Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are a very important part of the chemical workforce. They are a go-to document for anyone needing to know some information about a product they will be in contact with. Chemicals can be very dangerous, especially if you are repeatedly handling them. They can pose many health and physical risks.
Material safety data sheets provide workers with all the necessary information they need to ensure they using a product correctly. A MSDS informs employees of ways to protect themselves from the hazards of the product by providing safe handling and storage procedures, what to do in cases of emergency or fire, and what personal protective equipment (PPE) they should be wearing. In addition, having general knowledge about the product such as colour, physical state, or flashpoint will help ensure a safer work environment for those involved.
Material safety data sheets are also important when it comes to emergency responders or medical personnel. Knowing the stability of a product, especially under fire conditions, can help the fire fighters handle the emergency appropriately. Also, if someone has accidentally inhaled or ingested a product, the medical personnel will be able to serve the patient correctly and quickly if they are aware of the data on the MSDS. Having the MSDS immediately available for review will ensure that the critical information is available to those emergency responders who need it.
Accessibility to MSDS sheets helps to make the workplace a safer place in other ways beyond letting the workers know how to appropriately handle the substance. If all of the workers are following the handling and storage guidelines in the MSDS, it will minimize the chances of someone else getting injured while on the job.
It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the MSDS sheets are available to the workers and that the workers are acknowledgeable as to their existence. Also, the employer must educate the employees on the hazards that they will be exposed to in the workplace.