In order to keep the employees at your organization as safe as possible, it’s essential that you implement proper safety data sheet management. But, not everyone understands the optimal way to do so.
So, we’ve compiled a guide that outlines everything that you need to know in order to improve SDS management.
Train Your Employees Appropriately
As you might expect, one of the most important obligations you have when it comes to SDS management is proper employee training. More specifically, your employees need to be fully aware of how to read the safety data sheets at your organization.
Unfortunately, many facilities simply fulfill their obligation of placing safety data sheets throughout the premise and then call it a day. But, these documents won’t be effective if your team does not interact with them appropriately.
When your employees understand how to interpret this document, they will be able to seamlessly incorporate it into their daily practices. This could easily translate into increased productivity, injury prevention, etc.
Some of the most important information that safety data sheets contain is directions on proper waste disposal. This is especially important when a task involves chemicals.
Consider Electronic Management
In the past, safety data sheets were strictly implemented in the form of paper documents. Although these were relatively easy to duplicate and distribute, SDS software has proven that electronic management is far more efficient.
Perhaps the largest benefit of electronic management is the capability to save a substantial amount of time. This applies mainly to scenarios involving distribution and development.
To elaborate, it’s notably easy to make necessary changes to your SDS and then distributed them to the appropriate parties. Since you are able to disseminate this information so quickly, you will also drastically reduce your overall risk.
Of course, there’s something to be said about electronic management when it comes to sustainability. This option is far more environmentally friendly compared to the conventional method of printing hundreds or even thousands of sheets of paper.
Archive Outdated Data Sheets
Failure to properly document your updated data sheets could result in a significant number of complications in the future. For instance, OSHA standards dictate that a business must retain comprehensive records of the identity of chemicals that they use.
Additionally, these records must detail when and where the chemical was used and must be archived for 30 consecutive years after the chemical’s end-use date. Although you’re able to satisfy this obligation by keeping a detailed chemical inventory list, it’s far easier to archive your outdated data sheets.
This will also allow employers to help determine the cause of a particular incident that occurred at the workplace. For example, they could consult their data sheet archive to determine the details of the active safety data sheet at the time of the incident. From here, they can determine what regulations were in place and whether or not they were sufficient.
Appoint Someone to Handle This Task
It is highly recommended that you appoint a specific employee to oversee SDS management at your organization. Not only will this make the entire process more efficient, but it will also help satisfy OSHA regulations.
To elaborate, an OSHA inspector will be specifically looking for whether or not you have designated a specific individual for this task. This person will help provide the agency’s inspector with all the information they need.
Appointing an employee to help oversee SDS management also conveys that your company emphasizes the safety of its workers. In some circumstances, this could mean the difference between receiving a penalty or a warning for an infraction.
To clarify, let’s assume that you haven’t satisfied OSHA criteria and also haven’t appointed an SDS manager. An OSHA inspector may assume that your business is consciously negligent of its safety obligations, leading them to penalize you for your shortcomings.
On the other hand, a company that has a designated employee for this role may only receive a warning. Of course, this will vary depending on the severity and number of infractions.
In general, though, the organization is much better off leveraging a dedicated worker for SDS management.
Whether or not your safety data sheets meet OSHA standards is irrelevant if they are not readily available to workers. Interestingly, many organizations seem to neglect the fact that simply creating or storing safety data sheets is not enough.
Your SDS management procedures should make sure that safety data sheets are accessible within relevant workspaces. This typically includes a laboratory, factory floor, etc.
If you choose to keep your data sheets in a particular room, this location must be accessible to all types of employees. As such, this location should never be locked unless the appropriate workers have the keys to open it.
The same can be said about data sheets that are stored electronically – your workers should have specific passwords or privileges to access them. Otherwise, your employees may not have the information they need about working with certain substances, something that could jeopardize their safety.
Knowing How to Improve SDS Management Can Seem Complicated
But, the above information will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. From here, you will have no issues understanding how to improve SDS management at your facility.
Want to learn more about what we at Online SDS have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.