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Competencies covered

MSMWHS200: Work safely

MSFFL3002: Establish and maintain a safe flooring technology work environment

TLID2003: Handle dangerous goods/hazardous substances

Safety data sheets

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A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) - previously called a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - is a document that manufacturers and suppliers are required to prepare for each product they supply that contains hazardous chemicals.

The SDS provides information on:

  • the identity of the chemical

  • acute and chronic health hazards

  • safe handling and storage procedures

  • emergency procedures

  • disposal processes and environmental care issues.
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SDSs are progressively replacing MSDSs as the 'transitional period' in the classification of hazardous chemicals continues to elapse.

The only differences between the two documents is that:

    Safety Data Sheets use the new GHS classifications (described in the previous lesson)

    Material Safety Data Sheets use the old hazardous substances and dangerous goods classifications.

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You shouldn't have any trouble finding an SDS or MSDS for the hazardous chemicals you use at work, because your own workplace is required to have a copy on file for every hazardous product kept on-site.

These should be in an accessible place where workers can go to them at any time.

You'll also find a brief summary of the main points from the SDS or MSDS on the side of the product container or packet itself, together with a symbol showing the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) classification for the substance.

The link below leads to an excerpt from the MSDS for Ardex K15 smoothing compound on the Ardex Australia website:

MSDS for Ardex K15 smoothing compound

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Learning activity

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Choose one hazardous product you use at work and get the container or bag that it comes in. Also obtain a copy of its SDS or MSDS.

Answer the following questions.

What is the name of the product?

Where is the SDS kept?

What types of information are shown on the packaging that are also contained in the SDS? (Name the subheadings or topics that double up.)

What types of information are not shown on the product packaging but are in the SDS?

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