Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Translation: Why It’s Important for Safety


No matter what languages people speak, Everyone understands safety

Translating safety data sheets (SDS) adds another layer of protection for you and your non-English-speaking workers.

Got chemicals? Then you know how important it is to have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) available to all your employees. The catch? Not all of them will fully understand the information on the sheet, if it’s not available in their native language. That’s why translating your SDSs is so important for the safety of your non-English speaking employees. OSHA regulations state that “employers must ensure that SDSs are readily accessible to employees.” You could interpret that to mean they just have to be physically available…but it’s a risky move, for everyone’s safety. Here’s why translating your SDSs should be at the top of your priority list.

SDSs Contain Crucial Safety Information

Yes, many employees don’t take SDSs seriously, but they should—and so should you. SDSs contain crucial safety information, and following that information could save one of your employees from injury or even death. This is not something you want to mess around with. If you have employees who are non-native English speakers, they are at risk if they can’t fully understand this information. Make it accessible! Translating those sheets will ensure that everyone has the same safety information available at all times.

SDSs Are Full of Jargon

Okay, so we all know that SDSs aren’t the most interesting documents in the world. That’s okay! They don’t have to tell a story, they have to show your employees what the risks and protocols are for hazardous materials. Problem is, they’re often full of strange, industry-specific language and jargon that doesn’t make it into most English language courses. And why should they? It’s not jargon people use on an everyday basis. Translating your SDSs will make that jargon more accessible, and ensures that everyone will understand the information more easily.

Translating Your SDSs Allows for Consistent Training

When it comes to hazardous materials, you’ll want to have everyone following the same protocols. How can your employees receive consistent training if their reference materials aren’t in their native language? Consistency is key for every employee’s safety, and it’s up to you to make sure that everyone on the floor receives the same information.

Translated SDSs Reduce Risks on the Floor

You have to be able to trust your team, but you also have to enforce protocols when necessary to keep everyone safe. Using chemicals in the workplace is always risky, which is why you need to employ risk management to reduce the possibility of injury. Translating your SDSs is just another way you can manage risk and make your workplace a safer place for everyone on the floor. Employees who are unfamiliar with your SDS pose a risk not only to themselves, but to everyone around them.

Choosing a Translation Service

Translating an SDS is a little different from a run-of-the-mill translation, and you might find yourself stumped at the prospect of choosing a translation service to get the job done right and help to create a safe workplace. It’s best to choose an experienced company, which will have access to a large number of qualified translators. Translating an SDS requires unique knowledge of industry jargon, and it’s much easier to hire a service than to look for a freelance translator to complete the project for you.

Getting ready to translate your Safety Data Sheets (SDS)?
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