Approach Management

Hazardous Chemicals and Safety Data Sheets

Please don’t work with chemicals until you have read the SDS and understand what you need to do to keep yourself safe.  Learn more here...



Chemicals can cause serious hazards to your health and safety.

A contractor was performing a commercial tenant improvement project, and was allowing the painters to spray DryFall paint in the same space as other trades.

The superintendent was under the impression that that since the product is water borne it was not toxic.

Words such as Water-borne or Low VOC tend to give people the impression that SDS sheets are not required or don’t need to be paid attention to.

Conveying material with water rather than solvents (VOC’s) does lessen the amount of toxic/flammable materials but that does not mean that there are no safety protocols that need to be followed.

Spraying paint into the atmosphere compounds the health concerns by atomizing the materials into the workspace that workers are breathing, greatly increasing the likelihood of overexposure.
Breathing anything but clean air has a negative effect on health and should be avoided as much as possible.


Chemicals can be:
          Reactive: may react with air, water, or itself and burn, explode, or release vapors
          Flammable: they catch fire easily
          Explosive: they explode under certain conditions
          Corrosive: they burn the skin or eyes
          Toxic: they’re poisonous


It is important to know the routes of entry that chemicals can take to get into your body:
          Skin and eye contact
          Swallowing (ingestion)


You can block these routes of entry by using good safety practices and the right personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses/goggles, gloves, protective clothing and even respirators.

Remember—you can guard against chemical hazards.
A good safety attitude protects everyone—you, your family, and the company.


How do you know what the hazards are? This information can be found on the safety data sheets (SDS). It is important to know how to read the safety data sheets (SDS) and then follow what the document tells you do.


Where are these documents located?
They should be available where workers are using the chemicals, in a binder, in the job shack or job site office.


What to look for on the safety data sheet are found on the following bullet points of each SDS;

(2) Hazards identified on the SDS will have different pictorials that identify what the hazards are,
(4) First aid measures that need to be taken such as a 15-minute emergency eyewash
(6) Environmental, what to do in case there is an accidental spill
(7) Proper storage and handling of the chemicals and finally
(8) The correct PPE you should use when handling the chemical


The SDS has a lot of information that could be very helpful in responding to a case where as an example a chemical were to splash into your eyes. Reading the SDS after an event is not effective because in the moment of an emergency, co-workers may not know how to respond correctly. Correct and quick response can prevent or minimize exposure events.


So a couple of things to remember;

  1. Know where the safety data sheets are located
  2. READ the SDS before you use the chemicals
  3. Make sure you correctly stored the chemicals
  4. Make sure you know what to do in case of an accidental release of the chemical
  5. Have the correct first aid equipment nearby
  6. And make sure you use the correct PPE when using the chemical


Please don’t work with chemicals until you have read the SDS and understand what you need to do to keep yourself safe.


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