COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) information data sheets

Introduction

There are various regulations both in the UK and the EU concerning health and safety issues. In the UK the Health and Safety at Work act requires that if a customer is converting his 'raw material' into an article, then the supplier has to provide 'adequate information about any conditions necessary to ensure that when put to use, it will be safe and without risks to health'.

When is an MSDS a legal requirement

To meet this requirement a supplier of stainless steel that could be converted into articles (ie parts or fabrications etc.) should provide a 'MSDS' (Materials Safety Data Sheet). The EU rules only require MSDS information if there is a constituent of the material that is 'classified' as hazardous. This currently includes the element nickel, which is one of the main alloying elements in most stainless steels.
In this context there are no requirement for a general industry standard MSDS on stainless steels, in the same way that there is no universal MSDS for specific chemicals. It is the suppliers of specific 'raw' or intermediate products that should issue their own Material Safety Data Sheets.

Where to find a typical MSDS covering stainless steels

Stainless steel product suppliers, such as Outokumpu Stainless, Aperam, Acerinox, have their own Material Safety Data Sheets covering the scope of the products they supply to meet the European and local UK requirements.

Other literature

The safe application of stainless steel in skin and food contact and other health and safety issues are outlined in the Euro Inox brochure 'Stainless Steel-The Safe Choice' which can be downloaded from here.

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