Safety Data Sheets provide information on chemical products that help users of those chemicals to make informed decision on their safe use in the work environment.
Information for consumers is more commonly communicated by labelling attached directly to the product packaging.
Both Safety Data Sheets and product labelling describe the classified hazards of the substances present, and give information on handling, storage and emergency measures through a series of standardised Hazard and Precautionary Statements
The REACH regulation requires that suppliers of chemical substances and mixtures (manufacturers, importes, distributors) must provide an up to date Safety Data Sheet if substance or mixture presents a hazard to human health or the environment. This includes substances which have a community (EU) Workplace Exposure Limit
Safety Data Sheets are not required for every product. Where a product meets the criteria for definition as an article under the REACH regulation the supplier is not obligated to provide an SDS, however if the article contains certain substances (candidate SVHC, subject to restriction or authorisation for supply) the Safety Data Sheet is an easily recognisable format to communicate the presence and hazards of such substances along the supply chain
Safety Data Sheets have a defined layout of 16 sections and must be classified according to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations (CLP) EC 1272/2008
Previous EU/EC classification systems enacted in the UK as The Chemicals (Hazard information for Packaging and Supply) Regulations aka CHiP were effectively withdrawn from use as of June 2015. On this date regulation EU 453/2010 describing how to prepare a Safety Data Sheet for the EU market was also withdrawn. Effective June 2017 valid EU SDS must be prepared according to EU 2015/830
CLP adopted the United Nations Globally Harmonsied Systems equally across all EU member states. This means the market now uses international red bordered diamond pictograms, Hazard and Precautionary Statements and a single signal word either Danger or Warning
A Safety Data Sheet is not a risk assessment as required by the UK COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations. You should use the information it contains to help make your own assessment of using the substance or mixture within your working environment.
All actors in the supply chain have a duty to communicate information typically by passing a verified Safety Data Sheet from their supplier to their customer. This communication is two way such that if a customer identifies issues with supplied information their supplier must communicate this back along the supply chain
For further information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/basics/datasheets.htm