Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
An SDS should be obtained for each chemical that is used by your department, division, laboratory or shop. Each SDS must be specific to the product that it describes and specific to the manufacturer of the substance.
EH&S recommends that each department or laboratory that uses chemicals, place one person in charge of maintaining the Safety Data Sheets. This person is responsible for making sure that there is an SDS on file for every hazardous substance in the in area. Each SDS needs to be kept in a location where everyone in the division or lab group can access the information. EH&S recommends filing SDSs in a binder labeled SDS and keep it an area where safety and emergency information is kept. While an electronic format is an acceptable way to store SDSs, it is recommended to keep a hard copy as well (in case of a power outage or computer failure).
Web Based Retrieval
The web is a convenient and quick way to retrieve Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). However, one should use caution when retrieving SDSs from the Internet. Some of the SDSs found on the Internet may be of questionable quality or may not be the most current version of the SDS. You should be using the most current SDS for that chemical and be sure that it is specific to the manufacturer of the chemical as well. When in doubt consult with EH&S.
The University of California's Offices of Environmental Health and Safety have combined efforts and resources to create a "one-stop" source for chemical safety information. This search engine contains chemicals from many of the key chemical suppliers to the UC system. Follow the "UC SDS Site" link for access. To connect directly, you must use a recognized UC campus computer. If you are off-campus, you will need to enter a username and password for access. Contact EH&S if you are having difficulty connecting.
Additional Web Based Information on Hazardous Substances
UCLA employees and students also have access to a database known as TOMES that provides additional web based information on hazardous substances. TOMES is a collection of databases comprised of toxicology and hazard communication information. TOMES information cannot be used in lieu of manufacturer specific SDSs, but TOMES can be a valuable resource to augment the SDS information.
Manufacturer SDS Retrieval
The manufacturer or distributor of hazardous substances is required to provide an SDS for every substance that they distribute. The manufacturer is often the best source of the SDS, since the information provided is usually the most current and accurate. Manufacturer SDSs are available through the following routes:
Included with Chemical Shipment
Often the SDS for the chemical is received with the shipping papers. If so, simply collect the most recent copy and file it in your SDS binder.
Requesting an SDS from the Manufacturer
Information about the manufacturer should be present on the label of the substance or with the shipping papers. Call the manufacturer and request an SDS. Many companies will fax the SDS to you as soon as they get a request. Many companies also have SDSs available on their website. Contact EH&S for assistance, if you do not receive a response from the manufacturer within 1 week.
EH&S is available to help you get started in collecting the SDSs that you require. If you are having trouble getting an SDS from a manufacturer, do not hesitate to call EH&S for assistance.
Another component of Hazard Communication is container labeling. All containers of chemicals at UCLA should be labeled as to the contents even if you know what is in the container.
Labels on purchased chemicals must contain:
- The identity of the chemical
- Appropriate hazard warnings
- The name of the company that manufactured or distributed the chemical
EH&S recommends that chemicals are dated as they are received. Good labeling practices will prevent laboratory accidents and can avoid costly charges for disposal of unknown chemicals.