues stricter rules when it comes to reducing workplace accidents. That’s why, the MSDS guides every organization or user with safety tips ideal for protecting their workers.


5) Employee Training: 


Each section provides crucial details for effective chemical safety. That’s why, organizations can also take the help of an MSDS to provide training to their employees. After all, it’s each part has something vital that educates them and helps them understand emergencies properly. 


How does this Information Help Employees?


This is a perfect guide for every employee who has to handle the hazards of toxic chemicals every day. The following points will help you know them in detail, so take a look. 


  • Identification of Risks:


 This document helps each employee learn all the hazards associated with the chemicals in detail. Thus they follow the safety tips to keep themselves protected from such workplace accidents. Moreover, it allows them to prepare the right way to handle such risky situations. 


  • Safety Procedures: 


From the section where safety tips and first aid measures are mentioned, the workers may start preparing proper safety procedures. Apart from organizing first aid measures it allows organizing safety equipment ideal to handle emergencies.


  • Learn About Health Effects: 


Employees can learn about the potential risks associated with the chemicals. Thus they can understand the effects the toxic chemicals may have on their health and understand how to keep themselves protected.


  • Training Resource: 


For employees, the MSDS also functions as a valuable training resource. Each section provides valuable information that helps provide the right training that employees require to handle emergencies.




A material safety data sheet is an important document that each chemical manufacturing company or facility that handles toxic chemicals must store and share. But it has to be prepared in the right way and most importantly, the way OSHA has mandated. Therefore, keep in mind to give access to an MSDS that includes all the information that we have discussed here.