GHS compliant SDSs are now legally required for any chemical products containing associated hazard classifications, especially given that HCS 2012 is now in full effect as of June 1st, 2016.  Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers must ensure the containers of hazardous products have labels that are GHS compliant along with their subsequent (M)SDS, updated such that they contain the 16-sectioned GHS compliant SDS format. Labels tend to be the first means for alerting users to information regarding hazards associated with chemical substances and mixtures while safety data sheets provide more thoroughly detailed information about hazardous products including; properties of the chemical constituents along with any known physical, environmental, and health hazards; preventative and protective measures; and procedures for the safe handling, storage, transport, and disposal of the hazardous products. 






A GHS compliant SDS will have been written in a clear and concise manner, made with the intent of being primarily read by workers in the workplace, but also with the intent for provision of information to; health and safety professionals, emergency personnel, government agencies and etc. Hazardous products that are strictly manufactured and/or distributed for use only in the United States, need the information of their SDSs to be written in the English language, but if the product is to be internationally exported, it may be subject to other language requirements e.g. Canada requires SDSs to meet English-French bilingualism.  GHS compliant SDSs must also make apparent, the date of which they were made publically available and the dates of any succeeding revisions to the information; typically, this information is found in section 16 ‘Other information’. Minimum informational and content requirements are outlined in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.1200. of the revised HCS 2012 and its details are outlined in the table below.




Content & Format Requirements for GHS Compliant SDSs under HCS 2012









Subheadings & Required Information



1.     Identification



GHS Product Identifier


Identity of substance exactly as it is found on the label



Other Means of Identification:


Alternative means of identification which includes any/all synonyms for product identifiers such as; alternative names, numbers, company product codes, or other unique identifiers.  



Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use:


Brief statements that indicate the products; purpose, intended/recommended usage guidelines, and limitations in how it is used



Supplier Identifier:


Name, address, and main (& emergency) telephone number of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party



2.     Hazard(s) Identification



Classification of the of the substance of mixture:


The hazard classification of the chemical substance by indicating all associated hazard—classes, categories, and/or subcategories


e.g. Skin Corrosive, Category 1A



GHS label elements:


Prescribed information elements associated with the hazard classification including, the signal words, hazard statement(s), precautionary statement(s), and a graphical or written representation of the pictograms.



Hazards not otherwise classified:


Information pertaining to other factors contributing to the overall hazard classification(s) that are not otherwise already covered the GHS prescribed hazard classes.



Mixture(s) with ingredients of unknown acute toxicity:
a statement describing the amount of ingredients with unknown acute toxicity as a % percent of the total mixture.



3.     Composition/Information on Ingredients













Chemical name:



Common name and synonyms:


CAS name, or IUPAC name



CAS #:


Chemical Abstract Service # acts to uniquely identify chemicals



Impurities and stabilizing additives:
These are classified and may contribute to the classification of the substance



Chemical name & concentration:


Names of constituent ingredients and their % concentration (exact or as range) in the mixture, if they meet criteria contributing to its health-hazard classification(s)



Concentration range in-place of exact % concentration:


Use proportional range, when there exists a trade secret claim, batch-to-batch variability, or when one SDS is used for a group similar mixtures



4.     First-Aid Measures



Description of necessary first-aid measures:


Instructional first-aid statements relating to the different routes of exposure and all such immediate measures to take



Most important symptoms/effects, both acute and delayed:


Brief descriptions of the most important symptoms and effects resulting from exposure to the hazardous product



Indication of immediate medical attention and special treatment needed:


Specialized first-aid information pertaining to the specific chemical including, any known contraindications, clinical tests, and procedural information on monitoring the effects/symptom



5.     Fire-fighting Measures



Suitable extinguishing media:


Information regarding what equipment can suitability protect the individuals extinguishing hazard related fires and any inappropriate media needing to be kept away from the fire



Specific hazards arising from the chemical:


Advice on other potential hazards that may arise upon ignition of the chemical e.g. hazardous by-products from combustion of the chemical that are in themselves hazards



Special protective equipment and protection for firefighters:


Information specifically targeted to fire-fighters including protective equipment they should wear as well how to efficiently respond to fires of this hazardous nature



6.     Accidental Release Measures



Personal precautions, protective equipment, and emergency procedures:
Applicable to non-emergency personnel and/or emergency responders. Information is provided on; precautionary measures that can reduce adverse effects to the person(s) and environment; emergency response procedures for rapid evacuation; and how to contact hazard experts





Methods and materials for containment and cleaning up:


Advice on the safe containment and clean-up of the chemical spill. Info is given on materials needed for specific modes of containment e.g. caps for capping the spill.  A variety of hazard related, clean-up procedures, including, techniques on neutralization, decontamination, vacuuming, and etc. are provided.



7.     Handling and Storage



Precautions for safe-handling:




    • precautionary measures for the safe-handling of chemical substances/mixtures;


    • incompatible substances and mixtures that may aggravate the chemicals’ hazard potential;


    • -optimal operational and environmental conditions that promotes safe use of the hazardous product


    • -hygienic practices, e.g. ‘Wash hands after use’




Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities:


Recommendations for where to safely store the hazardous product, area’s and conditions to avoid, and specific control and maintenance procedures that safe-guards against accidental exposure to the substance



8.     Exposure Controls/Personal Protection



Control Parameters:


Under HCS 2012, the disclosure of occupational exposure limits is required; OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs), and any other exposure limits can be used.





