Safety Data Sheets
A safety sheet or safety data sheet (SDS) is a document, prepared in accordance with current legislation, which informs about the dangers of a chemical substance or mixture. As well as the health and safety risks that may occur if the appropriate prevention measures are not taken. They must also indicate immediate action to take in case of accident or intoxication until the affected person can be seen by a doctor.
In Spain, safety data sheets or SDS appeared with Regulation (CE) n.º 1907/2006 (REACH). Very related to them were the so-called R and S phrases, risk and safety phrases respectively, which have stopped being used in 2015. The safety data sheets must be transmitted in the language of the country that puts the product in question in the market. They must also be completed with the so-called exhibition scenarios, giving rise to an extended safety data sheet, when they exceed 10 tons of commercialized substance.
Since a safety data sheet must be a clear and concise document, to increase occupational safety you must include a series of points among the 16 sections that compose it:
- Identification of the substance or mixture contained in the package, together with the data of the person responsible for placing it on the market.
- Version, date of issue and the last revision of the safety data sheet.
- Identification of the dangers that the compound or mixture may pose to people and the environment, along with the identification of health problems associated with its incorrect use in the case of humans, or the environmental consequences of a spill that has not been treated properly. Pictograms and phrases similar to the old risk and safety phrases will be added.
- Composition, physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity of the product.
- Immediate action measures in case of accidents, both for the different ways of exposure by a worker (inhalation, intake, topical contact, etc.), and for cases of fire or accidental spillage.
- Information on the correct handling and storage method, as well as the way to proceed to eliminate the product.
- Toxicological information, in which the possible health consequences derived from both occasional use and long-term continuous use are collected.
- Ecological information, describing the possible effects on the environment and the way of accumulation (in water, in living organisms, etc.).
Since June 1, 2015, all mixtures must be labeled according to the CLP regulation with their corresponding Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The R and S phrases are repealed and must not appear in any current document, either on the safety data sheet or on the label. The information of the product label must match the one set out in section 2 of the latest version of the SDS and must be in accordance with CLP Regulation, No. 1272/2008. Having an SDS with R and S phrases can mean not only a penalty but also an omission of danger information and updated safe handling. Since 2015, many substances that were unknown have been analyzed, thanks to the REACH registry, and many others have undergone changes in the danger information, making it today the most complete classifications based on real data from experimental studies.
Therefore, although it has always been important, in these years it is essential that each product used in an industrial plant has its updated safety data sheet. It is even more important, as well as common sense, to make sure that only the workers who have the necessary training should handle these substances, and that these people fully understand the information contained in the safety labels.
Tandem HSE offers courses and seminars in your own workplace, to improve the training of workers in relation to the prevention of occupational hazards.