Understanding safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals

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This fact sheet explains the information contained in a safety data sheet (SDS), what each section means and how to check if a SDS complies with the Work Health and Safety Regulations.

By reading, understanding and following the information and instructions in an SDS, all chemicals should be able to be used safely in the workplace.

An SDS is a document that provides detailed information about a hazardous chemical, including:

  • the identity of the chemical product and its ingredients,
  • the hazards of the chemical including health hazards, physical hazards and environmental hazards,
  • physical properties of the chemical, like boiling point, flash point and incompatibilities with other chemicals,
  • workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants,
  • safe handling and storage procedures for the chemical,
  • what to do in the event of an emergency or spill,
  • first aid information, and
  • transport information.
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