A Material Safety Data Sheet, called an 'MSDS' or sometimes just 'SDS,' contains critical safety information.
With environmental issues and safety concerns on the rise, companies now face a dual challenge of mitigating risk to employees while reducing the high costs and complexities of Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) compliance management. A Material Safety Data Sheet, called an 'MSDS' or sometimes just 'SDS,' contains key information, most of which companies are required to report. When considering a switch to computerized, web-based, on-demand 24/7, MSDS management, companies want to know the benefits.
Five commonly asked questions are:
1. How and where are my Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS stored?
MSDS and related data are now stored as content in a secure data warehouse. MSDSs are not stored as .pdf documents – instead, uniform sections of the document are broken up and stored in a relational database. This method has been proven, trusted and implemented since 1999. The web-based method engenders leaner operations, resource management, OSHA compliance and safe chemical management.
Tip: check web-based MSDS management companies for the SAS-70 seal - this ensures the provider's system and their processes have been certified by a third-party auditor. The seal should be right on the web site.
2. How will employees access the web-based Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS?
Easy: all that's needed is internet access. By strict username and password protocols, all employees have access to a centralized MSDS library. The extensive, up-to-date library provides permission-based access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
3. Will this make my Environmental, Health, and Safety or EHS reporting easier?
Yes. State-of-the-art search and analysis capabilities ensure your auditable and defensible compliance reporting.
4. What about my multi-format Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS?
No problem. You’ll get support with a variety of Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS formats such as GHS (Global Harmonized System), GHS Japan and Australia, ANSI, and WHMIS.
5. Will we be 'paperless?'
Although OSHA permits “paperless compliance,” a hardcopy of the MSDS must be readily accessible to all employees and emergency response personnel if needed. Because of this, back-ups in case of emergency are recommended. However, you’ll find that employees rarely need them or want the extra baggage when they can just access the material online, 24/7, from any location.
A good resource is the Supply Chain Data Management blog article on online compliance tools.
Additional information can be found in this extended article – which breaks down cost saving$ with web-based MSDS programs (no registration required): Outsourcing MSDS Management - Show Me the Money. Learn more about the dollars and sense of it.
Wishing you and your company happy, safe MSDS management and distribution in 2011 and beyond.