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Understanding OSHA’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Quick Card


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency responsible for ensuring workplace safety in the United States. One of the key tools OSHA utilizes to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The SDS is a comprehensive document detailing hazardous chemicals’ properties, handling, storage, and disposal. OSHA’s SDS Quick Card is a valuable resource for employers and employees to understand the importance of SDS and its relevance in maintaining a safe work environment.

What is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a crucial document that provides essential information about the hazards, properties, and safe handling practices for chemicals used in the workplace. It is designed to provide employers and employees with the necessary information to work with hazardous chemicals safely. SDSs are required by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to ensure that employers clearly understand the chemicals in their workplace and that employees are adequately informed about the potential hazards.

OSHA’s SDS Quick Card

The SDS Quick Card is a condensed reference tool provided by OSHA to help employers and employees understand the key elements of a Safety Data Sheet. The Quick Card highlights the critical information within an SDS and provides a convenient guide for individuals working with hazardous chemicals. The card breaks down the SDS into 16 distinct sections, each containing specific information about the chemical. These sections are as follows:

  1. Identification: This section includes the chemical’s name, manufacturer or distributor information, emergency contact details, and recommended use.
  2. Hazard(s) Identification: This part outlines the hazards associated with the chemical, including hazard classification, signal words, hazard statements, and precautionary statements.
  3. Composition/Information on Ingredients: This section provides information about the chemical’s ingredients, including their concentration and CAS numbers.
  4. First-Aid Measures: This part details the appropriate first-aid procedures to follow in case of exposure to the chemical.
  5. Fire-Fighting Measures: This section provides information on how to extinguish fires caused by the chemical, including the type of extinguishing agents to use and special firefighting procedures.
  6. Accidental Release Measures: This part outlines the steps to be taken in case of an accidental release or spill of the chemical, including containment and cleanup procedures.
  7. Handling and Storage: This section provides guidance on the chemical’s safe handling and storage practices, including any incompatibilities with other materials.
  8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection: This part details the recommended exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) required when working with the chemical.
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties: This section describes the chemical’s properties, such as appearance, odor, boiling point, and solubility.
  10. Stability and Reactivity: This part outlines the chemical’s stability, possible hazardous reactions, and conditions to avoid.
  11. Toxicological Information: This section provides information on the chemical’s toxicological effects, such as acute and chronic toxicity.
  12. Ecological Information: This part details the potential environmental impacts of the chemical, including its persistence and degradability.
  13. Disposal Considerations: This section provides guidance on the proper disposal methods for the chemical, including any special precautions or restrictions.
  14. Transport Information: This part outlines any transportation requirements for the chemical, such as special packaging or labeling.
  15. Regulatory Information: This section provides information on applicable regulations and standards related to the chemical.
  16. Other Information: This part includes any additional information relevant to the chemical’s safety, such as revision dates or additional hazard information.


OSHA’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Quick Card is an invaluable tool for promoting workplace safety and ensuring that employers and employees are adequately informed about the potential hazards associated with hazardous chemicals. By breaking down the key sections of an SDS, the Quick Card helps individuals quickly access and understand the crucial information needed to safely handle, store, and dispose of chemicals in the workplace. It is essential for employers to make SDSs readily available to their employees and to encourage the use of the SDS Quick Card as a reference tool. Doing so can foster a culture of safety and compliance, reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, and illnesses related to hazardous chemical exposure.