A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) book is a specialized, formal document containing information about the characteristics and hazards of a given substance. Not only is this a required document across many industries, but it also provides employees with quick access to important information about substances—especially as pertaining to special/safe handling.
MSDSs should include the following:
- Vital information about the manufacturer:
- Phone number
- Fax number
- Specific information about the substance in question:
- Hazardous ingredients
- Chemical identity
- Storage and handling information
- Cleanup, disposal and spill control information
- Data about fire and explosion
- Physical and chemical properties
- Data about health hazards
- Data about exposure limits
- Reactivity data
- Warning for protective gear usage
Choosing a binder
First and foremost, you must choose which type of binder you’re going to use for your MSDS book. You may think this is a straightforward step, but there are actually many different kinds of binders available: poly, vinyl, entrapment, tuned-edge, etc.
We recommend using a poly binder for your MSDS book because it’s flexible, lightweight, cost effective and, most importantly, durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions of manufacturing environments.
How to make an MSDS book
Once you’ve decided on a binder type, it’s time to begin process of assembling your MSDS book.
Putting together an MSDS binder takes some time and research, but it’s well worth the effort. We’ve outlined the steps for you below.
1. Inventory your products
The only materials that need to be in your MSDS binder are those that require any type of special handling to prevent harmful effects. An example is gasoline – if mishandled, it can cause skin rashes, eye injuries or catch fire.
For some products, size also matters.
For example, if an 8-ounce bottle of wood glue is being used for its intended purpose, it’s considered a consumer product and does not need to be mentioned in the binder.
However, if you have a 50-gallon drum of wood glue that you intend to break down into smaller containers, it’s no longer considered a consumer product. It now has the possibility of being mishandled and should be added to your MSDS binder.
2. Find MSDS sheets online
After you’ve compiled your list of potentially hazardous materials, you’ll need to find the corresponding MSDS sheets for each.
The sheets can be found online simply by searching for “MSDS” and the material in question.
All manufacturers of potentially hazardous substances must supply free MSDS sheets in accordance with OSHA guidelines. Customers should receive them with any initial purchase, but this doesn’t always happen.
3. Create an MSDS index
Once all of the MSDS sheets are compiled, it’s time to make an index for quick access to each product’s information.
OSHA does not outline any requirements for the index. It can be as simple as the inventory list with page numbers for each product. If your list is larger with, say, around 75 materials, you may want to break up the list into categories.
Remember, the key is for employees to be able to access the information easily and quickly.
MSDS binder organization
If you need to create your own MSDS binder, there are three basic sections you’ll want to include:
- Hazard Communications Policy
This section is further broken down into three other sections:
- Who is responsible for the MSDS binder and what is expected of this person?
- How the responsible party uses the MSDS sheets?
- MSDS inventory list/index
- Safety data sheets
- OSHA publications
For a high-quality, custom MSDS binder, look to Binders, Inc. Our sturdy, well-made professional binders, along with index tab dividers, are sure to keep all your information safe and organized.