Why Implementing an Effective SDS Management System is Important
By now, companies should have completed their conversions from MSDSs to GHS compliant SDSs. Under GHS format, SDSs now have 16 sections, which can nearly double the number of pages from the previous format. With so many new documents and pages, implementing a cloud-based SDS management system can greatly benefit a company’s operations.
Benefits of Cloud-Based SDS Management System
A cloud-based SDS Management system provides companies advantages such as:
- Centralization– SDSs can be stored, viewed, and printed from a localized server.
- Productivity– Easily search for SDSs needed to save time and headaches
- Reduced costs– Increased efficiency reduces operational costs while increased compliance lowers risk of costly fines and potential worker’s compensation.
- Compliance- Complying to regulatory standards ensures better protection of workers leading to improved company culture and morale.
Implementing a Cloud-Based SDS Management System
Step 1. Understand the challenges faced by current SDS management systems.
- Paper-based management– Large quantities of hard copy documents require sufficient resources to manage. Precious time is often used to manually search for necessary SDSs. Once found, additional steps may be necessary to use the SDS, such as copying the master copy.
- Spreadsheet based management- Spreadsheets are great for organizational means, but on a large scale can prove to be inefficient, requiring a single designated user to update for accuracy.
- Hard copy SDSs are often organized in filing cabinets located in office settings instead of being immediately accessible to employees working in the facility. Employees in need of a SDS would have to stop their current task, travel across the manufacturing facility, and face potentially hazardous situations just to get to where the SDSs are located. This inefficiency puts a heavy cost on companies.
Step 2. Load SDS into Cloud-Based SDS Management System
Once companies have recognized the challenges faced in their SDS Management processes, they may begin loading their SDSs into a cloud-based system. For convenience sake, third party applications often offer to load SDSs for clients into their database at minimal cost.
Step 3. Training
With all SDSs loaded into a centralized server, employees and users will need to be trained to use the system. Training should include contingency plans, should access to the system be unavailable in cases of power outages and technical issues. According to OSHA’s HazCom 2012 Directive, it is necessary to provide secondary access points to SDSs such as hard copy documents or CD-ROMs.
Although a cloud-based SDS management system provides companies with undeniable advantages, a common misconception is that 100% of SDSs used will be immediately available and updated. A continuous effort of the entire team using the system will be necessary to maintain an updated and comprehensive library. Employers can eliminate employee frustration by setting clear expectations during the implementation process.
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