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Ushering in a New Era in Hazard Communication

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July 11, 2012David LakeBlog

Since OSHA’s Hazard Communication 2012 became final on May 25, 2012, we have received several questions about how the format of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is changing under the new rule.

The information required on the SDS will remain essentially the same as that in the current standard. The current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) indicates what information has to be included on an SDS but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information.  As of June 1, 2015, the revised HCS requires that the information on the SDS be presented in a uniform format using consistent headings in a specified sequence. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.

The 16-section SDS should include the following section numbers, headings, and associated information:


Heading Name

Associated Information

Section 1.


includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

Section 2.

Hazard(s) identification

includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

Section 3.

Composition/information on ingredients

includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

Section 4.

First-Aid measures

includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

Section 5.

Fire-fighting measures

lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

Section 6.

Accidental release measures

lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7.

Handling and storage

lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8.

Exposure controls/personal protection

lists OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9.

Physical and chemical properties

lists the chemical’s characteristics.

Section 10.

Stability and reactivity

lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

Section 11.

Toxicological information

includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12.

Ecological information*


Section 13.

Disposal considerations*


Section 14.

Transport information*


Section 15.

Regulatory information*


Section 16.

Other information, including date of preparation or last revision

includes the date of preparation or last revision.


Sections 12-15 may be included in the SDS, but are not required by OSHA.  Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

Wondering how you can help guide your company through the transition HCS 2012?  Download our GHS Transition Guide for Downstream Workplace here.


Modification of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform with the United Nations’ (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) (

OSHA Quick Card (Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets) (

(29  FR 1910.1200(g)(2)) (