Cummins Inc. monitors, enforces and eliminates use of prohibited substances across worldwide operations


Courtesy of Courtesy of IHS

Cummins Inc. is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines and related technology around the world with approximate 40,000 employees. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 500 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 5,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories. Cummins has a documented mission of 'Demanding that everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier, safer environment'. For the fifth year in a row, Cummins Inc. has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World index and was recognized as one of the world's top 14 leaders in sustainability among industrial companies - included in the North American index for the third straight year.

Policies which prohibit or restrict chemical substances are increasing in popularity as a strategy for companies and corporations seeking safer and more sustainable environments. The prohibition or restriction of chemicals sometimes defined by customers, government, NGOs (non-government organizations) and/or internal policies is an initiative that many companies are embracing in an effort to adopt safer chemicals and sustainable materials aimed to better protect people and environment. The prohibition or restriction of chemicals could be scoped to processes and/or products.

Cummins, Inc. embarked on the task to enforce a list of prohibited chemicals among its locations worldwide. The list of 50 substances that were internally selected and potentially hazardous to employees and environment must be screened from more than 16,000 SDSs (Safety Data Sheets) utilized in the corporation globally. This represented a major challenge given some inaccuracies in outdated SDSs, partially disclosed ingredients and ongoing procurement of materials potentially containing prohibited ingredients. Moreover, monitoring the number of SDSs containing prohibited chemicals as a key indicator and the ability to identify and filter SDSs which sites plan to upload into the system (SDS management tool) would become critical actions in the overall project.

'The IHS SDS Management tool provides the means for prompt identification of chemicals utilized in sites worldwide and is a key component for the enforcement of any prohibited chemicals,” said J. Guillermo Castillo Martin del Campo, the Corporate Safety and Health Engineer at Cummins, Inc.

There are many challenges in the quest for implementation and enforcement of a prohibited substances policy, especially for multinational corporations. As an initial step, the definition of an accurate baseline identification of prohibited substances is inevitably linked to full-ingredientdisclosed SDSs recent and updated SDSs, and more importantly, efficient practices and capabilities in SDS management tools. Efficient identification of specific substances or group of substances (i.e. customer lists, local regulatory lists, etc.) among locations or sites is a crucial characteristic in the SDS management tool that facilitates overcoming these challenges.

Cummins has been working with IHS Comply Plus SDS Management System for more than three years. (See Figure 1) Deployment of IHS software supports the company commitment to a cleaner, healthier and safer environment by sustainably managing chemicals. Global deployment of the system to 72 locations and translation into 16 languages placed Cummins in a better position for more efficient prohibited chemical management by:

  • Establishing a platform for more accurate chemical management and control over sites located in all continents
  • Allowing the capability of running real time reports on list-matching prohibited chemicals with materials utilized corporation wide
  • Providing the ability to generate detailed reports on specific chemical/ingredient utilization or SDS revision dates by site or location

IHS representatives have shown commitment to satisfy Cummins’ business needs. Cummins is currently working to establish a filtering and identification process for SDSs containing prohibited ingredients before allowing their upload into the system. Such effort would trigger material request approval process utilization, which is also a Comply Plus functionality that Cummins has been utilizing at both the corporate and site level. This filtering/identification effort demonstrates accountability for corporate responsibility.

Cummins has deployed IHS Comply Plus in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, South East Asia, China, India and Australia. The system enables the company to centralize chemical information for improved and informed decisionmaking processes. The reporting capabilities allow Cummins to obtain real-time reports on specific prohibited chemicals or group of chemicals. The main results of this on-going project are described below.

  • Increased efficiency by obtaining chemical data in a few clicks as opposed to collecting data from each site individually, which would have taken weeks and in some cases months due to manual processes
  • Empowered with information, communicated to 72 sites globally the potential prohibited substance utilization based on reports obtained
  • Raised awareness at the site level in regard to prohibited chemicals - rate of uploads reduced from 20% to 4.6% - and fostered preventive actions aimed at controlling chemical hazards in the workplace.
  • Improved prohibited chemical management by the efficient identification of those substances from more than 16,000 SDSs searched and by leveraging list-matching capabilities at corporate and site level.
  • Increased efficiency in achieving REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), compliance by promptly identifying chemicals in the 'Substances of Very High Concern' List.

This project will continue to be improved by partnering with IHS on filtering SDSs containing prohibited substances and by preparing the data platform for developing phase out plans at each location. This effort will lead to the reduction or elimination of potentially hazardous substances from the workplace and will consequently help protect our people and environment.

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