The thumbnail version:

  • You probably have them available in the shop, as required by law.
  • But have you actually ever read one?

The full version:

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the contents of the MSDS for the various materials in your shop, you’re remiss. Should you ever have an emergency involving a materials such as a chemical or an ink, it would not be a good time to start looking for an MSDS and reading it for the first time.

Here are some typical MSDS section headings that hint strongly at why you should take the document seriously and be able to respond appropriately should an emergency arise :

  • Hazard identification
  • First-aid measures
  • Fire-fighting measures
  • Accidental release measures
  • Handling and storage
  • Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Stability and reactivity
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological information
  • Disposal considerations
  • Regulatory information

May you never stand in a dock and have to admit: “Yes, your Honour, I’m sorry, your Honour. I did have the MSDS but I had never read it because I thought it was overkill and not all that important.”