How to Create MSDS

Written by david stewart
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Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that is mandatory for all companies in the United States that are involved in manufacture or distribution of hazardous chemicals. The aim of an MSDS is to help convey clear information regarding the potential hazards of a given chemical. An MSDS also serves to specify measures to deal effectively with instances where exposure to a hazardous chemical has occurred. The U.S. OSHA Hazard Communication Standard provides details of the data an MSDS should include. Similar guidelines are in place in most of the developed countries.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Products list
  • Product data

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  1. 1

    Learn what information you need. Go to the website of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Locate the document ANSI Z400.1/Z129.1-2010 for preparing a MSDS. Pay the prescribed fee and print a copy of this format. Alternatively, go to the Environment Health and Safety Online (EHSO) website and click on the links provided to print the same formats, which are available as MS Word, RTF or PDF versions. In addition, print a copy of the checklist provided to help you create the MSDS.

  2. 2

    Collect information regarding your products. Gather data regarding what each material is and its physical and chemical properties. Collect information that can be crucial to help deal with an emergency involving the product. Collate the associated environmental and toxicity data.

  3. 3

    Evaluate the hazards. Study the collected information and determine its potential hazards to safety, health and the environment. Using scientific judgment, classify products based on the level of danger they pose. Refer to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard to find out which criteria you should use while classifying your products.

  4. 4

    Prepare the MSDS. Make sure you have information for each of the prescribed 16 sections of the ANSI format. Write details for each section, giving the necessary details that provide sufficiently comprehensive information. Peruse the glossary provided by the ANSI standard to prepare a document free of overly technical language. Fill this information into the blank MSDS form you printed earlier.

Tips and warnings

  • The MSDS should list any hazardous chemical that is present in products to an extent of 1% or greater. In the case of carcinogenic chemicals, you need to list those that are present at levels of 0.1% or greater. There is however, no requirement of listing exact concentrations of such chemicals.
  • Make sure you use simple, jargon-free language in the sections meant for employees to use.
  • Various software solutions are available to help you manage your MSDS writing needs -- using these simplifies the process of creating and subsequently distributing an MSDS.

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