In the medical waste management and environmental waste management arenas, rules and regulations regarding proper waste disposal are often changing. One such area that has recently undergone a significant change relates to MSDS sheets. While this used to be the proper terminology, everything has now shifted to SDS sheets.

What Do MSDS and SDS Stand For?

MSDS stands for material safety data sheet, and SDS stands for safety data sheet. While industry standard used to be the MSDS sheet, everything was recently converted to SDSs.

Why the Shift?

The change to the SDS sheet came about in an effort to make these data sheets more universally readable and useful. By making the form adhere to one global standard, anybody (in any country) can read the SDS and understand the information contained there.

What Is an SDS Sheet?

If you use chemicals in your place of business, it's likely that you have encountered material safety data sheets—or SDSs—but what are MSDS sheets exactly? What kind of information do they convey?

This sheet essentially identifies the type of chemical you're using and how to safely handle that chemical. It can include information such as:

  • The exact chemical constituents of the material.
  • The proper protocol if spilled.
  • The proper protocol if that chemical is ingested, gets in one's eyes, or gets on one's skin.
  • Whether the chemical constitutes hazardous material.
  • The concentration of the chemicals.
  • Proper waste disposal methods for that product.

Where Do I Get MSDS Sheets?

An MSDS (or, now, SDS) comes directly from the manufacturer of that product. If you need to secure materials safety data sheets for the products you're using, one approach is to contact the manufacturer directly.

Another strategy would be to work with a company that provides OSHA compliance training. Within that training would likely be a section related to SDS protocol, how to store these sheets electronically for future retrieval, and a chemical database to find specific data sheets.

SDS Sheets and Waste Management Companies

This MSDS SDS issue can be confusing—especially if you're used to working with materials safety data sheets. If you're confused or unsure about these forms, consider working with a local waste management company.

These companies can provide valuable insight about the laws concerning SDSs and shipping regulations, and as part of OSHA compliance training packages, some can even provide access to searchable SDS databases.

Just make sure you're working with knowledgeable waste management companies that are up to date on all these issues. The chemical makeup of a product does change over time, so you want to work with companies that can provide the most recent (and most accurate) data sheets.

Whether you work for a doctor's office, university, manufacturing plant, or more, these data sheets are required for all chemicals on site, and if they aren't present or accurate, the consequences could be dire should there be an incident involving the materials.

For more information about MSDSs, the recent switch to SDSs, or how these forms can affect your business, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta, Georgia waste management company.