why is an msds document important

When booking Hazardous Cargo with an airline or shipping line, one of the questions they would (or should) always ask is for an MSDS for the cargo.

MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet

The purpose of the MSDS is to provide / elaborate data about

  1. the physical and chemical properties of the cargo like the three main points such as flash, boiling and melting points
  2. the nature of the cargo indicating its toxicity
  3. effects on one’s health
  4. the first aid that needs to be administered in case of adverse contact
  5. possible reactions
  6. methods of storage
  7. methods of disposal
  8. protective equipment to be used by people that come in contact with the material
  9. spill-handling procedures

It provides guidance in handling the commodity and the properties and composition of the item in question.

What must the data sheet contain?

16 headings must appear on a safety data sheet. The information included under these headings will help you to make sure that the product is used safely. For example, the safety data sheet should describe the hazards the chemical may present, provide information on how it should be handled, stored and disposed of and explain what should be done in the case of an accident, ie first aid, fire-fighting measures, and so on.

This is of vital importance to any Hazardous desk of any shipping line or airline for them to consider accepting this cargo for loading.

A copy of this MSDS could also be placed on board the ship / aircraft for the use of the cargo officer.

This MSDS should normally be produced by the actual shipper (manufacturer) of the cargo as they would have all the detailed information relating to the product.

The MSDS is the responsibility or the Manufacturer who should provide the tested results in the proper format which should then be passed onto shipper / consignor.

This MSDS may serve as a reference for all future handling or rehandling of the dangerous goods even if they are no longer the ‘property’ of the manufacturer.

Interestingly, the MSDS is not always necessarily required or created for hazardous goods alone. It can be created for any commodity but most common for hazardous items.

The MSDS is very important when airfreighting handling Li-Ion batteries. For more information on whether your product is classed as hazardous or requires an MSDS, in order to transport it, please be in contact with Pioneer Freight.