Unfortunately, some SDSs that are issued today are often lacking key information or are simply incorrect. This may be due to a lack of time, a lack of resources or a lack of training.

Another common practise is deliberate under or over classification of chemicals.  Some companies prefer to err on the side of safety, so they incorrectly think that over-classification does that. Likewise, other companies focus more on what they believe is the financial cost, so they err on the side of under-classification. Either way this can have a direct impact on your profitability or the safety of your employees.

So, let’s look at the potential implications of over and under classification.


  • Lost Markets – could reduce market share across a wide market (e.g. restrictions on certain hazard levels)
  • Lost Sales – Over classification could potentially prevent a company purchasing certain chemicals due to internal company risk standards.
  • Excessive Compliance Costs – cause unnecessarily expensive compliance documents and procedures
  • Excessive Shipping Costs – higher classifications require additional expensive hazard protection during shipment
  • Excessive Equipment Costs – additional PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) requirements that’s not really necessary
  • Excessive Training Costs – additional, unnecessary training costs for higher hazard levels
  • Incorrect Occupational Risk Assessments – employers may determine occupational risk assessment as high based on the hazard levels of the incorrectly classified substances/mixtures


  • Health & Safety Risk – could result in improper storage, treatment, exposure, or disposal of a chemical resulting in an unsafe workplace
  • Inadequate Remediation – puts consumers, employees, workers, transporters in danger of injuries or fatalities in the event of a chemical release, spill or exposure
  • Increased Compliance Costs – could lead to WorkSafe fines and penalties for health and environmental exposure due to having incorrect information communicated on a misclassified chemical or product
  • Incorrect Occupational Risk Assessments – employers may carry out an occupational risk assessment as low based on the hazard levels of the misclassified substances/mixtures