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   MSDS AND SHOC - made simpler here!


A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) (also known as PSDS (Product safety data sheet) is a form of data regarding the properties of a particular substance. An important component of product stewardship and workplace safety, it is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. MSDS formats can vary from source to source within a country depending on national requirements.
 MSDS (material safety data sheets) are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. MSDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product. These data sheets can be found anywhere where chemicals are being used.
There is also a duty to properly label substances on the basis of physico-chemical, health and/or environmental risk. Labels can include hazard symbols such as the European Union standard black diagonal cross on an orange background, used to denote a harmful substance.
 An MSDS for a substance is not primarily intended for use by the general consumer, focusing instead on the hazards of working with the material in an occupational setting.
In some jurisdictions the MSDS is required to state the chemical's risks, safety, and effect on the environment.
  • Trade name used on the label and inventory list.
  • Manufacturer's name, address, and emergency telephone number
  • Preparation and revision dates
  • CHEMICAL and COMMON NAMES of all the hazardous components
  • ACGIH TLV: 8-hour time-weighted average
  • OSHA PEL: 8-hour time-weighted average
  • These are not necessarily proven safe levels of exposure. If the exposure limit is not listed, do not assume that a chemical is safe. Contact the EH&S Office.
  • PERCENTAGE OF THE MIXTURE (optional). The percentages do not usually add up to 100% since only the hazardous ingredients have to be listed. This is NOT a trade secret recipe.
  • VAPOR PRESSURE - a measure of a liquid's tendency to evaporate
  • VAPOR DENSITY - reflects whether a vapor or gas is lighter or heavier than air
  • APPEARANCE and ODOR - The Safety Office considers these properties as well as how you work with a hazardous material to evaluate the risks, which vary greatly depending on how a material is used.
  • FLASH POINT - the lowest temperature at which a liquid gives off enough vapors, which when mixed with air, can be easily ignited by a spark. The lower the flash point, the greater the risk of fire or explosion. Remember, it's the vapors that burn, not the liquid.
Reactivity, in this context, is the tendency for a material to chemically change or breakdown and to become more dangerous. Precautions include:
  • CONDITIONS TO AVOID - such as light or heat.
  • MATERIALS TO AVOID - for example; sodium and water will react vigorously to generate hydrogen, creating a fire hazard
If you need health hazard information that is not on an MSDS, contact the Safety Office.
  • ROUTES OF ENTRY - How a hazardous material can enter your body; Inhalation, Skin Absorption, and Ingestion
  • SHORT-TERM HEALTH EFFECTS (CHRONIC) - symptoms may be felt after repeated contact with the same hazardous material over a long period of time
  • REFERENCES that list a chemical as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen
If you are concerned about a chemical exposure you may have had, report to the Employee Health Office and bring the MSDS with you, if possible.
  • SPILL AND LEAK PROCEDURES - The Safety Office can advise you on specific procedures and provide protective equipment. All labs should have spill kits available. According to RIH and TMH policy, the person or laboratory that creates a spill is responsible for assisting in the clean-up if he/she is not injured.
  • WASTE DISPOSAL - Call the environmental authorities for information on how a particular chemical should be disposed.
The Safety Office can answer specific questions regarding ventilation and personal protective equipment for normal working conditions and emergencies. Suitable control measures are based on how a material is used.
1.2       Interpreting a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
Upon receipt of an MSDS, review the document to determine if the product contains hazardous ingredients. Some manufacturers clearly indicate hazards on the MSDS by listing the hazard potential scale from 0-4, with the higher number indicating a higher risk.
Guide to Interpreting Hazard Ratings:
Hazard PotentialReactivity Hazard RatingFlammability Hazard RatingHealth Hazard Rating
0 = Minimal or insignificantNormally stable, even under fire conditions; will not react with waterMaterials that are normally stable; will not burn unless heatedNo significant risk to health
1 = SlightNormally stable but can become unstable at high temperatures/pressures; may react mildly with waterMaterials that must be preheated before ignition will occur (liquids with flashpoints >200oF)Irritation or minor reversible injury possible
2 = ModerateNormally unstable; reacts violently with water; will readily undergo chemical change but will not detonateMaterials that must be moderately heated before ignition will occur (liquids with flashpoints >100o F and < 200oF)Temporary or minor injury may occur
3 = Serious or highCapable of strong detonation/explosive reaction only in the presence of a strong initiating source (i.e., heat under confinement); reacts violently with waterMaterials capable of ignition under almost all normal temperature conditions (flashpoints > 73oF and <100o F, boiling point <100oF)Major injury likely unless prompt action and medical treatment are given
4 = Sever or extremeReadily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition at normal temperatures and pressuresVery flammable gases or very volatile flammable liquids (flashpoint >73o F, boiling point < 100oF)Life-threatening; major or permanent damage may result from single or repeated exposure
1.3      Setting up a MSDS file
Material Safety Data Sheet information should be stored in an orderly fashion and must be readily available to all employees at all times. The MSDS information is useful for establishing parameters for a safe workplace and is invaluable if emergencies involving the chemical occur.
1.4      Glossary of MSDS terms
American National Standard Institute (ANSI) - A private, nonprofit organization that administers and coordinates U.S. efforts to establish business safety standards and guidelines
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)- A codification of the rules published in the Federal Register by executive departments and agencies of the federal government
Chemical Abstracts service (CAS) - An index of chemical information provided by the American Chemical Society; the CAS number identifies specific chemicals indexed by the CAS
Combustible liquid - Any liquid having a flashpoint at or above 100oF (37.8oC); exception: any mixture of components with flashpoints of 200oF or higher if the total volume of that component makes up 99% of the mixture
Flammable liquids: lower explosive limit (LEL) and upper explosive limit (UEL) - The lower and upper limits of vapor and air concentration that can cause an explosion; these are reported as percentage
Flashpoint - The lowest temperature at which a liquid gives off enough vapor to be ignitable
Hazardous decomposition products - Products released upon exposure to aging, heating, burning, oxidation, or reaction; the shelf life should also be listed when applicable
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - Label system used to designate health, flammability, and reactivity risks associated with a product (uses a vertical line for scoring data)
Permissible exposure limit (PEL) - The minimum quantity (measured in parts per million [ppm] of chemical exposure before protective measures must be instituted; set by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA).
Percent volatile by volume - Percentage of a liquid or solid that evaporates at room temperature; the higher the percentage, the faster the substance will evaporate
Specific gravity (SG) - Ratio of the weight of a volume of liquid to the weight of an equal volume of water at a specified temperature; if the SG is > 1.0, the liquid will sink in water, if the SG <1.0, the liquid will float in water
Threshold limit value (TLV) - An atmospheric concentration of a contaminant to which nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed after a working lifetime, without adverse effect; a TLV < 10 indicates a very hazardous material
Threshold limit value - ceiling limit (TLV-C) - The amount of concentration that should not be exceeded, even for brief periods
Threshold limit value - short term exposure (TLV -STEL) - Maximum concentration for a continuous 15 minute exposure period; the most allowed are four such periods in a workday, with at least 60 minutes between exposure periods, as long as the allowable time-weighted average is not exceeded
Threshold limit value - time weighted average (TLV-TWA) - The allowable time-weighted average concentration for a normal 8-hour workday or 40-hour workweek
Vapor density (VD) - Relative density or weight of a vapor or gas compared with an equal volume of air; if VD is < 1.0, the vapor or gas will tend to rise in the air; if VD is >1.0, the vapor or gas will fall in the air; substances with high VD will collect in the bottom of tanks
Vapor Pressure (VP) - A measure of the pressure exerted by a saturated vapor above its liquid phase in a closed container (a high VP indicates that a liquid will evaporate easily)
Volatile - Used to describe a liquid that readily evaporates

