• Dale Allen

GHS Safety Data Sheets Explained: Section 6

Updated: May 4

Section 6: Accidental Release Measures


Accidental chemical releases can cause some very major complications, so in an effort to prevent them Section 6 will contain information regarding the delivery of the product to your site.


Especially when your workers are transporting the product from the delivery vehicle to the storage area or processing plant.

This section will also cover:

  • Clean up procedures.

  • Environmental precautions.

  • Personal precautions.

This information is intended to allow you to implement precautions against small-scale (spills and leaks) and large-scale (bulk release requiring specialist training, procedures and equipment) accidental releases of the product.


This information should be considered alongside the information given in Sections 2, 9, 10 and 12 when you conduct your risk assessments.


It is often the case that special training is required to deal with an accidental release of any hazardous product. Your risk assessment will identify the need, as well as the need for the development of suitable procedures and the provision of spill kits and other related equipment.


6.1. Personal Precautions, Protective Equipment and Emergency Procedures

Section 6.1. should advise you on the personal protective equipment you should provide your employees with when dealing with spillages of the product.


The information contained here should provide advice for both emergency responders and general personnel. The advice should include suitable PPE requirements, emergency procedures, and how to make the area safe (e.g. ignition sources).


Section 6.1 will contain only general information on personal protective equipment, while the more detailed requirements will be listed in Section 8.


6.2. Environmental Precautions

In this subsection, you will find information on the environmental precautions you should take regarding releases of the product.


Generally, you will be given a recommended procedure to follow in the event of a release into the environment. You should assess whether the procedure can be carried out safely, considering the amount and properties of the released chemical, before allowing it to be undertaken.


In the event of large-scale spillages, your supplier is likely to recommend that you involve the authorities and emergency services. This is legal requirement in many circumstances.


6.3 Methods and Materials for Containment and Cleaning Up

Subsection 6.3 contains advice on containing and cleaning up spillages of the product. You will often find that the supplier will provide procedures for both small-scale and large-scale spillages.


There should also be considerations on where the waste should go. In certain cases, simply flushing the product down a foul drain is enough. In other cases, this should be avoided completely.


And finally, it may be possible to neutralise the hazard the spilt product presents with another chemical agent. If this is possible, the supplier will include the details here in this subsection. However, this should be considered carefully before attempting it. The neutralising agent will present new, perhaps greater hazards.


Here are some examples of the types of advice suppliers might provide in this subsection:

  • Flush to foul drain with plenty of water.

  • Contain spillages with sand, earth or any suitable absorbent material. Transfer to a container for disposal recovering. Never allow the product to enter the sewers, drains or watercourses.

  • Wet clean or vacuum up solids.

  • Clean spills immediately.

  • Sweep up the spillage and store in sealed, plastic containers ready for disposal. Wash the area with water.

Flammable Products

Spilt chemical products are often flammable, and as such you should have considered even small spillages, as well as ignition sources (e.g. sparks, glowing embers, hot surfaces, etc.) in your fire risk assessments.


The advice for cleaning up spillages given here should include what to use (e.g. PPE, equipment, tools and non-combustible) and what not to use (you shouldn't use tools or equipment which may create sparks near flammable spillages).


For certain chemicals, you will be required to undertake complete decontamination of the area. Complete decontamination procedures should be given here if this is the case.


Please note: Section 6 is closely linked to various other sections related to the hazards of the product and the precautions which should be taken. Accidental releases should be considered closely in conjunction with Sections 2, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13.


Confused by the many pieces of information provided in those safety data sheets? Join the International Association for Chemical Safety's completely free health and safety academy now and take the Safety Data Sheet Awareness Certification™.


This article was originally published by the team over at Sevron Ltd and has been shared here with full permissions.

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