MSDS vs. SDS: What’s the Difference?

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) is now called an SDS (Safety Data Sheet). Purpose of both MSDS and SDS documents remains unchanged and is to list the information pertaining to the occupational health and safety for the various uses of the substances and products.

The use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) is essential for any workplace that deals with hazardous materials. Both of these documents provide vital information regarding the handling, storage, and disposal of potentially dangerous substances. While the two are similar, there are some distinct differences between MSDSs and SDSs. In this blog post, we will review the similarities and differences between MSDSs and SDSs as well as provide guidance on when each should be used. We will also discuss the importance of having both of these documents on-hand in the workplace. By understanding the differences between MSDSs and SDSs, employers can ensure their employees remain safe while handling hazardous materials.

What is the difference between MSDS and SDS?

What is SDS?

Manufacturers are required by OSHA to provide SDSs, and MSDSs were replaced by these documents. SDSs are significantly longer than MSDSs and follow a set format. They adhere to the standards set forth by the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of the United Nations.

Each SDS includes 16 standardized sections. These sections are:

What is MSDS?

A manufacturing company sends an MSDS, or material safety data sheet, before or during the shipping of hazardous chemicals. The documents describe the particular risks or hazards connected with the products. Additionally, they offer guidance on how to safely handle, store, and discard the hazardous products.

As a part of their Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) programs Right to Know provisions, OSHA introduced MSDSs. These provisions state that workers have a right to information about the chemicals they might be exposed to at work. Five key obligations under the Right to Know Act are placed on manufacturing companies:


Hazardous chemical and substance manufacturers provide both MSDSs and SDSs to employees and users as warnings about potential risks, what the chemicals contain, and how to handle, store, and dispose of the chemicals. They have comparable functions, so some people might use the terms interchangeably. But there are key differences between the two kinds of safety data sheets.

Here are some differences between MSDS versus SDS:

Recency of use

MSDSs are older than SDSs. Early versions of the MSDS were introduced by OSHA in the middle of the 1980s as a part of its HCS program. OSHA, however, announced program changes in 2012 that would mandate manufacturers use SDSs rather than MSDSs. Prior to June 1, 2015, manufacturers were required to update their SDSs, but OSHA allowed for brief deadline extensions due to issues like using outdated products or changing shipping labels.

Global adherence

OSHA mandated the creation and upkeep of MSDSs for manufacturing companies, but did not regulate them. However, SDSs adhere to the United Nations GHS standards. The U. N. requires adhering to strict guidelines and using a standard 16-section format with each section being organized in a specific order. OSHA standardized how manufacturers inform their employees about the dangers of chemicals by converting MSDSs to SDSs.


There was no regulation regarding formats for MSDSs. However, many manufacturing firms adopted the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) 16-section standard MSDS or OSHA’s eight-section MSDS format. However, SDSs follow the format determined by the U. N. s GHS. Similar to the ANSI 16-section format, this format has 16 sections.

Chemical classification and labeling

Different businesses may employ various classification and labeling schemes for the chemicals listed on their MSDS. SDS, however, uses the GHS Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This ensures greater consistency so that workers can read and comprehend the safety sheet with ease.

Signal words

OSHA defines “signal words” in the HCS as “words on labels that indicate the seriousness of a hazard.” MSDSs did not include signal words. However, SDSs use signal words. You might see the following two signal words on an SDS:

Hazard classifications

SDSs require more specific classifications than MSDSs did. This modification aided in ensuring consistency in hazardous evaluations to produce more precise labels and safety data sheets. These divisions encompass both products and mixtures and may be related to broad categories like:


MSDSs did not require specific labels. However, the switch to SDSs required chemical importers and manufacturers to provide warning labels. Each label must include a standardized:

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.


Why did they change from MSDS to SDS?

The transition from MSDS to SDS format is anticipated to improve workplace safety and simplify how your company uses, stores, and discards the chemicals it uses. Employers will also need to update their chemical inventory management systems as a result of the transition.

When did SDS replace MSDS?

As a reminder, new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) must be used in place of all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) as of June 1, 2015.

What is meant by MSDS and SDS?

Safety data sheets (SDSs) are only required by OSHA for hazardous products or chemicals. SDSs for non-hazardous products or materials are not required to be provided by GLT Products or any other manufacturers. The producer is in charge of deciding whether to provide SDSs for non-hazardous materials, according to OSHA.

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