Automating Safety Data Sheets with PIM

If your business creates Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) related to the products and materials you manufacture, you need a process that ensures your sheets are up-to-date and compliant. Here we look at how using PIM for automation is the easiest way to streamline the document creation process to avoid accidents and potential legal penalties.

1. What is safety data?

Safety data sheets, or SDSs, provide occupational safety and health information when using chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. This information includes safe use instructions and warns of potential hazards when working with these materials. Also, these sheets are not intended for consumer use but instead are used to avoid workplace and environmental hazards.

Ensuring these safety data sheets are accurate, up-to-date, and consistent is key to avoiding accidents and ruining your company’s reputation. In fact, they are part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard and include details about the chemical properties. Additionally, they cover the impact they have on humans and the environment. Safety data sheets ensure anyone using the materials understands the health hazards and the proper protective measures

2. The makeup of a safety data sheet

There are 16 sections included in an SDS:

  1. Identification: Identifies the chemical and its recommended uses.
  2. Hazard(s) Identification: Describes the hazards presented with warning information associated with those hazards.
  3. Composition/Information on Ingredients: Lists the ingredient(s), including impurities and stabilizing additives.
  4. First-Aid Measures: Explains what action is required in the initial care at the job site when someone is exposed to the chemical and awaiting the arrival of first responders.
  5. Fire-Fighting Measures: Covers recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical.
  6. Accidental Release Measures: Used when there are chemical spills, leaks, or releases. Additionally, there are instructions on containment and cleanup practices to minimize exposure.
  7. Handling and Storage: Explains safe handling and storage practices.
  8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection: Indicates the exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective measures recommended to minimize worker exposure.
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties: Describes the physical and chemical properties associated with the product.
  10. Stability and Reactivity: Outlines the reactivity hazards and stability of the chemical.
  11. Toxicological Information: Relates to the health and toxicological effects.
  12. Ecological Information (non-mandatory): Information used to evaluate the environmental impact of the chemical(s) should they be released into the environment.
  13. Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory): Guidelines on proper disposal practices, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices.
  14. Transport Information (non-mandatory): The classification information for shipping and transporting hazardous chemical(s) based on whether it is by road, air, rail, or sea.
  15. Regulatory Information (non-mandatory): Outlines the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific to the product not addressed by other sections of the SDS.
  16. Other Information: Dates when the SDS was prepared or revised

3. Who uses an SDS?

Chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers/exporters all use safety data sheets. Overall, the safety data sheets provide those handling the chemical products with formatted, standardized information about the chemicals and how to handle them properly. However, SDSs are also used by companies dealing in hazardous components that might pose issues for others, such as chemicals dangerous for children.

Legal departments overseeing the product descriptions ensure they encompasses the necessary safety information. Basically, this is to protect the company from liability associated with the use of the product.

4. Automating safety data sheets with a PIM

Automating SDSs enables you to easily prepare, edit, share, and update all relevant data. In this case, the data is related to the chemicals and hazardous materials manufactured by your company. In essence, using a product information management system, or PIM, enables you to automate safety data sheets. You create a streamlined process with a PIM. As a result, you can efficiently produce user safety guidelines in a collaborative environment.

All key stakeholders are involved in the review process, from the product development department to your legal team. Automated safety data sheets use a customizable template. In essence, 16 sections of safety information are pulled into a centralized hub without any worry of human error. Consequently, the safety data sheets are consistently reliable and accurate.

You can gain complete control over your product data and decide how to present safety data sheets in a user-friendly manner. Most importantly, remain accountable with complete transparency in your product’s hazards, ensuring all users understand how to safely use, contain, transport and respond in case of an accident. Create a single location for your safety data sheets. Also, ensure each one goes through the same process through a PIM. Additionally, you avoid misinformation, errors, and outdated scenarios that negatively impact users. Also, you mitigate risk and improve optics for your company while remaining accountable to your customers.