According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate all the chemicals they deal with. Based on this evaluation, they are supposed to prepare labels for the containers. Furthermore, they are also required to prepare a detailed sheet stating all the technical information and data. Such sheets are referred to as the Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS. Also, the employees should have the provisions to access these data sheets as and when they want to. The MSDS should be available at the workplace at all times. However, it is important to know how to get information quickly and easily from these sheets. There are certain sections that should be studied carefully before working with a product. 40 hour Hazwoper training courses teach everything about these MSDS in detail.
Your first step should be to examine the hazardous identification section first. Along with that you should check the first aid section. You are working with hazardous substances and thus should know how exactly dangerous can it get working with it. You should also know all that has to be done in case of direct contact with the chemical. Make sure that you have first aid close by when you are working with a hazardous product.
Next, you should find out the safety equipments that are required while dealing with the chemical. The section that includes this information is called the exposure control section. You will find out, in this section, whether you need gloves, protective goggles, respirator etc. Follow the instructions carefully.
The section called accidental release will tell you all about what has to be done in case of a spill. It will also discuss the correct methods and safety precautions that are required to be taken while cleaning spills.
The fire fighting section of tells you how to extinguish a fire if it occurs. This is usually the case with inflammable products. The section will tell you if the product releases toxic fumes when burnt and the fire fighting tools that are required.
Handle the product with care and store it in a safe place. The chemicals come intact in containers made by the manufacturers. But, in case, the containers get damaged, you should know what has to be done. All the requirements for storage are mentioned in the storage and handling section of its Material Safety Data Sheet.