Even though the majority of cleaning professionals understand that the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) replaced the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), many remain unsure as to why the MSDS was replaced and what the new SDS involves.
To help out, the National Service Alliance (NSA), a leading group purchasing organisation for contract cleaners, released a press statement by its business development manager Tobi Colbert who lists some common questions and answers surrounding the SDS.
“The SDS is designed to make information on chemicals, product labels and warning labels consistent around the world, whether the cleaning worker is in India or North America for example,” stated Mr Colbert.
SDSs feature on cleaning solutions and products that are classified as potentially dangerous and intended for use, handling or storage in a workplace setting. One of the key differences between the SDS look and the MSDS is that the SDS features pictograms to convey messages and replace words.
Mr Colbert also explained that ‘there are 16 sections of information on the SDS, but the following tend to be the most important: identifying the manufacturer; hazard classification; ingredient information; first aid measures if needed; fire extinguishing measures if needed; personal precautions when using the product; handling and storage; and physical properties about the product, such as the temperature at which it could catch fire.’
SDSs are updated when manufacturers become aware of significant new data about their products e.g. if ingredients change.
Cleaning contractors are required to provide SDS information in either hardcopy or readily accessible by a web-enabled device. Before working with any new cleaning solution, Mr Colbert advised that ‘cleaners should ensure that the SDS matches the name of the product, review the hazards, understand the safe handling and storage procedures, and know what to do in an emergency’.