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File Name: hse_gov_uk---indg353.asp
WHY DO I NEED A SAFETY DATA SHEET?                     WHY IS A SAFETY DATA SHEET                         WHO PRODUCES SAFETY DATA SHEETS?
IMPORTANT?
If your organisation uses or supplies chemical Your supplier is responsible for providing accurate
products you should know about CHIP and the Safety data sheets are important in helping safety data sheets with dangerous chemicals. The
requirement for safety data sheets. you, or anyone you supply, to make the supplier might be the manufacturer, or an importer
workplace safe and to protect the environment. or distributor.
You should be receiving safety data sheets
with many chemicals, and you may be a More specifically, a safety data sheet contains You should not receive the safety data sheet later
business which has to provide safety data information to help you make a risk than the product itself. However, it may be sent
sheets with your own products. assessment as required by the Control of separately, for example it could be transmitted
Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations electronically (if you have the technology to
This leaflet explains why the information in a (COSHH). receive it).
safety data sheet is important, both to you and
to others. The safety data sheet itself is not an As well as receiving dangerous chemicals you may
assessment. However, it will describe the supply them on to others. It is important that you
hazards, helping you to assess the probability also pass on safety data sheets containing enough
WHAT IS REQUIRED? of those hazards (ie the risk) arising in the information to make sure that the chemicals can
workplace. continue to be used safely. You may be able to use
CHIP, which stands for the Chemicals (Hazard the safety data sheet your suppliers give you to
Information and Packaging for Supply) To help with COSHH risk assessments, HSE produce your own. But it is your responsibility to
Regulations 2002 requires suppliers to identify has developed simple step-by-step guidance, make sure that the safety data sheet is accurate.
the hazards (or dangers) of the chemicals they which starts with the information on the safety
supply. This is called classification. If a chemical data sheet, and ends with an explanation of Even if the safety data sheet is adequate when you
is classified as dangerous under CHIP, your how employers can best protect their workers. receive it, you may need to add extra information if
supplier must provide you with information This guidance, known as COSHH Essentials, you know more about how the product will be used
about the hazards that the chemical presents. is available free on the Internet at www.coshh- than the original supplier could have known.
essentials.org.uk. The information on the
Some hazard information will be provided on safety data sheets is important, especially the
WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS?
labels, but an important requirement of CHIP is boiling point and the classification, because it
that your supplier must provide you with more will help you to do your COSHH Essentials risk
detailed hazard information on a safety data assessment. If this information is not on the CHIP does not cover all hazardous chemicals.
sheet. safety data sheet, you should ask your Some groups of chemicals, such as medicines and
supplier to provide it. cosmetics, are covered by other legislation and
have different rules for packaging and labelling.

Retailers do not have to supply safety data sheets
to the general public. But if you buy a dangerous
chemical from a retailer for use at work, the retailer
must provide a safety data sheet if you ask for one.
Retailers do not have to give you the safety data
sheet with the product, provided they make
arrangements to forward it promptly.
WHERE CAN I FIND FURTHER
In general, you only have to provide safety
INFORMATION?
data sheets with dangerous chemicals.
However, an exception is made for some
chemicals which are not classified as If you need to know more about safety data
dangerous. If they contain either a dangerous sheets the Approved Code of Practice: The
chemical above a certain level or a chemical compilation of safety data sheets Third edition
which has a Community exposure limit, L130 HSE Books 2002 ISBN 0 7176 2371 8 is
suppliers will need to make a safety data sheet available from: HSE Books, PO Box 1999,
available on request. Many suppliers already Sudbury, Suffolk C010 2WA Tel: 01787 881165
provide safety data sheets with chemicals that Fax: 01787 313995. Website:
WHY DO
are not classified. The Health and Safety at www.hsebooks.co.uk
Work etc Act 1974 (section 6) requires
suppliers to provide adequate information on HSE priced publications are also available

I NEED A
the safe use of substances in the workplace. from good booksellers.

WHAT MUST THEY CONTAIN? For information about health and safety ring

SAFETY DATA
HSE鈥檚 InfoLine Tel: 08701 545500 Fax: 02920
CHIP lists 16 headings which must appear on 859260 e-mail:
a safety data sheet. The information included hseinformationservices@natbrit.com or write
under these headings will help you to make to HSE Information Services, Caerphilly
SHEET?
sure that the product is used safely. For Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG. You can
example, the safety data sheet should also visit HSE鈥檚 website: www.hse.gov.uk
describe the hazards the chemical may
present, provide information on how it should
be handled, stored and disposed of and This leaflet contains notes on good
explain what should be done in the case of an practice which are not compulsory but
accident, ie first aid, fire-fighting measures, which you may find helpful in considering
and so on. what you need to do.

Although these headings are obligatory, CHIP
does not specify exactly what information This publication may be freely reproduced,
should be included under them. However, HSE except for advertising, endorsement or
publishes an Approved Code of Practice: The commercial purposes. Please acknowledge
compliation of safety data sheets which offers the source as HSE.
guidance to the sort of information that should
be provided under the headings. But it is the
supplier鈥檚 responsibility to ensure that the user
has enough information to decide how to
protect people at work and the environment. INDG353 Published 6/02 C500
Printed and published by the Health and Safety Executive

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