Australian Fine Artist

MSDS for Artists

Materials Safety Data Sheet

What is an MSDS?

As artists we handle various chemicals that make up the paints and pastels as well as the mediums we regularly use. It may not occur to us that we might need to have safety sheets in our studio so that we know what to do in case something goes wrong, or to safety store and handle these as we work but as a business we have a duty of care to ourselves and others.

If we are to invite visitors such as clients into our studios, have students in our care or even if we have our own family exposed to our activities as artists, we need to know what we are using and how to make the environment safe for everyone including ourselves.

A material safety data sheet has mandatory information that must accompany almost every chemical in a workplace including a volunteer organisation and educational institution, except for items like cleaning supplies. An MSDS includes details such as the risks, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with the chemical. Personally I would include the cleaning supplies, as chemicals such as chlorine fumes can induce an asthma attack, others which may have methylated spirits in them may cause feinting or headaches.

Below I have listed what details you should be looking for in an MSDS. Most companies will have these available on their web sites and the sheets can be run out an included in a manual for easy access (which is what I will be working on over the summer).

At the bottom of the article I have listed a few of the manufacturers of materials that I use in my practice as well as a good site to find out more about what an MSDS is and how it applies to your business/practice.

Product Description

  • Product Manufacturer and/or Importing Supplier
  • Product Manufacturer Address
  • Product Manufacturer Phone/Email/Facsimile
  • Product Name
  • Product Ingredients
  • Product Properties
  • How the Product can Affect Health
  • Precautions for Using or Storing Product Safely


  • Generic Name of Product
  • Telephone number for information in the event of an emergency
  • MSDS review date
  • Hazard classification for hazardous substance
  • Risk and safety phrases for hazardous substance
  • Chemical or generic names of the individual ingredients in the hazardous substance or dangerous goods as required by the Victorian legislation
  • First aid measures
  • Emergency procedures
  • Relevant health hazard information
  • The chemical and physical properties of the substance or its ingredients including any hazardous decomposition products likely to be generated during normal use
  • Precautions for the safe use of the substance, including personal protective equipment
  • Precautions for the safe storage and disposal of the substance
  • The exposure standard (if any) for the hazardous substances or its ingredients
  • Information on the health effects of the substance or its ingredients


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