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.