Managing global environmental health and safety (EH&S) information is a tightrope walk between many factors. There are several obstacles to consider when developing or evaluating a global strategy for compliant and efficient safety data sheet (SDS) management, including: changing - and sometimes conflicting - regulations (or lack thereof), varying local resources and expertise, local infrastructure, and cultural differences.
While implementing a corporate SDS management strategy across an enterprise can seem daunting, there are many benefits. This paper will outline these benefits, and identifies best practice methods for developing a system while circumventing common pitfalls for any company beginning this worthwhile process.
Global SDS Management
Let's first describe what global SDS management means. It is a set of corporate guidelines, coupled with a comprehensive management system to handle a company's SDSs for locations around the globe. SDSs are stored, viewed, and downloaded from a centralized access point. In addition, document management and supplier relations procedures are incorporated to ensure there is an SDS for every product onsite, and those SDSs are kept current. The application and supporting resources should to be synchronized to ensure consistency and promote success.
Reasons for Global SDS Management
Once a global system is in place, many corporate and local advantages are achieved. These rewards justify the collaborative effort of rolling out such a comprehensive system.
Compliance Administration - Compliance is at the heart of any SDS management system. Organizing this through one system enables centralized administration, which can promote local and corporate due diligence.
Centralization - One system for all locations and departments allows for inventory, data and SDS consolidation and corporate transparency.
Productivity - Removal of task replication between locations and reduction of overall SDS management effort enables employees to focus on other tasks.
- Increased overall efficiency removes operational costs.
- Increased compliance lowers exposure to regulatory body fines, employee lawsuits and the compromising of a company's reputation and brand.
- Data repository - A large repository of SDSs and product data will be quickly amassed. This centralized data and SDSs can be funneled into regulatory tracking (GHS/CLP, REACH, RoHS, etc.), supply chain analysis and integration with internal tools (Authoring, BOM, Purchasing...).