Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Definition - What does Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) mean?

A material safety data sheet (MSDS) is an important document containing a chemical product’s physical data, potential hazards, handling and required safety precautions. The information is used as a starting point when developing complete safety and health programs. It is a requirement for every manufacturer to include this information with every chemical product.

Corrosionpedia explains Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

The material safety data sheet is intended to provide workers with safe handling and usage procedures for a chemical product. It also warns about related hazards and steps that should be taken in case of an accident.

Material safety data sheets vary in length (usually between one and ten pages), content and format. However, most of the basic and critical information must be included on all.

A typical material safety data sheet must contain between 8 and 16 sections:

  • Product Information: Manufacturer's name and contact information, product name, addresses and emergency phone numbers
  • Hazardous ingredients/identification information
  • Physical data: Melting, boiling and flash points
  • Fire or explosion hazard data
  • Reactivity data: Chemical instability of a product and the substances it may react with
  • Toxicological properties/health effects
  • Preventive measures/precautions for safe handling and use: Storage, protective gear, handling spills, disposal of the product and associated packaging
  • First aid measures/control measures: Emergency procedures in case of accident and recognizing symptoms of overexposure
  • Preparation information: Preparation date and person responsible

The MSDS on corrosive acids, bases and chemicals helps to warn people handling them on their burning effect on the skin if it comes into contact, health problems if inhaled and corrosive effects on metals.

The MSDS for particular corrosive chemicals also specify the metal types it corrodes as well as other materials, such as wood or plastics, that it can attack.

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