What is an SDS?
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (previously Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)] is a document containing important information about a dangerous substance (which may be a hazardous substance and/or dangerous goods) and must be in English and state:
The SDS provides persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), responsible persons, workers and health and safety representatives with the necessary information to safely manage the risk from hazardous substance exposure.
It is important that everyone in the workplace knows how to read and interpret a SDS.
Access to SDS
Access to a SDS can be provided in several ways including:
The register of SDS should be used as an information tool to make sure everyone is involved in managing dangerous substances exposure at the workplace.
A SDS should be reviewed whenever there is:
In respect of SDS and labels, PCBUs/a responsible person must:
Retailers are not required to distribute SDSs. However, if a dangerous substance is purchased from a retailer, and the substance is for use at a workplace, a SDS can be requested from another supplier of the dangerous substance such as the manufacturer or importer.
In certain circumstances a supplier must provide copies of the SDS to the workplace and fix a label to the containers of all classified dangerous substances because the substances:
The format and content for a SDS used in Australia is set out in the 'National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances'.
PCBUs/a responsible person can also ask the supplier of a dangerous substance for a 'National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) summary report' which provides more detailed advice about health hazards and control measures.
Labelling and decanting
Suppliers and PCBUs have specific labelling obligations for all dangerous substances containers in the workplace.
What is on the label?
The label must be in English and contain the following:
If the manufacturer has amended a SDS, the label must be changed to ensure that it is consistent with the information in the amended SDS.
Containers of decanted dangerous substances at the workplace must be labelled with the product name and basic health and safety information (risk and safety phrases) from the supplier's label.