Translating Safety Data Sheets For A Global Pool of Workers

Safety data sheets (SDS) are important documents that are responsible for protecting humans from potential hazards. These are especially used in industries where chemical and nuclear reactions take place. We all know how intense and harmful these chemical reactions are, which is why precautionary measures are important. And when these industries collaborate with international industries for global expansion, these SDS sheets require technical translation services so that all employees have access to critical safety information. These SDS are official papers that provide information about chemical products, their hazards, proper handling, storage, and emergency measures.

In order to deal with a global workforce, it is crucial to make these documents comprehensible for the multilingual workers so that all can work safely. In this read, we are going to discuss not only about SDS in detail but also about their translation. How important it is and what you should consider when going for the translation of such documents.

Importance of Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Safety data sheets or SDS were previously called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). These are the instruction manuals for dangerous materials. For instance, you must have seen that in scientific labs, there are often precautionary statements on chemical substances. You can say that these precautionary statements are one form of SDS. The term SDS is specifically used in workplaces where workers are indulged in some form of chemical reaction. An SDS gives details on how to handle, store, and later transport those chemical products safely.

These sheets also contain information on first-aid, in case any accident or mishap happens. SDS are used in various  fields and industries such as:

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Fields / IndustriesUse
Waste Management and RecyclingFor handling hazardous waste products SDS are needed to understand the dangers of nuclear or radioactive waste
ManufacturingAssembling of electronics and machinery using paints and coatings, used in chemical plants 
LaboratoriesMedical facilities, research labs, and even educational institutes
AgricultureAgricultural workers and farmers need SDS for insecticides and pesticides
Oil and Gas IndustrySDS is needed for workers who are involved in oil drilling, refining, and transportation
ConstructionHazardous substances like solvents, adhesives, and cleaning agents are used on construction sites

Translation of Safety Data Sheets

These SDS are important as they contain crucial information not only on how to deal with dangerous items, but also on how to protect oneself. When companies enter the global marketplace, they tend to hire international employees who have broad and expanded knowledge of the industry as well as the target market.

Translated SDS make sure that workers understand the dangerous substances they are dealing with. Translation removes all the language barriers and allows all employees to come on the same page. In the end, it’s all about the safety and protection of the workers. In the United States, Osha (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is responsible for workers’ safety and health. They create rules and make sure that those rules are being followed.

Going for the Appropriate Jargon

In order to make it easy for a global workforce to understand the safety measures, you need to translate SDS into different languages. But the most important thing here isn’t just translation. It is a translation with accurate industry related terminologies, or you can say jargon. You need technical translators for that. Moreover, software translation services play a crucial role in SDS management software platforms by translating software which are devised by these platforms. Later, these software solve the issues that companies face during the maintenance of SDS in different languages.

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Manifesting A Safe Work Environment For All

The safety of workers is the responsibility of companies. So to make sure that all employees work under safe circumstances, translation of SDS becomes crucial. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Lab Safety Standard (1910.1450) and Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200), it is compulsory for SDS to be accessible and understandable for employees whenever they are in the workplace.

Aligning With International Safety Regulations

When companies work globally, it becomes necessary for them to adhere to a complex web of safety standards and regulations. This step is a must to show compliance with the international safety laws. The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), through standardized labeling and pictograms, makes sure that there is consistent communication regarding harmful substances.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) highlights safety requirements for machinery and other equipment which should be a permanent part of their manufacturing process. Hence, there are multiple organizations that make sure that workers all around the world work in a safe environment. It is crucial for companies to keep their SDS within the reach of workers all the time.

Final Words!

To sum up, the translation of safety data sheets is a crucial step that companies and businesses need to follow in the case of international collaboration. Going for technical translation means that industry specific terminologies are used in the translation process which makes sure the audience gets the intended meaning. This ensures a safe work environment for all employees despite the linguistic differences.