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Guidance on Section 5 of the GHS SDS

February 26th, 2013

In this post, we continue providing guidance on the GHS SDS, as per the official publication of the GHS by the UN. The guidance is based on the 4th revision of the GHS.

We turn our attention to section 5, “Firefighting measures”. Section 5 covers the requirements for fighting a fire caused by a chemical product, whether a substance or mixture, or that arises around a chemical product.

Here is a summary of the content of section 5 of the GHS SDS:

  • Suitable extinguishing media: Information must be provided on the appropriate fire extinguishing media. In addition, you must indicate whether any extinguishing media are inappropriate for a particular situation involving the substance or mixture.
  • Specific hazards arising from the chemical: Advice must be provided on specific hazards that may arise from the chemical, such as hazardous combustion products that form when the substance or mixture burns. Here are a couple of examples:
    • “May produce toxic fumes of carbon monoxide if burning.”
    • “Produces oxides of sulfur and nitrogen on combustion.”
  • Special protective actions for firefighters: Advice must be provided on any protective actions to be taken during firefighting, for example, “Keep containers cool with water spray”.

Finally, it is worth noting that the guidance from national/regional authorities, such as OSHA in the U.S. and ECHA in the EU, could have additions or differences compared to the guidance in the generic purple book GHS. It is important to always give precedence to the national/regional authorities if their guidance differs from the UN GHS guidance.

In the next post, we will cover section 6 of the GHS SDS. Section 6 is about the appropriate responses to accidental releases of the chemical product.

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