Chemical & Laboratory Safety
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that employees be provided information about the physical and health hazards of the chemicals they use or are potentially exposed to in their work area. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are the primary communication tool that provides the most basic, essential information about a hazardous substance or mixture. Under the HCS, it is required of manufacturers to author an SDS for any hazardous chemical or product.
Federal law requires that an SDS for all of the hazardous chemicals used at a location must be readily accessible to employees. Electronic access is permitted as an alternative to paper copies as long as no barriers to immediate employee access are created (i.e. An employee asking a supervisor for access to an SDS constitutes a barrier. If computer access is not provided for an employee, accessible paper copies are required.)
Those responsible (supervisor, researcher, instructor) for a given work or research area must ensure that the needed SDSs are available to employees, that employees understand how to access their SDSs, and that access to the SDSs is barrier-free.
EHS and UVA Health System are in partnership to provide the UVA community with access to a searchable web-based SDS library. Each department, laboratory, or unit is responsible for ensuring up-to-date SDSs are available for the hazardous chemicals they work with.
Search the UVA SDS database (NetBadge required)
From your search, you can view, download and/or print any SDS.
Be sure to provide printed copies of SDS to employees that do not have electronic access.
How to read an SDS
Always read an SDS prior to working with that material. It is here that you will learn invaluable information on how you can work safely: the hazards (health and physical), how to protect yourself from exposure (controls and PPE), signs and symptoms of exposure, proper handling and storage, and more. Familiarize yourself with the format; A standardized 16-section format was a result of the 2012 HCS revision that adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This format is required of all chemical manufacturers in the United States and many countries world-wide. A short description of each section can be found here.
Other Chemical Information Resources