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A safety meeting in a nutshell
UNDERSTANDING MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS (MSDSs)
Note to the Discussion Leader: Check your
facility. See what hazardous chemicals or materials you have on site . Next,
obtain the MSDSs for several of those materials. Then, review this lesson and
your MSDSs thoroughly before training begins. Make overheads or provide copies
of the MSDSs so students can follow along. Ensure that employees know where to
If you use hazardous chemicals at your workplace, knowing what is in the
material safety data sheet (MSDS) can save your life—or the lives of your
employees. That's why Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
regulations require employers-to provide MSDSs. This lesson focuses on the
information contained in the MSDS and, more importantly, will explain what it
Ask the group to help you identify, and then discuss what information can be
found in a MSDS. Make sure the group is aware that OSHA does not require a
standardized MSDS form. Use the list below as a guide. Record any other items
Information found in MSDSs, include:
- Material identity—Chemical, common or brand names;
- Hazardous ingredients;
- Physical and chemical characteristics;
- Firefighting measures;
- Health hazards—Toxic effects, burns, irritations, etc.;
- Exposure data—Routes and safe limits of exposure, usually listed in
parts per million or milligrams per cubic meter;
- Safe handling instructions and applicable control methods; Emergency and
- Stability and reactivity—How stable the material is, how it may react to
other substances or conditions;
- Transportation and disposal—Safe methods of transport and disposal
according to federal, state and local laws;
- The name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer or person who
can provide additional information.
Note to discussion leader: Review the
following partial list of MSDS definitions with employees. Locate these terms in
the MSDSs used in your facility.
- Action level—The exposure level that triggers OSHA regulations to take
- Acute effects—Adverse health effects that occur immediately following an
- Bonding—The connection of two objects with clamps and wire to equalize
the electrical potential between them.
- Ceiling limit—The exposure limit for a hazardous material (established
by OSHA) which you should not exceed.
- Chronic effects—Adverse health effects which develop slowly over time
and persist or recur frequently.
- Exposure limit (eight hours)—The maximum exposure an average person may
have in an eight-hour period without harmful effects.
- Fire diamond—National Fire Protection association (NFPA) labeling system
provides hazard information for a material. Numbers 0 - 4 denote level of
hazard: 0 is low hazard, 4 is high hazard.
- BLUE = Health hazards
- RED = Flammability
- YELLOW = Reactivity
- WHITE = Other special hazards
- Flash point—The lowest temperature that a flammable liquid gives off
enough vapor to ignite.
- Fume—An airborne dispersion of tiny solid particles given off when a
metal is heated.
- High efficiency particulate air filter—A filter that can remove 99.97
percent of particles as small as 0.03 microns.
- Immediately dangerous to life and health—A hazardous condition which
could cause serious injury or death within 30 minutes.
- Lower Explosive Limit—The lowest concentration of flammable gas or vapor
(percent in air) that will burn or explode if an ignition source is present.
- Short-term Exposure Limit—Up to 15 minutes exposure limit; should not
occur more than four times in one day.
"TO DO" LIST:
- Review this information with all employees,
especially your service technicians...and document training session.
- Assign one person to be responsible for
obtaining, gathering and maintaining your MSDSs.
- Be sure that all employees, especially new
hires, know the location of your MSDSs and how to read one.
Circle the correct answers.
come from liquid chemicals. True or False
Flash point helps determine a material's flammability. True or False
NFPA fire diamond color blue represents reactivity True or False
health effects occur immediately. True or False
fire rating of 4 means the material is not flammable. True or False
know how locate and read an MSDS. True or False
Answers- 1.F, 2.T, 3.F, 4.T, 5.F, 6.T.
-- from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
Safety Leaders Guide