Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Safety Data Sheets (SDS), previously known as “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDS), are an important source of information for the worker at the worksite. It is one of the three basic elements of the WHMIS right-to-know-system.

The SDS includes the following: relevant technical information on the substance, a list of its hazardous ingredients (if it’s a mixture), chemical hazard data, control measures-such as proper engineering controls and personal protective equipment, instructions on accident prevention while using the substance, specific handling, storage and disposal procedures, and emergency procedures to follow in the event of an accident.

The information provided is expected to be comprehensive and must include what can reasonably be expected to be known about the material and the hazards it may present.

SDSs consist of 16 sections that must be filled out in accordance with the WHMIS 2015 guidelines:

Section 1. Identification
Product identifier, recommended use and restrictions on use, supplier contact information, emergency phone number.
Section 2. Hazard Identification
GHS classification (hazard class and category), GHS label elements (including pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements) and other hazards (e.g., thermal hazards).
Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
A hazardous product that is a substance must include the following information: chemical name, synonyms, Chemical Abstracts Service Number (CAS No.), chemical name of impurities, stabilizing solvents and stabilizing additives where classified and that contribute to the product classification. A hazardous product that is a mixture must include the following information: listing of ingredients that present a health hazard, the chemical name, synonyms, CAS No. and respective concentration of components.
Section 4. First aid measures
Listing of first-aid measures by route of exposure (e.g., inhalation, skin contact, etc.) in addition to the corresponding symptoms and/or effects.
Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
Listing of appropriate & inappropriate extinguishing media and special equipment that can be used, specific hazards and precautions for firefighters.
Section 6. Accidental release measures
Listing of appropriate protective equipment and clearly stated emergency procedures, methods and materials for containment and clean-up in the event of an accident.
Section 7. Handling and storage
Precautionary directions for safe handling and appropriate storage conditions (including any incompatibilities).
Section 8. Exposure controls/ personal protection
Listing of exposure limits, engineering controls, and appropriate protective equipment to be utilized.
Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
Listing of the physical and chemical properties of the product including: appearance, odour, odour threshold (if applicable), pH, melting/freezing point, boiling point and range, flash point, upper and lower flammable or explosive limits.
Section 10. Stability and reactivity
Product reactivity and stability information including: reactivity, chemical stability, possible hazardous reactions, conditions to avoid, incompatible materials, hazardous decomposition products.
Section 11. Toxicological information
Listing of potential routes of entry and associated toxic effects, including effects due to acute or chronic exposure, carcinogenicity, respiratory sensitization and reproductive effects.
Section 12. Ecological information*
Listing of, if applicable, the aquatic and terrestrial toxicity, persistence, degradability and bio-accumulative potential, and the product’s mobility in soil.
Section 13. Disposal considerations*
Outline of safe handling and disposal method procedures-including procedure in the event of contaminated packaging.
Section 14. Transport information*
Listing of UN number, shipping name, hazard classes and packing group information.
Section 15. Regulatory information*
Listing of relevant health, safety and environmental regulation specific to the product.
Section 16. Other information
Other information including date of preparation or last revision of the SDS.

*Note: Sections 12-15 are not mandatory for WHMIS, but are necessary for GHS compliance; therefore, under Canadian law, suppliers may opt to leave these sections blank.

Glossary of Terms