Skip to main content

System Status: 

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Overview

Learn about employer and employee responsibilities for accessing and using SDSs to develop safe work procedures.


A Safety Data Sheet (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheet) is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical. It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. SDSs contain useful information such as toxicity, flash point, procedures for spills and leaks, storage guidelines, and exposure control.

SDS Sources

Safety Data Sheets are one of many tools for evaluating chemical hazards. Before beginning work with a hazardous material, consult several safety sources to obtain sufficient information on how to protect yourself.

Employer responsibilities

Employers are required by law to provide workers with access to SDSs. UC San Diego facilities where hazardous materials are handled are also required by law to either retain hard copies of SDSs provided by manufacturers or teach all personnel how to obtain SDSs electronically.

Note: Electronic Safety Data Sheets are preferred because UCSD has a large and frequently changing inventory of chemicals.

Employee responsibilities

Employees must know how to read and understand an SDS. To learn more, see Safety Data Sheets Explained.

Related policies

Labs: Contact an EH&S Research Assistance Program specialist.
Shops and studios: Contact an EH&S General Safety specialist.

Note: this page has a friendly link that is easy to remember: