New EU Safety Data Sheet Requirements

Article by Aidan Bushell

Aidan Bushell explains changes for Dust Explosions (Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/878)

AS a supplier of a dangerous substance or mixture, you are obligated to provide the recipient with a material safety data sheet (SDS); serving as a primary means of communication along the production and supply chain, it contains all-important information on hazardous substances. But what could the recent change in the regulations mean for you and your products?

Safety data sheets provide chemical product information that allows consumers of such chemicals to carry out a risk assessment. The hazards posed by the chemical are identified and include information on safe handling, storage, transport, and emergency measures in the event of an accident.

If you work in the supply chain, both you and your customers need to ensure that you you are fully conversant with the chemicals that are being handled. The SDS provides details around the physical hazards, health implications associated with use, impact of environment release, and what risk control steps are required.

REACH is a regulation of the European Union, implemented to control and protect human health and the environment from risks associated with chemicals. It stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of chemicals and is enforced by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The Commission Regulation 2020/878 is the latest amendment to Annex II of REACH, which outlines the EU requirements for chemical safety data sheets with regards to structure and content.

Things to consider

Whilst vapour and gas flammability information has been a prescribed requirement on SDSs for many years, data on flammable dusts has not previously been so clearly defined. The flow of REACH appears to be moving in line with that of the UN Globally Harmonised System (GHS), which acknowleges the importance of dust explosion data and its application on safety measures in the workplace.

The first question you should be asking is, can this material generate an explosible dust-air mixture in the form of a dust cloud? If yes, then this should be documented within your SDS.

Previous ammendments of REACH Annex II have outlined the importance of detailing combustibility (eg Section 2.3), but the latest amendment requires this information also be documented in 9.2.2, a new section named Other Safety Characteristics.

Data to be included within an SDS

Article by Aidan Bushell

Laboratory Manager for the Industrial Explosions and Hazards Laboratory, DEKRA

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