Safety Data Sheets
What is a Safety Data Sheet?
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), previously called a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is a document that provides information on the properties of hazardous chemicals and how they affect health and safety in the workplace. For example an SDS includes information on:
- the identity of the chemical,
- health and physicochemical hazards,
- safe handling and storage procedures,
- emergency procedures, and
- disposal considerations.
The SDS should always be referred to when assessing risks in the workplace.
Before using a chemical in the workplace, you should also make some simple checks to see whether it complies with the WHS Regulations.
- Is the SDS written in English?
- Does the SDS contain 16 separate headings? These, and the contents of each section, are further discussed below.
- Does the SDS state the name, address and business telephone number of the Australian importer or manufacturer?
- Does the SDS give an Australian business telephone number from which further information about the chemical can be obtained in an emergency?
- Was the SDS prepared within the last five years? If you cannot answer yes to all of the above questions, the SDS you have been given does not comply with the WHS Regulations. In this instance, you should contact the supplier, importer or manufacturer for an upto date and compliant SDS and refrain from using the chemical until you obtain the correct SDS.
If the supplier cannot or will not provide a compliant SDS, contact your local work health and safety regulator.
You can keep them in an electronic format but if chemicals are being used by workers without access to the computer version then the SDS need to be printed.
Labelling and safety data sheets
Making Sense of Safety Data Sheets 
The following lists contain links to sources of safety data sheets that I found the easiest to access.
It doesn't matter where you get the Safety Data Sheet from as long as you can be sure that it is the latest, current version of it.
The best way to ensure that you have the most currect SDS for the chemical products that you use in your business is to ask your Supplier to supply the SDS in an electronic form, on usb or from a web site, along with the product they are selling to you. They have a responsibility to make this information available to you.
If you have not got the SDS for chemicals that you currently use then go to the manufacturer's or retailer's website and search for the SDS using the product name. If you still have trouble finding it then it is best for you to contact them and ask for it. The alternative is to replace that product with one for which you do have an SDS.
Direct to Consumer Sales
Ricoh Asia Pacific