The OSHA mandates that employees working with dangerous chemicals are trained and familiar with their particular hazards. However, there’s no way that every employee could remember every potential hazard that could result from using or mishandling a chemical – some laboratories utilize over 100 chemicals at any given time! So OSHA mandates that every potentially harmful chemical you work with should have a safety data sheet accessible at all times. What comprises safety data sheets and how can they help you stay safe while on the job?
Identification of the Substance
Safety data sheets start off with information regarding the chemical and molecular properties of the substance. While many employees not well versed in chemistry may find this kind of information to be confusing to them, one part that is definitely helpful is a list of trade names and synonyms for the substance that can help these employees identify the substance easily. This is particularly helpful in the event of a chemical spill or fire.
Composition and Ingredients
Many toxic substances are comprised of several different dangerous chemicals. Safety data sheets break down the substance into its parts so that all of the hazards inherent in a substance can be identified.
Physical and Chemical Properties
For work environments such as laboratories and industrial plants, one of the most important aspects of safety is preventing accidents with chemicals and other hazardous materials. Employees can review the physical and chemical properties of particular chemicals in order to work more safely and prevent larger problems. The appearance and smell of the chemical is described in this section, as well as its boiling and flash points. It will also give the information for the chemical’s solubility, specific gravity, vapor pressure, and pH level.
Safety data sheets are designed so that employees can work with hazardous chemicals in a safe manner and prevent life and property threatening situations. This information by law should be clearly marked and available for easy consultation for any of your employees working with hazardous chemicals.
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