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The 411 on Safety Data Sheets

The safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals used on a job site are important and potentially life-saving documents.

MSDSSDS documents should be kept in a readily accessible binder in the same area where the chemicals are stored, in vehicles in which they are transported, and in job site offices.

Federal law [The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g))], revised in 2012, requires that manufacturers and distributors of chemical products imported into or made in the U.S. must provide safety data sheets with the products in order to help ensure their safe handling, storage, transportation and use.

The SDS includes information about the properties of each chemical, the physical, health and environmental health hazards; required protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing and transporting the chemical.

Because chemicals may be known by various names, the SDS includes the common names and synonyms by which the substance is known. It also includes the manufacturer’s name, address and phone number, as well as an emergency phone number.

The chemical’s recommended use, a description of what it does, any restrictions on use, its classification, such as flammable liquid or pesticide, are all listed in the SDS as well.

Relevant information about appearance, odor, flash point, combustibility, evaporation rate, vapor pressure, solubility, viscosity and other properties are included in the SDS.

The SDS describes likely routes of exposure, such as skin, eyes, inhalation, the reaction time, and whether it is a cancer-causing agent. It also describes the type of first aid that should be administered by untrained responders in the event of exposure, including symptoms and recommendations for medical care and any special treatment. In addition to effects on humans, the SDS also describes the product’s impact on the environment and measures that should be taken to protect and the environment.

Depending on the type of chemical, fire-fighting instructions are included in the SDS, and will recommend suitable extinguishing equipment, hazards that may develop when the chemical is ignited, and recommendations on the use of protective fire-fighting equipment.

The SDS also recommends methods for cleaning up spills, leaks and aerosol releases and appropriate containment methods. It may recommend personal precautions, emergency procedures, including evacuation instructions; and methods and materials used for containment.

When a hazardous substance is cleaned up or contained, the SDS provides information for safe handling and disposal, warns against using any incompatible chemicals for cleanup, and makes recommendations for safe storage and disposal.

Neff Rental maintains SDS documents at its branches and in company vehicles operated by its employees. For more information about Neff Rental, call 888-709-NEFF or visit .

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