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What Is SDS (Safety Data Sheet) Authoring

SDS (Safety Data Sheet) Authoring is the process of creating comprehensive documents that provide detailed information about the hazards, safe handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals. SDSs are an important component of chemical safety management, serving as a crucial communication tool between chemical manufacturers, suppliers, employers, and end-users.

The primary purpose of SDS authoring is to ensure that anyone working with or near hazardous chemicals has access to essential safety information. SDSs follow a standardized format and provide specific details about the chemical composition, physical properties, health hazards, environmental impacts, and precautionary measures associated with a particular substance or product.

The process of SDS (Safety Data Sheet) Authoring involves the following steps:

  1. Gathering Information: The first step is to collect relevant information about the chemical product. This includes details about its chemical identity, ingredients, physical and chemical properties, toxicity data, and potential hazards. Manufacturers often rely on their own research, testing, and expertise to compile this information.
  2. Classification and Labeling: Based on the gathered data, the chemical is classified according to various hazard categories and criteria. This classification determines the labeling requirements and the information to be included in the SDS.
  3. Document Organization: SDSs consist of several sections that address specific aspects of chemical safety. These sections may include identification, hazard identification, composition/information on ingredients, first aid measures, firefighting measures, handling and storage instructions, exposure controls/personal protection, physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity, toxicological information, ecological information and other relevant information.
  4. Writing and Formatting: The gathered information is organized and written in a clear and concise manner, using language that is easily understandable by users with varying levels of expertise. The SDS should be written in accordance with relevant regulations and guidelines, such as the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
  5. Review and Approval: The completed SDS is reviewed internally by experts within the organization to ensure accuracy, consistency, and compliance with regulations. Depending on the jurisdiction and industry, the SDS may require external verification or approval by regulatory bodies before it can be distributed.
  6. Updating and Maintenance: SDSs need to be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in the chemical composition, hazard classification, or safety information. This ensures that users get current and accurate information.

SDS Sections

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) consists of 16 sections, as defined by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). These sections provide standardized information about the hazards, safe handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals. The 16 sections of an SDS are:

  1. Identification: This section includes product identification details such as the product name, manufacturer or supplier information, emergency contact information, and recommended use of the chemical.
  2. Hazard Identification: This section describes the hazards associated with the chemical including the classification of the hazards, signal words, hazard pictograms, and hazard statements.
  3. Composition/Information on Ingredients: This section provides information on the chemical ingredients, their concentrations, and any impurities or additives present.
  4. First Aid Measures: It provides guidance on appropriate first aid measures to be taken in case of exposure or accidents involving the chemical including instructions for medical personnel.
  5. Firefighting Measures: This outlines the recommended firefighting measures and equipment to be used in case of a fire involving the chemical.
  6. Accidental Release Measures: this gives a guide on the appropriate response measures to be taken if there is a spill, leak, or release of the chemical including containment, cleanup, and personal protective equipment recommendations.
  7. Handling and Storage: This section provides instructions for the safe handling, storage, and transportation of the chemical, including precautions to minimize the risk of exposure or accidents.
  8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection: This describes the recommended exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) required for handling the chemical safely.
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties: This provides information about the physical and chemical properties of the chemical such as appearance, odour, pH, boiling point, melting point, flash point, and solubility.
  10. Stability and Reactivity: It describes the chemical’s stability and potential reactivity hazards including information on incompatible materials, hazardous decomposition products, and conditions to avoid.
  11. Toxicological Information: Provides information on the potential health effects of the chemical including acute and chronic toxicity, target organ effects, routes of exposure, and symptoms of exposure.
  12. Ecological Information: This section provides information on the environmental impact of the chemical including its potential effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, bioaccumulation potential, and persistence in the environment.
  13. Disposal Considerations: This provides guidance on the safe disposal of the chemical including any specific regulations or requirements for proper waste management.
  14. Transport Information: Provides information on the transportation requirements and regulations for the chemical, including proper shipping names, UN numbers, hazard class, packing group, and any special precautions for transport.
  15. Regulatory Information: It provides information on applicable regulations and regulatory agency requirements related to the chemical such as hazard communication standards, exposure limits, and registration obligations.
  16. Other Information: This may include additional information not covered in the previous sections such as date of preparation or last revision of the SDS, abbreviations, and any other relevant information.

