A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a document that chemical providers are required by law to provide to customers that buy any potentially hazardous chemical. The purpose of an SDS is to ensure that workers understand the hazards of the chemicals they work with or might be exposed to while at work. This helps employees know which proper protective equipment (PPE) they need to safely handle and use the product, and know what to do in case of an accident or spill.
It is important that employees are familiar with the format and understand the contents of the SDSs. Safety Data Sheets have 16 sections, and must list an ingredient, even if it is not hazardous, and what the product is generally used for. The exception is for food grade chemicals – some of which can be hazardous to your health if you are not careful.
Breweries, like all businesses, are required by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) to make the SDS available to employees. Typically, businesses will have two hard copy sets of SDSs: one accessible to the workers, and also a copy in an office that workers may or may not be able to access.
These documents were formerly called Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) until OSHA switched to the GHS (Globally Harmonized System) of SDS. You may still hear people still call SDSs MSDSs, but that is technically incorrect.
Dana Johnson, Technical Director, Craft Brewing, Birko, can be reached at DJohnson@birkocorp.com or (303) 289-1090.