Safety Blog – The Dreaded SDS Database
It is amazing how much you can learn when you are tasked to review Safety Data Sheets (SDS). This standard requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers to communicate the hazards associated with the chemical that is being used. The question is, do you truly read the fine print? Each chemical has a CAS RN (Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number) that has a unique numeric identifier and designates only one substance. So as an end user your only concern is with the name of the chemical that you are exposed with not the CAS RN number. However, when you look up the CAS RN number you will be able to tell if the number is registered to the right chemical. This is a way that you can verify how a component (chemical) of a product can potentially expose the end user.
On another note, what we have found over the years that SDS continue to sit outdated and on a shelf in someone’s office. Some organizations have electronic forms located in some shared drive with no consistency on how it is managed. We can always find a few organizations that are using the resources of an online program that keeps the information updated but the program is only successful if the owner of the program is feeding current information to it.
When is the last time your SDS database was reviewed and updated with current information? Finding the best program or resource to maintain your current Safety Data Sheet program is a key component of having a successful and usable program at your organization.