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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Material Safety Data Sheets

The MSDS is a technical bulletin which provides detailed hazard, precautionary and emergency information on the controlled product. It's the second element of the WHMIS information system and is meant to supplement the alert information found on the label. The MSDS must be made available to workers for review and use. One format for an MSDS is shown in reduced size below:

MSDS can be provided in different formats and sections can be arranged in different order, but there are some basic rules for making sure that they provide you with good information.

  1. The sixteen main sections must all appear covering the various items of information within them;
  2. Sections cannot be left blank;
  3. Hazardous ingredients must be disclosed as required, and
  4. No MSDS can be more than 3 years old.

In summary, the kind of information you will receive in different sections is:

  1. Chemical Product and Company Identification
    Chemical name, name and address of manufacturer, date of MSDS and who prepared by, WHMIS classification
  2. Composition/Information on Ingredients
    Name and percentage of hazardous ingredients, LD 50 and LC 50.
  3. Hazards Identification
    Route of entry into the body, WHMIS symbols, Potential health effects.
  4. First Aid Measures
    Gives the required first aid if the chemical comes in contact with skin, eyes, through inhalation or ingestion.
  5. Fire Fighting Measures
    Information on the ability of the product to catch fire or explode, and means of fire fighting.
  6. Accidental Release Measures
    Information on what to do if the product is leaked or is spilled.
  7. Handling and Storage
    Information on how to safely store and handle the chemical, advises on mechanical controls.
  8. Exposure Control/Personal Protection
    Supplies TLV's (Threshold Limit Values), advises on ventilation, spray booths, etc., tells what kind of PPE must be worn (Personal Protective Equipment).
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties
    Information on colour, odour, liquid, solid, pH, freezing and boiling points etc.
  10. Stability and Reactivity
    Information on incompatibilites with other chemicals, hazardous combustion products, hazardous decompostion products.
  11. Toxolgical Information
    Advises on the affects of acute and /or chronic exposure.
  12. Ecological Information
    Advises if there there is any water toxicity.
  13. Disposal Considerations
    Advises on how to properly dispose of the waste material.
  14. Transport Information
    Information on shipping requirements, transportation of dangerous goods, PIN (Product Indentificaiton Number) and other applicable regulations.
  15. Regulatory Information
    WHMIS, OSHA, SERA, TRCA classifications.
  16. Other Information