Safety Services


Safety Data Sheets (SDS)​

The Safety Data Sheet is a document that is used to provide information on potential hazards on the substance it is for.

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What is an SDS?

The Safety Data Sheet is a document that is used to provide information on potential hazards on the substance it is for. In the UK, SDS are regulated by REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation  & Restriction of Chemicals). For an SDS to be valid in the UK it must have 16 sections. ​

Where do you find an SDS? 

Every manufacture or supplier must make the SDS available to the user of any chemical classified as hazardous. This can be done either by transporting the chemical with a hard copy or providing a link to the document on-line.​

What information is in an SDS?

The SDS lists the known hazards associated with a chemical with the generic control measures. The risks described are based on the chemical being used at room temperature, sea level pressure and in accordance with any manufacturer’s instructions, including the amount being used, and contact with other substances including water or air. ​

​What is the difference between an SDS and an MSDS?

In many cases, a Material Safety Data Sheet and a Safety Data Sheet are the same documents. However, the correct title in the UK is SDS and it has 16 sections. Other countries use MSDS more commonly and these documents may have different sections. When checking SDS on-line ensure that you use the UK version with all 16 sections ​

What do you do with an SDS?​

​When using any hazardous chemicals, you must consult the SDS when completing your risk assessment, agree that you are only using it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction, including all engineering control measures and PPE, or to carry out a further risk assessment that will look at how you will be using the chemical.​

​You must consult all parts of the SDS and refer to your risk assessment to all relevant information, not just the immediate health hazards and precautions. ​

​You must ensure the SDS is up to date. There is no statutory review period, but an SDS must be updated as soon as: new hazard information or information that may affect the risk management measures becomes available; when a chemical or mixture is classified according to the CLP Regulation; once an authorisation under REACH is granted or refused; or once a restriction under REACH has been imposed. ​

When a risk assessment is reviewed, always check that the review is based on the current SDS.

How to read the 16 sections of an SDS​ →

Last updated: Tuesday, July 6, 2021