Material Safety

About Material Safety Data Sheets

The following information is from the Oklahoma State University website.



Prepared by Chemical Manufacturers or Importers to describe characteristics of the product and to provide information concerning potential hazards.

Must be readily available for employee review at all times the employee is in the work place.



  • Company Information
  • Hazardous Ingredients
  • Physical Data
  • Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
  • Health Hazard Data
  • Reactivity Data
  • Spill or Leak Procedures
  • Special Protection Information
  • Special Precautions

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)


The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a detailed information bulletin prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a chemical that describes the physical and chemical properties, physical and health hazards, routes of exposure, precautions for safe handling and use, emergency and first-aid procedures, and control measures. Information on an MSDS aids in the selection of safe products and helps prepare employers and employees to respond effectively to daily exposure situations as well as to emergency situations.

The MSDS/s are a comprehensive source of information for all types of employers. There may be information on the MSDS that is not useful to you or not important to the safety and health in your particular operation. Concentrate on the information that is applicable to your situation. Generally, hazard information and protective measures should be the focus of concern.

Appendix II of the OSHA Hazard Communication Compliance Kit contains a glossary of terms used on MSDS/s. Some employers who are not very familiar with chemical terminology may find this helpful in reading and understanding MSDS/s.

OSHA Requirements

Employers must maintain a complete and accurate MSDS for each hazardous chemical that is used in the facility. They are entitled to obtain this information automatically upon purchase of the material. When new and significant information becomes available concerning a product's hazards or ways to protect against the hazards, chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must add it to their MSDS within three months and provide it to their customers with the next shipment of the chemical. Employers must have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical used in the workplace. If there are multiple suppliers of the same chemical, there is no need to retain multiple MSDS/s for that chemical.

While MSDS/s are not required to be physically attached to a shipment, they must accompany or precede the shipment. When the manufacturer/supplier fails to send an MSDS with a shipment labeled as a hazardous chemical, the employer must obtain one form the chemical manufacturer, importer, or distributor as soon as possible. Similarly, if the MSDS is incomplete or unclear, the employer should contact the manufacturer or importer to get clarification or obtain missing information. (See Tab H in the OSHA Compliance Kit for sample letters requesting an MSDS, or for additional information.)

When an employer is unable to obtain an MSDS from a supplier or manufacturer, he/she should submit a written complaint, with complete background information, to the nearest OSHA area office. (Although written complaints do not have to be submitted on an OSHA-7 Form, one is included on p. F-7 of the OSHA Compliance Kit, and may be reproduced for your convenience.) OSHA will then, at the same time, call and send a certified letter to the supplier or manufacturer to obtain the needed information. If the supplier or manufacturer still fails to respond within a reasonable time, OSHA will inspect the supplier or manufacturer and take appropriate enforcement action.


Sections of an MSDS and Their Significance

OSHA specifies the information to be included on an MSDS, but does not prescribe the precise format for an MSDS. A non-mandatory MSDS form (see OSHA Form 174 on page 6 of this manual) that meets the Hazard Communication Standard requirements has been issued and can be used as is or expanded as needed. The MSDS must be in English and must include at least the following information.

Section I. Chemical Identity

  • The chemical and common name(s) must be provided for single chemical substances.
  • An identity on the MSDS must be cross-referenced to the identity found on the label.


Section II. Hazardous Ingredients

  • For a hazardous chemical mixture that has been tested as a whole to determine its hazards, the chemical and common names of the ingredients that are associated with the hazards, and the common name of the mixture must be listed.
  • If the chemical is a mixture that has not been tested as a whole the chemical and common names of all ingredients determined to be health hazards and comprising 1 percent or greater of the composition must be listed.
  • Chemical and common names of carcinogens must be listed if they are present in the mixture at levels of 0.1 percent or greater.
  • All components of a mixture that have been determined to present a physical hazard must be listed.
  • Chemical and common names of all ingredients determined to be health hazards and comprising less than 1 percent (0.1 percent for carcinogens) of the mixture must also be listed if they can still exceed an established Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) or Threshold Limit Value (TLV) or present a health risk to exposed employees in these concentrations.


Section III. Physical and Chemical Characteristics

  • The physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous substance must be listed. These include items such as boiling and freezing points, density, vapor pressure, specific gravity, solubility, volatility, and the product's general appearance and odor. These characteristics provide important information for designing safe and healthful work practices.


Section IV. Fire and Explosion Hazard Data

  • The compound's potential for fire an explosion must be described. Also, the fire hazards of the chemical and the conditions under which it could ignite or explode must be identified. Recommended extinguishing agents and fire-fighting methods must be described.


Section V. Reactivity Data

  • This section presents information about other chemicals and substances with which it reacts. Information on any hazardous decomposition products, such as carbon monoxide, must be included.


