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Understanding Safety Data Sheets

GHS is an acronym which stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. It approaches the hazard communication at an international level. The system provides the standards that should be followed when classifying chemical hazards. also the system provides the standards for element labeling routines and safety data sheets. The system was developed by communication guru from different countries. International organizations and other stakeholders also had input in the process. Other existing standards from other systems in the world were integrated into this system.

The purple book is another name for GHS. It is a document which outlines the standardized order of information on safety data sheets. Classification criteria for health, physical and environmental risks that can be imposed by the chemicals are also outlined in the document. also, it also has the criteria for standardized label elements that are assigned to these hazard classes and categories. Further, the basis for standardized label elements assigned to hazard categories and descriptions are a part of the document. The document describes the appropriate signal words, pictorials and hazard and precautionary statements which are in turn useful in user-based communication.

Initially, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) were referred to as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The term was changed to SDS to improve information received from different countries. The standardization of labels and SDSs is important because it enhances information received from and exported to other countries. The international standards and GHS reduce the conflict caused by the diversification of the different national and international standards.Hence, better global communication is enhanced.

Material Safety Data Sheet contains the information entailing a certain substance. Procedures for handling the substances safely are conveyed to the users by the SDS. in a working environment, SDS are a requirement for safety and product stewardship. The content of the SDS include physical data, health effects, toxicity, storage and safe disposal.

SDS should be readily available where the chemical substances are used.This enhances the storage safety of these chemicals and spill-handling procedures. Generic users are not the only ones that the SDS should be designed for. The design should be such that any person that comes into contact with the chemicals should be in a position to understand the hazards and the components of the chemical substances. It is especially crucial for the personnel working in confined workplaces. This enhances safety in these workplaces.

How these SDSs are managed is very crucial. Companies have started using different soft wares that are specifically designed for the SDS proper management.It is very important for companies to ensure that the soft wares they use have met the GHS standards.

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