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What is a Safety Data Sheet?

Safety Data Sheets, or SDS's, provide important information about a chemical's properties along with important health and safety data. In addition, other important information about the chemical manufacturer, fire-fighting procedures, protective equipment requirements, and spill clean up procedures are provided.  Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide SDS's with all shipments.  It is the employer's responsibility to make this information available to their employees.

Employers are also required to maintain a file of all of the SDS's for every hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This information must be readily accessible to all employees during the work shift.  Employers must ensure that when a new product or chemical is brought into the workplace, that employees are provided with the information from the SDS and are provided with training on the hazards of the new chemical. 

The Columbia University Hazard Communication Program manual can be reviewed by visiting the Policy section of the EH&S homepage. If you have questions about handling or protecting yourself from a particular chemical or product contact the EH&S office at (212)854-8749 (MS) or (212)305-6780 (CUMC) or send e-mail to ehrs@columbia.edu (MS) or ehs-safety@columbia.edu (CUMC).