Section VI. Health Hazards

The acute and chronic health hazards of the chemical, together with signs and symptoms of exposure, must be listed. In addition, any medical conditions that are aggravated by exposure to the compound, must be included. The specific types of chemical health hazards defined in the standard include carcinogens, corrosives, toxins, irritants, sensitizers, mutagens, teratogens, and effects on target organs (i.e., liver, kidney, nervous system, blood, lungs, mucous membranes, reproductive system, skin, eyes, etc.).

  • The route of entry section describes the primary pathway by which the chemical enters the body. There are three principal routes of entry: inhalation, skin, and ingestion.
  • This section of the MSDS supplies the OSHA PEL, the ACGIH TLV, and other exposure levels used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer.
  • If the compound is listed as a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) by OSHA, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), or the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), this information must be indicated on the MSDS .


Section VII. Precautions for Safe Handling and Use

  • The standard requires the preparer to describe the precautions for safe handling and use. These include recommended industrial hygiene practices, precautions to be taken during repair and maintenance of equipment, and procedures for cleaning up spills and leaks. Some manufacturers also use this section to include useful information not specifically required by the standard, such as EPA waste disposal methods and state and local requirements.


Section VIII. Control Measures

  • The standard requires the preparer of the MSDS to list any generally applicable control measures. These include engineering controls, safe handling procedures, and personal protective equipment. Information is often included on the use of goggles, gloves, body suits, respirators, and face shields.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must ensure that each employee has a basic knowledge of how to find information on an MSDS and how to properly made use of that information. Employers also must ensure the following:

  • Complete and accurate MSDS/s are made available during each work shift to employees when they are in their work areas.
  • Information is provided for each hazardous chemical.

Material Safety Data Sheet Checklist

  • You must ensure that each MSDS contains the following information:
  • Product or chemical identity used on the label.
  • Manufacturer's name and address
  • Chemical and common names of each hazardous ingredient.
  • Name, address, and phone number for hazard and emergency information.
  • Preparation or revision date.
  • The hazardous chemical's physical and chemical characteristics, such as vapor pressure and flash point.
  • Physical hazards, including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity.
  • Known health hazards.
  • OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), ACGIH threshold limit value (TLV) or other exposure limits.
  • Emergency and first-aid procedures.
  • Whether OSHA, NTP or IARC lists the ingredient as a carcinogen.
  • Precautions for safe handling and use.
  • Control measures such as engineering controls, work practices, hygienic practices or personal protective equipment required.
  • Primary routes of entry.
  • Procedures for spills, leaks, and clean-up.

Guide for Reviewing MSDS Completeness>/h3>

OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38A, Office of Health Compliance Assistance

29 CFR 1910.1200(g) Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

  • Do chemical manufacturers and importers have MSDS for each hazardous chemical produced or imported?
    • Is each MSDS in English?
  • Does each MSDS contain at least the following information:
    • Identity used on the label?
    • The chemical and common name(s) for single-substance hazardous chemicals?
      1. For mixtures tested as a whole:
        • Does each MSDS contain the chemical and common name(s) of the ingredients which contribute to these known hazards?
        • Does each MSDS contain the common name(s) of the mixture itself?
      2. For mixtures not tested as a whole:
        • Does each MSDS contain the chemical and common name(s) of all ingredients which are health hazards (1% or greater), or in the case of carcinogens (0.1% or greater)?
        • Does each MSDS contain the chemical and common name(s) of all ingredients which have been determined to present a physical hazard when present in the mixture?
      3. Does each MSDS contain the physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous chemical (vapor pressure, flash point, etc.)?
      4. Does each MSDS contain the physical hazards of the hazardous chemical, including he potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity?
      5. Does each MSDS contain the health hazards of the hazardous chemical (including signs and symptoms, medical conditions aggravated)?
      6. Does each MSDS contain the primary routes of entry?
      7. Does each MSDS contain the OSHA PEL? the ACGIH TLV? other exposure limit (including ceiling and other short-term limits)?
      8. Does each MSDS contain information on carcinogen listings (reference OSHA regulated carcinogens, those indicated in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) annual report and those listed by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC).Note: Negative conclusions regarding carcinogenicity or the fact that there is no information do not have to be reported unless there is a specific blank for carcinogenicity on the form.
      9. Does each MSDS contain general applicable procedures and precautions for safe handling and use of the chemical (hygienic practices, maintenance and spill procedures)?
      10. Does each MSDS contain generally applicable control (engineering controls, work practices, or personal protective equipment)?
      11. Does each MSDS contain emergency and first aid procedures?
      12. Does each MSDS contain date of preparation or last change?
      13. Does each MSDS contain name, address and telephone number of responsible party?
      14. Are all sections of the MSDS completed?

Note: This is for use as an aid on inspections. It is NOT a form.