According to the European Chemicals Agency, “Safety data sheets are the main tool for ensuring that manufacturers and importers communicate enough information along the supply chain to allow safe use of their substances and mixtures. Safety data sheets include information about the properties of the substance, its hazards and instructions for handling, disposal and transport and also first-aid, fire-fighting and exposure control measures.”

Abuse of Safety Data Sheets for cargo bookings is uncomfortably frequent. A recent TT Club claim relating to a fire onboard a ship highlighted a number of issues such as mis-declaring cargo and lack of GHS (Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) clarity.

Therefore, the advice to freight forwarders, consolidators, logistics operators and carriers is to be constantly vigilant and question anything which seems unknown, strange or suspicious. Be healthily skeptical and be prepared to challenge information and seek independent verification. Furthermore, communicate regularly with your customers to ensure they understand their obligations – and the penalties they may face for non-compliance.

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