Did you know that 7 million people are injured in the workplace per year? This isn’t just harmful on a human level, but it also can leave your company open to fines and lawsuits.
If your organization handles and works with dangerous chemicals, your employees have an even higher risk of falling into these numbers. Luckily, safety data sheets (SDSs) can help you to keep them informed about the materials that they’re working with. This can decrease accidents and minimize risks.
Read on to learn the main purposes of safety data sheet management and how this can help keep employees informed.
1. Getting Organized
An SDS has 16 sections. While only 11 of them are mandatory, it’s best to fill out all 16 sections to ensure that employees are as familiar with hazardous materials as possible. Regardless of whether you’re detailing 11 things about each substance or 16, this can add up to a lot of paperwork.
Many manufacturing facilities, medical professionals, and science labs work with hundreds of chemicals daily. Each of these substances needs to be meticulously cataloged. If a single chemical needs 5 pages worth of documentation (a low estimate) and you have 100 chemicals, there will be 500 pieces of paper floating around in your file cabinet.
Digitizing these documents is a sensible idea. Since OSHA requires that all SDS documents are readily accessible, putting them onto a computer lets people search for the specific chemical they need to learn about. They don’t need to randomly sift through hundreds of physical files.
The only issue with digital documents is the need for frequent updates. Regardless of whether you choose to print SDSs or keep them digital, you’ll need to update them constantly. New hazards are always being discovered.
Additionally, you’ll need to add new chemicals whenever you have one. SDS online management makes both of these processes easier because it saves previous data. The smart system knows about the chemicals that you previously have documented and can provide you with automated updates to your forms.
This ensures that you:
- Stay organized and keep SDSs accessible to employees
- Don’t lose any documents on chemicals within file folders or computer systems
- Constantly have up-to-date information
- Can easily add new chemicals and materials to your papers without manually typing out 16 full sections of a document
- Can contact your SDS management agency when you lose a document (you have disaster recovery options)
2. Meeting OSHA Regulations
OSHA requires that all companies that work with hazardous materials have SDS forms on hand. These forms must be easy to read, clear, organized, comprehensive, and available in English. They also must be easily accessible to employees who need them whenever they are on the job.
All chemicals must be updated at least once every 3 years. This figure assumes that new hazards are not discovered within this time frame. If they are, the sheets must be immediately updated to document the new hazard.
In these situations, the labels need to be revised within 6 months. The sooner, the better- if someone is injured, you still will be open to a lawsuit.
In addition to these situations, you will also constantly be receiving new chemicals to work with. Labels must be created for these chemicals within 3 months of them arriving at your facility. Again, sooner is better- 3 months is the absolute maximum length of time that it should take to create and file your documents.
If you don’t meet these requirements, your organization will be subject to fines. You also may be forced to close down your operations when employee safety requirements are unmet.
SDS management companies provide you with the means to easily update chemicals. You don’t need to check your database to see if your chemicals need revisions. We do all of that work for you.
Our system also saves information that you entered for previous chemicals so you don’t need to start forms for new chemicals from scratch. You have the template and information about similar chemicals. You can pick and choose the points that new materials should have on their SDSs without creating a 100% new document. This frees up time that you could spend supervising operations and innovating new ways to perform your services.
3. Promoting Transparency and Communication
SDS management aims to promote transparency between your organization and your employees. You, the organization, are giving them the knowledge of hazards and potential risks that the employees consent to when working with you. Having updated SDS sheets ensures that employees are informed about these risks and that they take on these risks willingly and wittingly.
In turn, it gives employees the opportunity to communicate transparently with you about very real concerns. They will understand hazards and risks so that they can ask you specific questions. Because these risks pertain to their safety, it’s imperative that you give them open, honest, and transparent answers that the SDS sheet can help you learn about.
SDS management software makes this easier. There will be frequent updates that employees can understand. Risks will always be transparent, understandable, and well-indexed.
4. Ensuring Employee Safety
The main point of SDS sheets and management is to ensure the safety of your employees. Organized documents that meet OSHA requirements and transparently document risks help workers prepare for potential problems.
They won’t be caught by surprise if one of the risks comes to fruition. They can manage the risk and reduce the impact effectively since they will have previously considered what to do in the event of such an emergency.
We also scan and index SDSs before uploading them to our database and transferring them onto your network. There’s very little work for you to do. You simply need to look over each substance’s SDS before logging it away and checking it off your to-do list.
Optimize Safety Data Sheet Management Today
Now that you know why safety data sheet management is essential to your organization, it’s time to get started. Schedule a demo of our online SDS management services.
Not only do we offer transparent and competitive pricing, but we also are committed to helping you manage and organize your SDSs. Our experts and platform will provide you with automatic updates, easy-to-use templates, and speedy customer support. Since we’re committed to ensuring that your employees stay safe in the workplace, we look forward to hearing from you soon.