CSM logo - horizontal

Reading safety data sheets safety talk

Reading safety data sheets

Safety data sheets (SDS) play an important role in informing employees on the safe use of any potentially harmful substances in their workplace. They also cover information such as safe storage and handling. Each employee should be familiar with the chemicals that are used in their workplace as well as the applicable SDS sheets that go along with them. Staying informed of this information will greatly reduce the chances of harmful exposure. Each SDS will follow a standard format which is listed below. With each listed section is a summary of the information that can be found in that category.

Section 1. Identification: This section identifies the chemical along with its suggested uses. Also found here is the manufacturer’s contact information and emergency contact numbers.

Section 2. Hazard(s) identification: This section covers any hazards presented by the chemical as well as any applicable warning information. This also includes the necessary label components.

Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients: This section displays the chemical ingredients. It also covers any trade secret information.

Section 4. First aid measures: This section includes any effects the person might have from exposure as well as treatment that should be given.

Section 5. Firefighting measures: This section covers firefighting techniques and extinguisher types necessary if a fire were to start from this chemical. It also covers additional chemical hazards that may arise from this happening.

Section 6. Accidental release measures: This section lists information regarding actions to take following a spill of this chemical including emergency action procedures, personal protective equipment to be worn as well as containment and cleanup information.

Section 7. Handling and storage: This section covers safe storage of the chemical as well as ventilation requirements and any incompatible storage with other chemicals.

Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection: This section covers the exposure limits of the chemical as well as recommended personal protective equipment and engineering controls necessary when using it.

Section 9. Physical and chemical properties: This section lists the chemical’s characteristics such as odor, flammability, color, etc.

Section 10. Stability and reactivity: This section covers the stability of the chemical as well as any specific reactions it may have to things such as temperature, pressure, etc.

Section 11. Toxicological information: This section covers routes of exposure for this chemical as well as the effects including acute and chronic.

Section 12. Ecological information: This section covers environmental effect if the chemical were to be released.

Section 13. Disposal considerations: This section covers proper disposal and safe handling of the chemical.

Section 14. Transportation information: This section provides guidance on transportation and classification of the chemical.

Section 15. Regulatory information: This section lists other specific regulations pertaining to the chemical that were not listed elsewhere on the SDS.

Section 16. Other information: This section covers the date the SDS was written and any revisions that have taken place.


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

Meet Our Safety Team

Related Safety Resources