Signs of a poorly written SDS

Chemscape and their authoring business Deerfoot Consulting place a great value on the quality of the SDSs that we produce. There are many options for Safety Data Sheet authoring on the market. Here are some red flags we see when examining SDSs written by low-cost providers and automated authoring programs. The results are poorly written SDSs that do not conform to GHS standards, provide inaccurate information and can even be non-compliant.

Red Flag #1: An inexperienced and untrained SDS Author

Does your SDS Author have proper training, experience and credentials? Deerfoot uses a Registered SDS Author, registered since 2013, which is the premier standard for this work.

Red Flag #2: The structure, presentation and required elements of the SDS does not conform to GHS Standards 

With the implementation of GHS there is greater structure than there used to be in WHMIS 1988.  Chemscape frequently observes short comings in the classification, presentation of required elements in and structure of the document.

Red Flag #3: Use of inaccurate hazard classification 

This is a bit alarming but sometimes incorrect symbols can be used with the classifications the author has listed.

Red Flag #4 Omission of precautionary statements

Chemscape developed a reference document which consolidated the official GHS Purple Book.  https://www.chemscape.com/media/3422/ghs-classification-hp-statements_v2.pdf  This reference document clearly identifies classifications (not how to classify but what statements that must be included after classification.  I will use codes of Precautionary Statements from the link in my comments.  There is some latitude regarding Precautionary Statements based on professional opinion but to entirely exclude Statements these is wrong.

Red Flag #5: No Signal Word or Improper Placement

The signal word (Danger or Warning) needs to be displayed for the product as required according to the WHMIS Act and Regulation.

Red Flag #6 No contact information for author

A reputable author will put their business name and valid contact number on the SDS. If the SDS is ever used as evidence in a court of law the author may be required to testify and provide records to justify their classification and sampling data.

Red Flag #7 The old MSDS was simply retitled as an SDS

Yes, it is true and Bonnie in our data entry department attests to having seen companies swap out the old 9-section MSDS with a new title that says Safety Data Sheet but no other changes have been made other than a new issue date.