Safety Data Sheet – Definition

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Safety Data Sheet – Definition

Based on the text in chapter 1.5 of the UN GHS revision 5 13:
The safety data sheet should (SDS) provide comprehensive information about a substance or mixture for use in workplace chemical control regulatory frameworks.
Both employers and workers use it as a source of information about hazards, including environmental hazards, and to obtain advice on safety precautions.

The SDS is product related and usually [in the absence of relevant attached exposure scenario(s)] is not able to provide specific information that is relevant for any given workplace where the product may finally be used, although where products have specialized end uses the SDS information may be more worker-specific.

The information therefore enables the employer
(a) to develop an active programme of worker protection measures, including training, which is specific to the individual workplace; and
(b) to consider any measures which may be necessary to protect the environment. In addition, the SDS provides an important source of information for other target audiences in the GHS.

So certain elements of information may be used by those involved with the transport of dangerous goods, emergency responders (including poison centres), those involved in the professional use of pesticides and consumers. However, these audiences receive additional information from a variety of other sources such as the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations and package inserts for consumers and will continue to do so. The introduction of a harmonized labelling system therefore, is not intended to affect the primary use of the SDS which is for workplace users.

The required format and content of an SDS within the EU Member States in which the REACH Regulation directly applies (and in other countries which have adopted the REACH Regulation) is defined in Annex II of the REACH.

The information contained in the SDS must be written in a clear and concise manner.

According to REACH Regulation Article 31(5), “The safety data sheet shall be supplied in an official language of the Member State(s) where the substance or mixture is placed on the market, unless the Member State(s) concerned provide otherwise”. It should be noted that it is for the recipient Member State (MS) to provide otherwise – i.e. for example the existence of an exemption in the MS of manufacture does not give an exemption in a different MS where the substance or mixture is placed on the market. Even if the MS provides otherwise, it may be desirable to always provide (potentially in addition) the SDS in the language of the country.


SDS format and content are defined by Article 31 and Annex II of REACH Regulation. The latest change is from 1.6.2015 by Regulation No. 830/2015/EC and safety data sheets issued before 1.6.2015 must be in compliance till 31.5.2017 as a latest.

Classification in the safety data sheets is in compliance with CLP Regulation No. 1272/2008/ES from 1.6.2015. For the cases where mixture was classified labelled and entered the market before that date, then exemption to re-clasify is valid till 1st of June 2017.

Other reason for the SDS revision is CLP Regulation up-date (ATE) No. 918/2016/EC from 19.5.2016, were e.g. some hazard phrases are changed (H). This regulation has to be followed from 1.2.2018 as a latest.

Safety Data Sheet