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Laboratory Chemical Safety
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Chemical Labeling and Classification, which requires that laboratories keep current Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available for anyone handling chemicals. As a student working in a laboratory, you must familiarize yourself with the handling and hazards associated with the chemicals you use and the appropriate response to exposure.
What is a Safety Data Sheet?
Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), are guides to hazardous materials provided by chemical manufacturers and distributors. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires that SDS be available to all employees with chemical hazards in their workplace.
Sources of Safety Data Sheets
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) may often be found with a Google search that includes the name of the compound and the initials SDS. For example: aspirin sds. Useful collections of SDS include:
Other Sources for Chemical Hazard Information
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
This National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guide provides key chemical property and hazard data for common lab chemicals.
Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries (LCSS)
Select chemicals in the PubChem database have a Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary available. These collect data and provide references to key chemical hazard information sources.
Safety Data Sheets
- Hazard(s) identification
- Composition/information on ingredients
- First-aid measures
- Fire-fighting measures
- Accidental release measures
- Handling and Storage
- Exposure controls/personal protection
- Physical and chemical properties
- Stability and reactivity
- Toxicological information
- Ecological information
- Disposal considerations
- Transport information
- Regulatory information
OSHA Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets