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From our experience we have found that chemical safety is a constant niggle in the minds of busy EHS professionals. It is something you know you should be doing more of, but you do not have the time or resources to spend on it. Having good chemical safety is critical to the wellbeing of your staff, the quality of your product and the good name of your company.

Here at Chemdoc this is our area of expertise so let us tell you what an SDS is and the correct steps to a successful chemical management system.

The first step to having a successful chemical management system at your organisation is to compile a list of all chemicals in use in the workplace.  Once this list has been compiled, safety data sheets must be sourced for each of the listed products.  However, one of the questions we get asked quite often is “What is a safety data sheet and how can it help me?”  In short, a safety data sheet is a unique document for each of your chemical products which provide both workers and emergency personnel with information relating to the hazards of a product and proper procedures for storing and handling chemicals. 

The SDS must be provided by the supplier/manufacturer of a hazardous chemical and be specific to the hazards identified for that product.  The SDS will help your employees and downstream users mitigate any potential risks from using the product. 

Each SDS is divided into 16 sections, each section containing specific information:

  • Section 1 contains contact details of the person/company responsible for supplying the chemical, the uses of the chemical, as well as the telephone number to contact in case of an emergency.
  • Section 2 gives details on the hazards of the chemical and the potential effects and symptoms resulting from use. This will help in the assessment of the risks to health, the health of workers and the environment. The information in this section must be consistent with the information on the label. Why not take a look at our article Understanding Your SDS, Section 2 – Hazard Identification to find out more information on this section of an SDS.
  • Section 3 will list the main substances present in the product.  
  • Section 4 describes the necessary first aid measures to be taken in case of an accident.
  • Section 5 gives specific information on fighting a fire caused by the chemical, including the most suitable extinguishing media and protective equipment.
  • Section 6 describes what actions need to be taken if there is an accidental release of the chemical.
  • Section 7 contains details on how to handle and store the chemical safely.
  • Section 8 gives details of the steps needed to reduce exposure, e.g. ventilation and the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect health.
  • Sections 9, 11 and 12 provide detailed information on the physical/ chemical, toxicological and ecological properties of the chemical.
  • Section 10 contains details of any hazardous reactions that may occur if the chemical is used under certain conditions.
  • Section 13 explains how the chemical should be disposed of correctly.
  • Section 14 contains information relating to the transportation of the chemical.
  • Section 15 contains details on relevant EU/national and international legislation.
  • Section 16 gives any other information relevant to the chemical e.g. training advice, full text of hazard statements etc.

Here at Chemdoc, we source SDS’s directly from the manufacture and upload a PDF version of the sheet onto our system. We then collect the information from Section 1, 2, 3, 9, 14 and regulations for all Chemdoc clients. This information is populated into our datebase and displayed in an easily understood product screen. Our system also allows you to complete risk assessments and pull reports on this information so you can keep track of your hazardous products without having to update and keep track on anoff-line register. You also have the security of knowing that your product SDSs are annually reviewed to ensure the SDSs are up to date and list the current hazards for your products.


For more information on how Chemdoc can help you meet your SDS needs, visit or contact us on +353 61 405 455

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Optimize Safety Data Sheet Management with Chemdoc

Chemdoc is like having a full time chemical safety department in your organisation, dedicated to the collection, management and distribution of updated chemical safety information for your staff.