Products requiring SDSs

Safety Data Sheets are required for specific chemical products for all Industrial and some Professional users.  They are not required for consumers.  The reason for this is that consumers are unlikely to be exposed to hazardous materials to the same extent as industrial and professional users, who require extra information to ensure they are using the materials safely, which is issued as an SDS.

Safety Data Sheets are required by law for industrial and professional users of hazardous substances, and should be issued on or before first supply (including supply of samples) for:

Safety Data Sheets should be available on request for mixtures (or substances containing impurities) which don’t come into the above categories requiring mandatory supply, but which contain:

  • ≥ 0,1 % of a substance classified as skin sensitiser category 1, 1B, respiratory sensitiser category 1, 1B, or carcinogenic category 2, or
  • ≥ 0,01 % of a substance classified as skin sensitiser category 1A, respiratory sensitiser category 1A, or
  • ≥ one tenth of the specific concentration limit for a substance classified as skin sensitiser or respiratory sensitiser with specific concentration limit lower than 0,1 %, or
  • ≥ 0,1 % of a substance classified as toxic to reproduction categories 1A, 1B or 2, or with effects on or via lactation; or
  • at least one substance in an individual concentration of ≥ 1 % by weight for non-gaseous mixtures and ≥ 0,2 % by volume for gaseous mixtures either:

This information is summarised in these flow charts:

When you need and SDS and label for a mixture (click on image to enlarge it).

When you need an SDS and label for a mixture (click on images to enlarge them).

These flowcharts can also be downloaded for reference:  When do you need an SDS – substances flowchart and When do you need an SDS – mixtures flowchart after 1st June 2015.

Voluntary SDSs

There are two situations where an SDS is not required legally, but where it can be sensible to issue one:

  • Products which are not classified for CLP and do not otherwise require an SDS
  • Products which have supply chain communication requirements under Article 32 of REACH

The reason for issuing a voluntary SDS for a product which does not require one (not classified for CLP etc) is usually because industrial (and often professional users) expect an SDS with all “chemical” products, and it keeps the customer happy.

The reason for issuing a voluntary SDS for REACH Article 32 products is because they have a requirement to communicate information down the supply chain, and an SDS is the simplest way of doing this, as it can be included with the mandatory SDSs in your record system.  SDSs are also recognised by the end user as containing important supply chain information, in a way that e.g. a technical data sheet might not be.

Voluntary SDSs are not legally required to have the same format as a mandatory SDS, although in the UK, the HSE recommend that you use the same 16-section format, ideally with all the sub-headings, so that users are not confused by having two separate formats in use.  Another alternative is to call the document something different, e.g. Product Information Sheet, even if you use a similar layout to the SDS.

For more information on REACH Article 32 communication duties, see .

Does REACH registration automatically mean an SDS is required?

Interestingly, REACH registration does not automatically trigger the requirement for an SDS to be issued.

The only requirements are those listed above, which means that a REACH registered product which is not classified for CLP, and does not meet the other mandatory SDS requirements, does not require an SDS.

This is despite SDS requirements sitting within the REACH regulation.





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