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Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). By: Jerome Kalo. What is a Material Safety Data Sheet?. Form providing detailed information about hazardous materials present at the worksite. Hazards addressed: Chemical Health hazards Reactivity and fire Environmental . Blue = health Hazard.

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Material safety data sheets msds l.jpg
Material Safety Data Sheets(MSDS)

By: Jerome Kalo

What is a material safety data sheet l.jpg
What is a Material Safety Data Sheet?

  • Form providing detailed information about hazardous materials present at the worksite.

  • Hazards addressed:

    • Chemical

    • Health hazards

    • Reactivity and fire

    • Environmental

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Blue = health Hazard.

Red  = flammability.

Yellow  =reactivity.

White =other hazard

0 = no or minimal hazard1 = slight hazard2 = moderate hazard3 = serious hazard4 = extreme hazard

Hazard Identification

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Who uses MSDS?

  • Employees who may be exposed at work.

  • Employers who need to know proper storage methods.

  • Emergency responders (fire fighters, hazardous material crews, emergency medical technicians).

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Responsible for MSDS

  • General Contractor/Employer:

    • Communicates hazards to employees at risk.

    • Ensures MSDS is readily accessible during each work shift.

    • Passes all MSDS to owner upon completion of project.

  • Project manager:

    • Receives the MSDS from each subcontractor or supplier.

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OSHA Regulations

  • Regulations 1926.59 & 1910.1200.

  • General Industry Standards for Hazard Communication.

  • MSDS must be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace.

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MSDS Format

  • No standard format.

  • Two main formats utilized:

    • OSHA

    • ANSI

  • Can be hardcopy, computer, fax, etc.

  • Must contain basic informational requirements.

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Protective Equipment

Spill hazard procedures

ID organization responsible for preparing the MSDS

Overview: Required Information

  • Identity

  • Physical properties

  • Toxicity/Carcinogen

  • Reactivity

  • Health effects

  • Exposure limits

  • First aid

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Required Information

  • Identity & Physical Properties:

    • Name of product/ chemical name.

    • Flash point, melting point, boiling point, etc.

  • Toxicity:

    • Defined in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200 Appendix A

    • Lethality of a substance in albino rats; how dangerous it is and method of poisoning (inhalation, skin contact, ingestion).

    • Whether chemical is considered a carcinogen.

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Required Information

  • Health effects:

    • Detrimental effects of a substance on the human body.

  • First aid:

    • Information which would help in rendering medical assistance.

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Required Information

  • Storage:

    • Proper handling and storage techniques.

  • Disposal:

    • Most substances cannot go down the drain or in the trash can.

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Required Information

  • Reactivity:

    • Potential hazards of reaction with other substances (air, water, chemicals).

  • Protective Equipment:

    • Listing of equipment to use when working with the chemical (respirator, goggles, gloves, apron).

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Additional Required Information

  • Contact information for the manufacturer of the substance.

  • Important facts not included in previous sections:

    • radioactivity

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Location of MSDS on Jobsite

  • Compiled by site safety or management personnel.

  • Kept in a binder in jobsite trailer.

  • Must ALWAYS be available onsite.

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Examples & Relevance

  • Drillers, sandblasters, drywall sanders, and brick masons: risk inhaling particles of dust, sand, and crystalline silica, which can lead to lung cancers, tuberculosis, and silicosis.

  • Welders and other metalworkers: risk inhaling metal fumes, which can cause lung ailments, airway disorders, and cancer.

  • Asphalt used in paving and roofing has been linked to throat irritation, nausea, and chronic lower respiratory infections.

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Examples & Relevance

  • Finishing work: can breathe in toxic fumes from paints, adhesives, floor finishes, and other materials.

  • Renovation and demolition of old buildings exposes workers to lead paint, asbestos, and toxic molds.


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Online Resources




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  • To prevent accidents on the jobsite related to hazardous substances, it is mandatory to have MSDS available to employees.

  • MSDS is also outlines ways to treat incidences related to exposure of a hazardous substance.


    National Safety Council. (1985). The facts about the hazard communication standard: A guide book.

    Illinois: National Safety Council.