7.2 Information sources
7.2.1 How do I find the information required to carry out COSHH risk assessments?
The best source of information is the material safety data sheet (MSDS). By law (CHIP3) this should accompany any chemical that is purchased. However, if this is not available, or the chemical is old, then copies can be obtained from the manufacturer's website or information can sometimes be found in the catalogue. Further information can be obtained from the HSE.
If two or more chemicals are to be mixed together as part of your procedure, then you must consider the possibility of incompatibility, which may lead to toxic fumes or even an explosion. This information is often given in the MSDS, e.g. acetic acid with chromic acid.
7.2.3 Materials not on the database
What should you do if you are preparing a material that is not commercially available? For novel chemicals or isolated reaction intermediates for which there are no published safety data, hazards should be predicted from the characteristics of similar compounds or from starting materials.