All About Safety Data Sheets
Safety Data Sheets, which were referred to as "Material Safety Data Sheets" before 2015, are a key component of WHMIS. A Safety Data Sheet is generally referred to as an SDS.
These documents describe the potential health, fire, reactivity and environmental hazards posed by a specific chemical or product, and how to work with it safely.
Prepared by the supplier or manufacturer, every SDS will detail use, storage, handling and emergency procedures.
An SDS will outline what the hazards are, how to use the material safely, what to expect if you ignore the recommendations, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of exposure and what to do if they show up.
In Canada, every material controlled by WHMIS must have a Safety Data Sheet.
When would I use a Safety Data Sheet?
The SDS will familiarize yourself with the hazards posed by a material before you use it.
Match the name of the chemical on the container to the one on the sheet, recognize the hazards, understand the safe handling and storage instructions and know what to do in an emergency.
Is all the information on the sheet?
Health information is often quite general. You should seek out your health and safety specialist, occupational health nurse, or family doctor for more information, if needed.
For more information, read the WHMIS 2015 – Safety Data Sheets (SDS) page on the CCOHS web site.