So what exactly belongs in Section 4 of the SDS? First aid measures, of course. But what exactly does that mean?

After going through the general structure of the fourth section last week, this week, I will be focussing on the content.

Section 4 of the safety data sheet

The description of the first aid measures (4.1) deals with the initial first response after a person has come into contact with the hazardous substance. Therefore, this section needs to be as simple and understandable as possible to enable an involved party or first responder to administer help with the means at their disposal.

The description of health hazards according to the CLP Regulation makes a clear distinction between the different uptake routes. Section 4.1 aims to make the same distinction. The following is directly cited in the Regulation:

  • Inhalation
  • Skin and eye contact
  • Swallowing

Other important aspects are also examined.

  • How specifically can first aid be administered without any special equipment?
  • Is medical care required? How urgently?
  • Would it be sensible to monitor the situation over a longer period in case of a delayed onset of symptoms?
  • What should be done with the clothing of the person concerned?
  • Is personal protective equipment also required for the person administering first aid?

Taking the above information into consideration for all uptake routes means there is a solid information base for future operating instructions of the product.


Section 4.2 acute and delayed symptoms and effects

The heading of Section 4.2 provides a good explanation in itself: You are asked to identify any obvious symptoms and effects and consider whether these are immediate or delayed.

It may not be noticed initially if a person has inadvertently come into contact with the hazardous substance. Important signs may not be correctly interpreted and attributed to exposure to the hazardous substance. This is where indications of symptoms are important.


Section 4.3 Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment needed

Section 4.3 provides further information for doctors and treatments. And we must not forget information on special treatments, especially if these require special on-site equipment.

That’s it on the question of “What needs to be included in Section 4?” But where can I obtain information in relation to this question? One starting point is the formulation data. In the next blog, you will find information on how to extract useful information from the formulation for Section 4.


Sources: Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH Regulation), consolidated version, as of 10/10/2017

Leitlinien zur Erstellung von Sicherheitsdatenblättern, Fassung 3.1 (German language version), Europäische Chemikalienagentur 2015, ISDBN 978-92-9247-514-7