These 16 sections ensure that SDSs are comprehensive and consistent, facilitating the effective communication of critical safety information to protect individuals, the environment, and property when working with hazardous chemicals.


How to Write an SDS

  1. All dangerous chemicals require a Safety Data Sheet. The manufacturer or distributor must write this and send it to the buyer or user. (OSHA Hazard Communication, 29 CFR 1910.1200)
  2. An SDS is needed for chemicals developed in one laboratory and sent to another, and must be sent with the chemical containers to that user.
  3. The requirements of the EPA’s TSCA (40 CFR 700-799) must be met by newly synthesized chemicals. Research and development are exempt (EPA Bulletin 1986-1, 40 CFR 720.36).

Other prerequisites include:

  • Production of little amounts
  • Management by a qualified person
  • Assessment of dangers
  • Notice of dangers
  • Notice of the prerequisites that the substance be used exclusively for Research and development
  • Recordkeeping
  • Documentation of lab practices.
  • Names and addresses of those getting substance, substance identity etc
  • Save record for a least, 5 years.


The steps to writing an SDS

  1. Audit OSHA requirements (29 CFR 1910.1200; Guidance for Hazard Determination)
  • Collect as much information as you can about the chemical’s toxicity and physical and chemical properties.
  • It is necessary to identify all potential health risks, not just those that OSHA has identified.
  • Determine the physical and health risks by analyzing the data that already exists.
  1. Use the ANSI or OSHA short form. Use 16-Section SDS Agenda as an aide.
  2. Examine the SDSs of products that are similar using Sigma or another manufacturer.
  3. Use pre-existing Risk and Safety Statements.
  4. Add wording for the TSCA R&D exemption.

Note: These guidelines are for chemical compounds circulated inside the USA only! SDS requirements vary from country to country (EU REACH). The SDS should be in the local language of the country the substance or item is shipped off.

The Distinction between MSDS and SDS

To know the distinction among SDS and MSDS, it is essential to understand what the Globally Harmonized System is and what impact it has on the transition from MSDS to SDS.

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals is a global standard oversaw by the United Nations which was set up to substitute the combination of risky material grouping and naming plans recently used all over the world. it is the zenith of numerous long periods of conversation among legislatures and enterprises.

The GHS is a framework for fitting hazard grouping models and chemical risk communication components around the world. The GHS is certainly not a guideline. Instead, it is a framework or set of instructions for labeling and categorizing hazardous chemicals. The goal of the GHS classification system is to provide users of chemicals with uniform information with the intention of enhancing environmental and human health protection.

All over the planet, nations have administrative frameworks for hazard communication and chemical grouping.

The term Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) has been replaced by Safety Data Sheet.

The list of information pertaining to occupational health and safety for the various uses of the substances and products is the same for both MSDS and SDS documents. If you want more information about the product and what to do in the event of an exposure or spill, you should look at the MSDS and SDS.


The information and language on the documents have changed since the switch from MSDS to SDS. What was known as controlled items on the MSDS are presently called risky items on the SDS. The suppliers are still responsible for classifying their products, writing labels, creating SDSs, and sending these labels with the products at the point of sale.

SDSs, unlike MSDSs currently have signal words:

  • Caution – implies a less serious peril
  • Risk or danger – implies a more serious peril.

Compared to SDS sections, MSDS sections varied greatly in structure and information. MSDS sections had nine sections. SDSs currently have a standard 16-segment design with signal words, generally standardized danger and statements of precaution, and peril pictograms.

Hazard pictograms are now symbols in red and white or a red square on a point pictogram that is tilted 45 degrees.


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