Appropriate engineering controls:


Describes measures of control based on specific modes of use such that sufficient information is providing allowing for efficient risk assessment and adjustments that work to minimize any potential hazardous effects



Individual protection measures, including PPE:
Describes the different types of personal protective equipment needed to protect specific parts of the body (eye/face, skin, respiratory system) against exposure to the hazardous product such that the potential for illness or injury is minimized when all such PPE is worn.



9.     Physical and Chemical Properties



Physical and chemical properties, and safety characteristics:


The intrinsic physical and chemical properties of a substance, known safety characteristics and any safety parameters. All such data is to be; based on scientific studies and test results; given in relation to standard atmospheric and temperature conditions; written such that SI units of measure are used.


    • Appearance (physical state, color, etc.);


    • Upper/lower flammability or explosive limits;


    • Odor;


    • Vapor pressure;


    • Odor threshold;


    • Vapor density;


    • pH;


    • Relative density;


    • Melting point/freezing point;


    • Solubility(ies);


    • Initial boiling point and boiling range;


    • Flash point;


    • Evaporation rate;


    • Flammability (solid, gas);


    • Partition coefficient: n-octanol/water;


    • Auto-ignition temperature;


    • Decomposition temperature; and


    • Viscosity




10.   Stability and Reactivity





Describes the chemical substance or mixtures’ potential to react hazardously by providing known test data for the chemical(s) or the reactive properties of closely related chemicals



Chemical Stability:


Indicates the overall stability/instability of the chemical(s) under standard conditions plus any such added stabilizing agents. Additional safety guidance on potential observational changes is provided



Possibility of Hazardous Reaction:


The chemical substance or mixtures’ nature to reactively interact with other substances such that it may lead to polymerization reactions, the release thermal energy, or the production of hazardous conditions



Conditions to avoid:


Indications of the products hazardous potential as a result of physically stress conditions like heat, shock, pressure, static discharge and etc.



Incompatible materials:


Listing all such reactively incompatible materials, that upon interaction with the product, may lead to dangerous reactions



Hazardous decomposition products:


Listing of any, or all known decomposition products resulting from usage and storage conditions. Decomposition products should also be listed in section 5.



11.   Toxicological Information



Toxicological health effects and the available data used to identify such effects


In-depth details of all know adverse health effects associated with chemical(s) in this product including; information on symptoms to expect via different routes of exposure to the product; chemical, physical, and toxicological characteristics of the substance; the expected on-set of effects upon short or long-term exposure; numerical measures of toxicological data.





Health and Safety Databases the chemical(s) is listed in:


Whether the chemical is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or found to be a potential carcinogen by OSHA



12.   Ecological Information
(not mandatory)





Ecological impact of the hazardous product to aquatic and terrestrial organisms based on available scientific data



Persistence and degradability:


Innate potential for the product to degrade in the environment by different chemical and physical modes of degradation and all such related scientific data and test results



Bioaccumulative potential:


The potential up-take of the hazardous product and any of its constituent chemicals into the environment, such that it disrupts organisms in the food chain, leading to large impact on the ecosystem. Should reference the octanol-water partition coefficient (KOW) and bioconcentration factor (BCF)



Mobility in soil:


The studied potential for the substance to use its natural processes (adsorption or leaching) such that is moves from the soil into groundwater thereby contaminating distant areas



Other adverse effects:


Any other environmental effects not already covered including a substance’s, ozone depleting potential, impact on global warming, potential to disrupt the endocrine system, and etc.



13.   Disposal Considerations
(not mandatory)



Disposal Methods:


Information pertaining to proper disposal procedures in regards to, handling and containing of material to be wasted; intrinsic properties of the material that may affect the modes of disposal; special precautions to be taken in terms of sewage disposal and land infiltration.



14.   Transport information
(not mandatory)



UN #:


4-digit numerical identification code for the substance as prescribed by the UN Model Regulations – Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG)



UN Proper Shipping Name:


The specific shipping name as prescribed from the UN Model Regulations



Transport hazard classes


The assigned transport hazard classes of highest severity in accordance to the UN Model Regulations – TDG



Packing group #:


A number assigned to specific substances based on their degree of hazardous potential as provided by the UN Model Regulations – TDG



Environmental hazards:


Info as to whether it contributes to marine pollution according to the International Maritimes Dangerous Goods Code – (IMDG Code)



Transport in bulk:


Precautions and procedures for bulk-shipment in accordance with Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the IBC Code





Special precautions for user:


Transport related precautionary measures, intended to be read by the transporter



15.   Regulatory Information
(not mandatory)



Safety, health, and environmental regulations:


Regulatory information on the chemical substance or mixture, released by national or regional competent authoritative bodies’



16.   Other Information



Date of SDS preparation/revision:


The date in which the SDS was prepared, dates of past revisions and the reasoning behind them, and specifically where the change occurred