Canada - MSDS Information

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are designed to help you understand how to work safely with chemicals in your work area. Material Safety Data Sheets are required documents under Canadian WHMIS (WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM) regulations and should be readily available for your review. Under current regulations, MSDS's are required to have 9 sections which explain the proper ways to use, handle, and store chemicals in your work area; however the 16-section, 'ANSI-format' is also allowed, and is widely used. In addition, MSDS's provide information regarding the health hazards associated with the use of chemicals, the precautionary measures to follow, and the emergency procedures for spills, fire, and first aid.

The following blank RMCC MSDS sample will help you to become familiar with using MSDS's. The MSDS is a very important tool which can help you as an employee understand the dangers associated with the chemicals in the work area and most importantly, the proper ways to protect yourself and other employees.

Be sure to read the MSDS for each chemical in your work area before attempting to work with a chemical you are unfamiliar with. Remember to always consult with your supervisor if you have specific questions concerning MSDS's or chemicals in your work area.

Section 1
The introductory section of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can include the chemical manufacturer's and/or supplier's name, address and emergency phone number, trade name, product end use, WHMIS category, preparer information, telephone number of preparer and date MSDS prepared.

Section 2
This section must include a "Hazardous Ingredients" section identifying all list hazardous ingredients listed on the WHMIS Hazardous Ingredient Disclosure list. In addition, the option to disclose other chemicals in the product is allowed under an "Other Ingredients" section in the table. In this section you might also see the terms TLV (Threshold Limit Value) and PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit). Both terms are used to express the airborne concentration levels of a chemical to which most persons can safely be exposed during a normal workday. Another term, C.A.S. (Chemical Abstract Service), will usually be listed in this section of the MSDS. The C.A.S. numbers identify specific chemicals according to information published by the American Chemical Society. The percent range of the chemical is disclosed. The Oral (ingested) and Dermal (on the skin) LD 50 (lethal dose- the amount of the chemical given to the animal (usually a rat, mouse or rabbit) that resul in the death of a least 50% of the number of animals tested) may also be disclosed, if available. The LC 50 may also be disclosed if available. (LC means the Lethal Concentration of inhaled chemicals that cause 50% of the animals tested to die when exposed. The duration of exposure to the chemical, and species of animal it is tested upon, is also disclosed.)

Section 3
This section describes the health effects associated with being overexposed to the chemical through ingestion, inhalation, and skin or eye contact. The information may include: the acute (immediate) and chronic (long-term) effects of overexposure to the chemical, whether the chemical is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), and medical conditions that may be aggravated upon contact with the chemical.

Section 4
This section offers appropriate First Aid procedures to follow should an employee be exposed to the product. This section typically provides an explanation of the type of aid that should be given to the exposed person, such as administering oxygen, non-induction of vomiting, the immediate rinsing of eyes or skin to prevent absorption or irritation and getting medical attention.

Section 5
This section helps you determine the products flash point, which is the temperature at which a chemical will release enough flammable vapors to ignite. Under WHMIS regulations those chemicals that ignite between 37.8 °C (100 °F) and 93 °C (200 °F), are classified as combustible; those that ignite below 37.8 °C (100 °F) are classified as flammable. In addition this section usually lists the chemical's upper and lower flammability limits, proper types of extinguishing media required to safely put out the fire (example: CO2, water, foam, etc.), special firefighting procedures, hazardous combustion products and any unusual fire and explosion hazards associated with the product.

Section 6
This section lists the procedure to follow when a chemical is accidentally released or spilled. It will also cover types of cleanup and protective equipment needed to safely contain or clean up a spill as well as proper ways to dispose of the chemical.

Section 7
This section usually discusses special precautions to be taken during handling and storage of the product, such as removing contaminated clothing and laundering before re-use, avoiding skin, eye or clothing contact, washing hands thoroughly after use, not breathing mists/ vapours, keeping away from heat, sparks or flame or if there are any hazards associated with the empty containers. Also, this section may discuss any other health or safety concerns that have not already been mentioned in another section of the MSDS.

Section 8
This section lists the types of special protective equipment (respirator, gloves, eye protection, ventilation) that are recommended for use when working with the product. Remember, there are various types of protective equipment that are specially designed for certain tasks. The suggested personal protective equipment (PPE) listed in this section is a general recommendation only; it is up to your employer to properly assign appropriate PPE based on usage of the product. This means that when using the chemical every 10 - 20 minutes in an 8-hour period versus using once per day for 2 minutes would create a greater need for better PPE. Consult with your supervisor to ensure you are using the correct type for the work you are performing.

Section 9
This section lists such important physical properties of the product such as pH, boiling point, vapour density, percent volatile, appearance and odour, and others. This information helps determine the degree of hazards associated with the chemical in different work environments. For example, pH (based on a range of 1-14) determines whether the product is an acid (low pH of 1-2), neutral (6-8) or alkaline (12-14). Both acidic and alkaline products can cause burns to skin and eyes if used incorrectly. Vapour density describes the weight of a vapour relative to an equal volume of air (air = 1). If a chemical has a vapor density greater than 1, the vapor will be heavier than air, and will fall, and hug the ground.

Section 10
The information contained in this section helps you determine if the product will react with other chemicals or conditions. Chemicals that are reactive (unstable) may explode, burn, or release toxic substances under certain conditions. In addition, this section usually tells you if the product is stable or unstable and lists any chemicals or substances that might be incompatible with the product.

Section 11
This section contains any toxicological information, such as oral or dermal testing data on the product, whether the product is a sensitizer (i.e. causes allergies), whether it, or it's components, can cause cancer (carcinogenicity), reproductive effects ( i.e. low sperm count), birth defects (teratogenicity), or genetic effects (mutagenicity). In toxicology tests, relatively high doses of the chemical are administered to animals to exaggerate the potential for human exposure. The data included in this section may include acute toxicity tests, which are used to predict potential adverse health effects from a single exposure to the product or the individual components of the product. The tests may also include chronic toxicity testing conducted to ascertain potential long-term exposure to the product or its' components.

Section 12
The information in this section may contain information from aquatic toxicity testing on either the product or its components. A specific species of fish and/or microorganism is chosen for the test to see the effects of the chemical on the organism. In addition, information on the product's (or it's components) biodegradability, mobility, persistence and it's tendency to bioaccumulate (move up the food chain) may also be included.

Section 13
Contains a generic statement for disposing of the chemical. It is important to follow your local (municipal), provincial, and federal regulations when you need to dispose of the chemical. Each municipality may have a different regulation pertaining to disposal.

Section 14
This section may give any transportation (Transport Canada) information for the product, and whether the product is classed as a Marine Pollutant.

Section 15
All pertinent regulatory information such as DSL (Domestic Substance List ) status and WHMIS Classification (repeated from section I) is contained in this section.

Section 16
The last section includes a disclaimer statement but could include any additional information