Understanding SDS Compliance

Regulations Involved

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) consists of requirements for the classification and labeling of chemical products. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) typically follow the GHS system and are documents that provide advice on safety precautions of the product and information on the hazards.

GHS ensures that information on health, physical, and environmental hazards is available to the users who handle chemical products. These regulations have been adopted by many countries around the world and allows for the harmonization of hazard communication elements. In order for an SDS to ensure compliance, it should be created for a substance or mixture in accordance with the GHS classification criteria.

Who Does This Apply To?

SDSs are required for hazardous products being distributed and imported into various countries. By definition, SDSs are usually only required for industrial workplace products, but many consumer products also have SDSs, often to meet transportation needs. The SDS provides detailed information about the product and is an important reference for workers, employers, and their workplaces about the hazards. The standard GHS SDS consists of 16 sections with specific headings. Some countries have additional requirements that will need to be considered to ensure the SDS is fully compliant.

Is This Regulation Mandatory? 

Hazardous products being used in the workplace are required to have an SDS to inform users about the hazards, the safe use of the product, symptoms and effects of exposure, and necessary precautions for safe handling and emergency procedures.

Even though GHS itself is a voluntary system adopted by countries around the world, it is important to comply with the country specific regulations to ensure that these products have an SDS with the necessary regulatory elements. The focus is to ensure that an SDS is available for every hazardous product, with the information needed to help protect human health and the environment.

What are the risks if a company chooses not to comply?

The risks if a company chooses not to comply could include worker accidents or serious injury, and unintended exposure to hazardous chemicals. Noncompliance for an SDS could also result in significant fines and penalties for the employer, supplier, or manufacturer.

Manufacturers are typically responsible for creating the product SDSs, and the suppliers will then distribute them to the customers. Employers are responsible to make sure that all hazardous products have a compliant and up to date SDS that can be readily accessed by the employee at any time, especially for those who could be directly exposed to the product.

How Can Nexreg Ensure Your Compliance?

Nexreg will first review the product information to determine the associated GHS hazards. We request that the full formula be provided, as well as other information including the current SDS and any known physical data.

The product information will be reviewed, followed by the generation of a compliant SDS according to the applicable GHS regulations. The SDS will be generated in the required language of the intended country. Nexreg offers SDS generation services for over 100 countries and languages.


(M)SDS Compliance often varies by jurisdiction.  In almost all cases it is recommended to have separate documents for separate countries.

A document compliant in one country does not necessarily mean it will be compliant in another. For example, an (M)SDS compliant in the U.S. cannot be used in European jurisdictions as each has adopted region-specific regulations.

However, in certain cases you can combine country specific regulations resulting in (M)SDS compliance over multiple jurisdictions.  For example, (M)SDSs that are OSHA compliant often also contain WHMIS regulations allowing a single document to be used in both countries.

Whether your (M)SDS compliance needs are for just one country, or many, Nexreg can help you ensure you are meeting all global and country-specific regulations.

Nexreg is constantly expanding our global reach, and we are frequently adding new countries to our portfolio.

Click here for more information on our SDS Authoring services.