Florida hospital makes MSDSs easier to understand for employees

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With more than 4,000 chemical-specific Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) on file, Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., began looking for a way to more efficiently manage its hazardous chemicals. The facility had traditionally archived the MSDSs in 28 binders. The content of the sheets was far too technical for the facility's 2,000 employees to understand quickly in the event of a chemical spill or other incident, says Virginia Willard, associate director of materials management at Baptist. Then Baptist implemented the Maxcom system. Designed to take advantage of the fact that many chemicals share certain physical and health hazards, Maxcom assigned each of Baptist's chemicals to one of 36 categories and three hazard levels. Each MSDS was assigned a one-page document which translated the critical information in the MSDSs into sixth grade English. These 'Safe Use Guides' are now filed in a single binder, with one in each hospital department. The information is also available online. 'This process also revealed redundancies in chemical products and vendors, resulting in our ability to reduce the number of chemicals we store at the hospital by almost 1,000,' says Willard. 'Further, we can now train our employees on the risks of chemicals by category, rather than train them on each and every chemical in the hospital.

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