Signs of Poorly Written Safety Data Sheets

June 6, 2018

Signs of poorly written safety data sheets - Chemscape Safety Technologies Inc.

When it comes to Safety Data Sheet (SDS) authoring, it's crucial to be cautious of certain red flags commonly associated with low-cost providers and automated authoring programs. Opting for these services can result in poorly written SDSs that fail to adhere to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) standards, contain inaccurate information, and potentially violate compliance regulations. Therefore, it's essential to carefully evaluate your SDS providers and prioritize quality and accuracy to ensure the safety and compliance of your chemical management practices. 

Here are the top 7 red flags to look out for: 

1. An inexperienced and untrained SDS Author

Does your SDS Author have proper training, experience and credentials? Deerfoot Consulting (the consulting arm of Chemscape) uses a Registered SDS Author, which is the premier standard for this work.

2. The structure, presentation and required elements of the SDS does not conform to GHS Standards 

With the implementation of GHS, there is a greater structure than there used to be in WHMIS 1988. Chemscape frequently observes shortcomings in the classification, presentation of required elements and structure of the document.

3. Use of inaccurate hazard classification 

This is a bit alarming but sometimes incorrect symbols can be used with the classifications the author has listed.

4. Omission of precautionary statements

Chemscape developed a reference document which consolidated the official GHS Purple Book. This reference document clearly identifies classifications (not how to classify but what statements must be included after classification. There is some latitude regarding Precautionary Statements based on professional opinion but to entirely exclude Statements is wrong.

5. No Signal Word or Improper Placement

The signal word (Danger or Warning) needs to be displayed for the product as required according to the WHMIS Act and Regulation.

6. No contact information for author

A reputable author will put their business name and valid contact number on the SDS. If the SDS is ever used as evidence in a court of law, the author may be required to testify and provide records to justify their classification and sampling data.

7. The old SDS was simply retitled as a new SDS

Our data entry department attests to having seen companies swap out the old 9-section SDS with a new title that says Safety Data Sheet but no other changes have been made other than a new issue date.

If you need help with SDS authoring, contact our team today to learn more about our services.