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Managing Hazardous Substances

Any goods can be dangerous because it can be corrosive, flammable, explosive, combustible, toxic or even water-reactive. They must be identified in the workplace through various coloured 'diamond' symbols. Hazard substances can be in a form of solid, liquid or gas. Hazardous substances can be acute or chronic.

The accident caused by these hazardous substances can be damaging to the properties and environment. Harm to health can occur suddenly, such as dizziness, nausea and itchy eyes or skin. Also, it can happen gradually over years, like dermatitis or cancer. Some people can be more vulnerable than others.

Almost every day, we are using hazardous substances and dangerous goods. It may be antiseptic for a cut, the paints for the walls, or even a cleaning product for the bathroom. While they looked like harmless, but even these ordinary things can make you very sick if they are not handle properly. As part of the company's responsibility to their workers they are obliged to provide safety in using these hazardous substances and dangerous goods. Training, information and supervision must be provided by the company or employer. First aid treatment for hazardous substances and dangerous goods should be part of the training to the workers.

The material safety data sheet provides detailed information about the dangerous substances and dangerous goods. It provides information on the substances that is not found in labels. Manufacturers and suppliers of hazardous substances and dangerous goods are required to give MSDS's to their employer and customer. It is of paramount importance that these hazardous substances and dangerous goods in workplaces are used strictly according to the manufacturer's or supplier's instructions. Any instruction provided in the MSDS and the procedures implemented in the workplace must be strictly followed.

These MSDS must be kept well so that when needed it can be found easily. Purchasing containers for hazardous substances must be labelled correctly. It is highly recommended to conduct risk assessment to hazardous substances.


Safety data sheets are very important in helping you, or anyone you supply, to make the workplace safe. Safety data sheets are important in conducting risk assessment as request by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). This information is not an assessment. However, it will describe the hazards, thus helping you to assess the probability of those hazards that could be arising in the workplace. The information on the safety data sheets is important, especially the boiling point and the classification of the hazardous substances or dangerous goods. A company should ask MSDS from their supplier and provide these information for the safety of their workers and to protect the environment.
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