Safety data sheets are incredibly important documents that contain important information regarding the properties of potentially dangerous chemicals.
They are applicable to a surprising number of common products found in many stores, such as cleaning products, glue, and hair dyes.
Anyone handling these products should be equipped with the relevant safety information, which is why it is imperative that your retail space is prepared with the appropriate safety data sheets for products sold.
What is the purpose of a safety data sheet?
They outline potential hazards, such as physical, health, and environmental, but also provide instructions on how to handle, transport, and store such chemicals safely. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer, distributor, and importer to provide safety data sheets.
They should be readily available such as this example from an adhesive company. Safety data sheets are a legal requirement of both the manufacturer and distributor so they should be relatively easy to locate.
What is included in a safety data sheet?
Generally, safety data sheets will be extensive documents consisting of multiple sections. However, essentially, safety data sheets consist of the following;
General information, any potential hazards or risks associated with the chemical alongside the composition of the chemical itself. This section is critical for enabling the identification of any chemicals which have the potential to become hazards in a retail environment.
Health and safety procedures, how to identify any possible symptoms of exposure to the chemical, and recommended medical treatment, especially in the case of exposure. This section will give the correct advice on how to deal with potential risks or medical emergencies which could arise.
How to store the chemical and what steps to take in case of any spillages – correct storage and transportation are key when dealing with any sort of chemical and following these instructions helps to reduce any liability should the chemicals become a danger.
Technical information such as properties and toxicology.
How do I find safety data sheets?
Safety data sheets can be digital or physical, however, they must always be present in the workplace.
Retailers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of both their staff and customers. Once found it’s recommended that all staff are easily able to access them if needed.
If you are unsure of the location of a specific safety data sheet then it’s generally easy to find the information needed online via a search engine or directly through the manufacturer.
Do safety data sheets only apply to dangerous products?
Safety data sheets can sound a little intimidating, however, they are applicable to any product which contains chemicals – be that cosmetics, home fragrances, glue, paint, the list is infinite.
Recently customers misread safety data sheets to deduce that Bath & Body Works products aren’t suitable during pregnancy. However, the use of safety data sheets doesn’t mean the said product is the cause of imminent peril.
It is simply a document that outlines vital safety information to those who may be exposed to said chemicals, something which applies to ‘any chemical known in the workplace’ as issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Safety data sheets are applicable to a whole host of otherwise innocuous products, which is why it’s important that they are readily available in every applicable retail space.
A simple household disinfectant can be corrosive prior to dilution or even cause a fire hazard when spilled, therefore it is imperative for all retail employees to be equipped with the relevant safety information such as how to store and dispose of it safely.
Ensure you check that any safety information is up-to-date and in compliance with regulations.