Material Safety Data Sheets

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that provides health and safety information about products, substances or chemicals that are classified as hazardous substances or dangerous goods.  

MSDS's provide information on:

  • the manufacturer or importing supplier
  • the product (e.g. its name, ingredients and  properties)
  • how the product can affect your health
  • precautions for using or storing it safely

Who prepares and provides MSDSs?

Manufacturers and importers of dangerous goods and hazardous substances must:

  • prepare an MSDS for each of their products
  • provide the current MSDS to employers or occupiers of premises where the product is used or stored
  • review and revise each MSDS as often as necessary and at least every 5 years to make sure that the information is accurate and up to date

Downstream suppliers of dangerous goods and hazardous substances must also provide MSDSs developed by the manufacturer or importer. This does not apply to suppliers who are retailers (e.g. hardware stores).

Employers' responsibilities

Employers using or storing dangerous goods or hazardous substances on their premises must ensure that:

  • they obtain an up to date MSDS for each of these products
  • their employees, contractors and emergency services personnel have access to the MSDS

Information To Be Included On An MSDS

The Australian Safety & Compensation Council (ASCC) has developed a National Code of Practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets. The Code sets out minimum standards for the content, format and layout of an MSDS.

Under Victorian legislation, the MSDS must be written in English, be legible and include the following information:

  • the product name of the dangerous goods or hazardous substance
  • the name, address and telephone number of the Australian manufacturer or importing supplier
  • Australian telephone number for information in the event of an emergency
  • the date the MSDS was prepared or last reviewed
  • a statement that the substance is a hazardous substance (if applicable)
  • the proper shipping name, UN number, class, subsidiary risk and packing group for dangerous goods
  • the hazard classification for hazardous substances
  • the risk and safety phrases for hazardous substances
  • the chemical or generic names of the individual ingredients in the hazardous substance or dangerous goods as required by the Victorian legislation
  • the proportion or proportion ranges of the ingredients required to be identified with a chemical or generic name
  • first aid measures
  • emergency procedures
  • any relevant health hazard information
  • the chemical and physical properties of the substance or its ingredients including any hazardous decomposition products likely to be generated during normal use
  • precautions for the safe use of the substance, including engineering controls and personal protective equipment
  • precautions for the safe storage and disposal of the substance
  • the exposure standard (if any) for a hazardous substances or its ingredients
  • information on the health effects of the substance or its ingredients