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How to use a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to do a COSHH Risk Assessment


When completing a COSHH Risk Assessment you will need to refer to a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). These Guidance Notes on how to use a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to do a COSHH Risk Assessment take you through the type of information that you can find on a MSDS and how to use this in completing your COSHH risk assessment.

A MSDS is provided by all manufacturers for all their products that may have any adverse effects. These effects may be things like occupational dermatitis caused by continued exposure to shampoo or engine cleaning fluids, or it could be brick or flour dust causing asthma. The list is wide and varied. Even some apparently harmless substances such as glue will have a MSDS.

A MSDS should tell you everything you need to know about a chemical product from a health and safety perspective.

The MSDS will tell you:

• Who makes it, their contact details in case you need to have any more information in an emergency.
• If it is flammable, what sort of extinguishers you may need.
• How it is hazardous, whether it is hazardous to you, or to the environment etc.
• If there is a recommended exposure time.
• What first aid may be required.

This Guidance Note is intended to be used with the COSHH Risk Assessment form, so that you can complete the risk assessment methodically, and can make sure that you have the right level of protection in place. As with all risk assessments it has to be suitable and sufficient, and these Guidance Notes should facilitate that process.

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