Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a detailed chemical document to help you choose safe products, handle chemicals safely and act correctly in an emergency. MSDSs are normally prepared by the manufacturers or suppliers of chemicals but some companies specialise in the development and printing of MSDSs.
Companies manufacturing or using chemicals should keep a copy of the MSDS of each chemical in such a place that anybody can quickly find it. Some companies keep them displayed on a wall or notice board, others keep them in a file while many companies also keep electronic copies on computer these days.
The most important things to know are where to find the correct MSDS, where to find and how to use the personal safety and emergency sections within the MSDS. For this course you only need to study these parts, but make sure you understand the purpose of all the other parts.
Some of the concepts and language might seem unfamiliar to you now, but you will quickly see that it is not such a difficult subject. Remember, there is also a “Glossary” attached to the end of the document for quick explanations of certain difficult words and concepts.
Because MSDSs are written by so many different organisations in many different countries, they do not always look the same or contain the same information. As already mentioned, many companies now keep their own system of MSDSs on computer so that the right MSDS can be identified quickly and the relevant section is available at a single key-stroke.