Decoding Safety Data Sheets

June
2012

A safety data sheet holds a wealth of information that can help you safely and effectively handle chemicals in the lab, at the pilot scale, and on the production floor.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires companies that manufacture or distribute hazardous chemicals (e.g., compressed gases, flammable and combustible liquids, oxidizers, corrosive substances, highly reactive chemicals, etc.) to provide safety data sheets (SDS) (1), formerly known as material safety data sheets (MSDS), to their customers. These documents provide valuable information, including the various names used to identify the chemical, safe storage and handling procedures, potential exposure risks and appropriate personal protective equipment, regulatory requirements, and exposure limits.

Author Profiles: 

Ronald J. Willey

Ronald J. Willey is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He holds a Ph.D. in Chem. Eng. from the Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a B.S. Chem. Eng. (summa cum laude) Univ. of NH, Durham. He is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and serves on the Board of the Registration for Engineers and Land Surveyors. He is also co-editor of Process Safety Progress.

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