Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?

A material safety data sheet is a technical document which provides detailed and comprehensive information on a controlled product related to: Health effects of exposure to the product, Hazard evaluation related to the product’s handling, storage or use, Measure to protect workers at risk of exposure, Emergency procedures.

The data sheet may be written, printed or otherwise expressed, and must meet the availability, design and content requirements of WHMIS legislation. The legislation provides for flexibility of design and wording but requires that a minimum number of categories of information be completed and that all hazardous ingredients meeting certain criteria be listed subject to exemptions granted under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act.

The Purpose of the Data Sheet

The data sheet is the second element of the WHMIS information delivery system and is intended to supplement the alert information provided on labels. The third element of the system is the education of employees in hazard information on controlled products, including instruction in the content and significance of information on the MSDS.
Responsibilities Related to the MSDS Suppliers
1. Develop or obtain a MSDS for each controlled product imported or sold for use in a workplace
2. Ensure the MSDS for the controlled product:
Discloses information that is current at the time of sale or importation of the
Was prepared and dated not more than three years before the date of sale or
Is available in both official languages
3. Ensure the purchaser of the controlled product has a copy of the current MSDS at the
time of or prior to the purchaser receiving the controlled product
4. Make available any information that is considered confidential (trade secret)
information and therefore exempt from disclosure to any physician or nurse who
requests that information for the purpose or making a medical diagnosis or providing
medical treatment

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