Reading Safety Data Sheets

Reading the safety data sheet (SDS) that applies to each chemical is the second step in getting more detailed health and safety information.

Having identified the name of the substance from the label, you can now ask for the correct SDS.

What does an SDS tell you?
The SDS will give you the following information:

  • Trade name of the product
  • Ingredients of the chemical or product
  • How it may be a danger to health or safety
  • First aid instructions
  • Safety precautions when using the chemical or product
  • Safe handling and storage advice
  • Disposal advice

SDS are valid for five years from the date of issue. Each Agar product used in a workplace must always have an up-to-date SDS printed and kept on site.

The information on SDS is important if you work with hazardous chemicals.

Usually, the SDS is provided when you are first supplied a hazardous chemical or the first time you are supplied a chemical after an SDS has changed.

There must be easy access to SDS for:

  • all workers who use, handle and store the chemical at the workplace  
  • emergency service workers 
  • anyone else who may be exposed to the chemical. 

SDS Medical Advice
SDS’s include important first aid information for people that have been exposed to cleaning products. They also include contact details for the Poisons Information Centre 131 126 in Australia.

If a worker needs medical attention as a result of a workplace exposure, the SDS may be of assistance to the medical practitioner. Take a copy to the doctor or ask medical staff to obtain one from