Effective Safety Data Sheet Management for Your Business

While workplace injuries aren’t something most people like to think about, they’re a stark possibility if your business doesn’t prepare. Each year, about 4.53 million people will get medical assistance for injuries and illnesses that they get while on the job.

Good safety data sheet management practices can help decrease the likelihood of health problems due to employer negligence. Read on to learn the ins and outs of hazard communication, safety procedures, and organizing safety-related information the right way.

Why Is Effective Safety Data Sheet Management Important?

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are OSHA-required documents that tell employees about potential workplace hazards. Employers must retain them for regulatory compliance.

Each chemical that could pose a hazard requires its own SDS. Each sheet includes information about the properties of the specific chemical they’re made for. It outlines the physical hazards, health hazards, and environmental ramifications.

Beyond giving employees information about the chemicals they handle, it also discusses appropriate safety precautions for those working with the substance. The sheet will tell people how to handle, store, and transport the chemicals safely and securely.

Personal protective equipment requirements like goggles and gloves will also be made clear, as will first aid procedures to follow if exposure happens.

Regulatory Compliance

OSHA regulates the actions that businesses must take to mitigate potential workplace hazards. SDS management is one of the most important, and failure to comply can lead to hefty fines and other official sanctions on your business.

The fine you get will vary depending on the specific SDS violation your business is guilty of. If you do not have up-to-date SDS sheets that are appropriately posted for employee use, a maximum fine of $7,000 is imposed on the first offense.

Note that these fines can increase with repeated offenses, especially if the employer willfully does not post safety information. Since you don’t want to be out several thousand dollars because of inappropriate SDS management, it’s important that you understand SDS protocol and check regularly to make sure that you comply.

Employee Safety

One critical OSHA requirement for SDS management is that businesses must appropriately post safety information. It needs to be constantly accessible to employees who are on the job. They need to be able to get to it regardless of where they are working so they know how to appropriately handle the substances they’re working with.

Managing SDSs appropriately means decreasing the likelihood that employees will sustain occupational injuries. You’re less likely to deal with the ethical ramifications of people getting injured, which is a terrible thing in the best circumstances. When it’s preventable, it’s an even worse hit morally and legally.

If you don’t uphold employee safety within the bounds of OSHA requirements, your business may find itself on the receiving end of a detrimental lawsuit. When you manage SDSs appropriately, you won’t need to worry about these potential issues.

Standardized Format

Safety Data Sheets are important because they put all hazard-related information into a standardized format. They follow the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classifying, labeling, and talking about chemicals.

Each SDS has 16 sections. 11 of them are mandatory, but the remaining five are only important for certain chemicals and substances.

The employer must label each of these sections clearly with bold, readable headers. The sections require an easy-to-read format that workers can digest and understand while on the job. A digital technology that already offers these formatting features makes SDS management easier.

GHS symbols also need to go in some areas of the SDS. Hazard Identification, for example, may require label elements to show that they’re flammable or may cause cardiovascular problems when inhaled. Universal pictographs work well in the standardized format since employees will know exactly where to look.

How to Manage Safety Data Sheets Appropriately

Online SDS management software is the best way to get on top of your safety data sheets. KHA’s technology offers templates that you can use to construct appropriate SDSs that meet OSHA requirements.

We also make SDSs more accessible than they would be if they weren’t digitally available. Our team indexes each sheet with 35 distinct data fields that you can use to search for specific chemicals. This feature makes it easy for employees and managers to find SDSs promptly while on the job.

Digital management also lets all employees access SDSs from any device. This is especially important in a world where remote work is the norm. However, it’s also ideal for those in labs and warehouses who don’t have consistent access to a single location where they can find safety information.

Mobile accessibility is critical to SDS management, so make sure that employees download the SDS-Mobile app! People can also download in-app sheets to their phone to access while they’re not online.

Storage and Backups

Losing your SDS documents isn’t just a potential safety hazard. It can lead to immediate non-compliance with OSHA regulations.

Digital technology can help you store SDSs for long-term use. It also performs regular backups so you don’t lose information.

Organization and Inventory

Every time your business gets a new chemical, you’ll need to document it. Conduct chemical inventories regularly and compare your findings with your centralized SDS management system.

KHS software lets you know when updates are needed to your pre-existing sheets. It also automatically performs certain updates when necessary. This makes chemical inventory management a much easier process while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Employee Training

Studies show that workplace injuries rise when training is ineffective. Ensuring that employees understand how to access, read, and understand safety data sheets is a core part of remaining compliant and enhancing safety procedures.

Provide specialized training workshops and give employees assessments on reading SDSs. Answer questions thoroughly to ensure a comprehensive understanding.

Enhance Workplace Safety With KHA

Now that you know the ins and outs of effective safety data sheet management, it’s time to boost your regulatory compliance with KHA. We offer industry-leading SDS management services with no hidden fees.

Our platform uses cutting-edge technology to help you index and store data. We pride ourselves on having a mobile-ready platform that users can access from multiple locations. Contact our team to learn more about our SDS software.