2.1 Chemical Use Guidelines
  • Never use a product that doesn't have a label to reference. (Read the MSDS)
  • It's a good idea to visit a product manufacturer's Web site and download the material safety data sheet, which provides information on safety and health issues.
  • Don't mix chemicals without specific authorization from the formulator. Mixing incompatible products can render them ineffective, or it can produce toxic materials that present unsafe exposure conditions.
  • Always use personal protective equipment. Protect your eyes and hands from exposure to harsh chemicals; gloves, goggles or whatever is appropriate.
  • When pouring chemicals, pour concentrates into the water and not vice-versa. This way whatever splashes out will be primarily water and not concentrated chemicals.
  • If a little bit will do the job, mixing more concentrated chemical won't do it better. At best, that is a waste of time; at worst you may ruin something or cause physical harm.
  • Never pour chemicals into an empty, unlabeled container.
  • Don't store flammable chemicals near a source of heat.
  • Pesticides, fungicides, etc. always must be stored in a safe and elevated position.
  • Ventilate when engaging in cleaning or other applications using strong chemicals, especially dry solvents.
  • Always test a product on an item being worked on in an inconspicuous location before applying an item overall.
 NOTE: Always obey professional instructions in using and handling chemicals

Brief About the Author
Engr. Chinenye Justin Nwaogwugwu (MACJAMES), a registered Chemical Engineer with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and a member of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE). Studied Chemical Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. An advanced trained Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) personnel by Nigerian Institute of Safety Professionals (NISP).He received entrepreneurship and innovation management trainings from Doug Richard's School for Startups, London; PAN Atlantic University/Enterprise Development Centre, Nigeria and Founder Centric, United Kingdom.
His Chemicals Innovations: Selected for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2014/2015 by Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom. Won Federal Government of Nigeria Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria award 2012. Qualified for "Create the Future Design Contest"2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 sponsored by SAE international, COMSOL and MOUSER,USA. Selected as top 1000 innovations in Africa (from 54 countries) by TEEP 2016, among others.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Entrepreneurial Ventures: The MD/CEO Macjames Global Resources Limited and Managing Director of Macjames Ikiomoye Technologies Limited, manufacturers of NAFDAC and DPR approved/registered innovative Household-Institutional & Industrial-Oilfield (HI&IO) chemicals. He has over fourteen years practical work, research and entrepreneurial experiences including Manufacturing, Plant Design and Construction, Water treatment, Corrosion Control, Client Services, Marketing/Sales, Management and Consultancy from over ten industries and institutions.
He is an innovator, a consultant, a great learner, a mentor and an entrepreneur with practical transferable skills and ideas.


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