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Maintaining an accurate, up to date safety data sheet collection is the first step in avoiding OSHA’s 2nd most-frequently cited standard violation.
On average only 60% of an organization’s SDS Collection matches what is actually on site, leaving 40% of chemical inventory undocumented. This inconsistency with essential compliance requirements creates problems for employers and employees alike; workers need ready access to accurate chemical information to safely perform their jobs.
Annually workers suffer more than 190,000 occupational illnesses and 50,000 work-related fatalities related to chemical exposures.
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicity Program more than 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States with an estimated 2,000 chemicals added each year.
That makes compliance with OSHA’s HAZCOM standard difficult—keeping in step with revisions to safety data sheets, adding new SDSs, and archiving old SDS documents is large task for many organizations, especially across multiple working environments or locations.
Aside from access to accurate chemical hazard information to support worker safety, maintaining an up-to-date SDS collection helps the workforce more effectively manage chemicals no longer in use on-site, prevent over-reporting, and support the proper disposal of older chemicals.
The first step in your HAZCOM plan is to perform a thorough chemical inventory – that’s how you’ll rebuild your safety data sheet collection.
Performing regular chemical inventories will help you set the stage for workplace safety training, accurate reporting, and peace of mind.
Keys to a successful chemical Inventory:
- Be Methodical: Room-by-room; Top-to-bottom; wall-to-wall.
- Be Thorough: Open chemical storage cabinets, drawers, closets. Remember paint kitchens in addition to traditional warehouse chemical storage.
- Be Concise: Collect full product name, Manufacturer, and Product number.
- Be a team: Encourage employee participation
A chemical inventory supports your safety program is several important ways:
- Identify chemicals no longer in use and after being properly disposed, reduce your chemical footprint.
- Verify only approved chemicals are on-site.
- Ensure proper PPE is available for all chemicals documented.
- Create foundation for government reporting inventory process.
- Provide vital information to emergency responders
- Peace of Mind
So performing a chemical inventory provides additional benefits beyond your HAZCOM plan and meeting OSHA requirements for regular inventories—it raises awareness of important HAZCOM compliance requirements across teams alongside of worker safety and known, present chemical hazards.
During an OSHA SDS audit will you have your SDS’s ready?
Until next time, stay positive and stay safe.