In the olden days, we were taught to look both ways before we went out in the street to play for the quarter dad offered us. Basically, we had personal responsibility – if we did something stupid, it was our own fault.

MSDS SheetMSDS is the Material Safety Data Sheet which actually is more than just another alphabet soup of letters. The intent is to give those who work with a product or emergency personnel the information for handling or working with a substance in a safe manner.

I first became acquainted with MSDS back when I was a post frame building contractor. We were big on safety and being compliant to the laws in effect. Every one of our subcontract assembly crews had a binder provided by us which included not only every applicable safety detail we could come up with, but also the appropriate MSDS information for products being handled.

Amazing to many folks, even pole buildings require MSDS sheets. Recently, a jurisdiction in New York asked for our MSDS sheets. It’s just a barn, so what could be so hazardous?

Consider anything which can be cut with a saw – lumber, steel, vinyl, cement based sidings, etc. When cut, they all produce dust, from which adequate precautions need to be taken to prevent injury. One of the sheets we were asked to produce was covering dust from sawn wood – what most of us think of as sawdust.

Another big safety concern is in regards to the chemicals used to pressure preservative treat lumber. MSDS information gives the guidance necessary to prevent personal injury and/or damage due to improper handling and treatment of the chemical products and their residue.

Insulation – any fibrous material (cellulose, fiberglass, etc.) can be a challenge as well.

Before beginning any construction project, ask for MSDS information on the products being incorporated into it. It is always best, in these instances, to err on the side of caution.

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