Chemical exposure is behind over 190,000 illnesses U.S. workers develop yearly. Even worse, it’s a culprit behind at least 50,000 deaths annually.
Chemicals, after all, can be hazardous and cause diseases of the major organs.
For these reasons, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are critical components of company safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even mandates their use. That’s because their primary purpose is to communicate hazardous material information.
Fortunately, gone are the days wherein workers must lug around heavy SDS binders. Thanks to online SDS management software, such tools are now accessible anytime.
But what exactly are the benefits of using an online SDS management system?
This guide explores the top answers to that question, so read on.
Access SDS Binders on the Go
According to the World Health Organization, there are over 160 million chemicals. Between 40,000 and 60,000 of them have commercial use. Unfortunately, many of them also fall under the hazardous classification.
An SDS aims to prevent those materials from causing preventable harm. Manufacturers must furnish an SDS for each hazardous chemical they make. They must then provide a copy to each supplier or employer that uses their products.
Employers, in turn, must maintain a copy of each SDS they use at the workplace. Depending on the industry, that could mean dozens or hundreds of sheets in one binder.
Without online SDS sheets, workers handling hazardous materials must rely on physical copies. They must also review those binders to check or confirm a substance’s hazards. That can be extremely time-consuming, not to mention tedious.
An online SDS management system simplifies that with “on-the-go” access to SDS libraries. For example, most platforms have apps that workers can download onto mobile devices.
Employees can then use the app to search for information about a chemical. They also get the details they need quickly, as the app directs them to the material’s specific page. No longer do they have to waste time going through dozens of pages.
Improve Employee and Company Safety
Online SDS management systems provide near-instantaneous material search results. That makes it easier and faster for workers to double- or even triple-check chemical data.
As a result, workers can minimize their risks of improper chemical use and handling. For the same reason, they can complete their chores and tasks while staying safe.
Also, remember that many chemicals are explosive and potentially explosive if mishandled. These include compounds containing azide, nitrocellulose, peroxide, and ozonide, to name a few. Since their improper use can make them explode, that can impact your business’s safety.
That’s another good reason to make SDS copies easily accessible with an online system.
Online SDS management systems also provide immediate access to first-aid information. That can mean all the difference during cases of accidental hazardous chemical exposures.
Makes Additions and Updates Accessible Immediately
Whenever your company acquires a new chemical, you must inform your workers. You must also create a copy and include it in each SDS binder at the workplace. That uses many resources (e.g., paper, ink, and labor).
Worse, the time needed to issue copies can delay information dissemination. That delay can be all it takes for a catastrophic incident to occur.
You can lower such risks with a one-time entry in your online SDS management system.
For example, suppose your company must start using benzene soon. With SDS software, you only need to tap its library to add the chemical to your company’s online binder. Once added, everyone using the platform will immediately see the benzene data.
Boost Employee Productivity and Morale
Health problems cause productivity losses costing U.S. employers $225.8 billion yearly.
Think about it; workers often call in sick whenever they get ill and must take a day or more away from work. When that happens, they can’t contribute to their company’s productivity.
Even if sick workers go to work, their condition can reduce their work output. Thus, they still can’t be as productive as they usually are if they’re healthy.
Since chemical exposures cause many illnesses, you should aim to lower their rate. We’ve already established that online SDS management systems can help with that. For the same reason, such software can help boost workforce productivity.
Also, morale is often higher when everyone is productive and works in a safe environment. After all, increased productivity levels are a cause for celebration. Productive workers also feel happier and more satisfied at work.
On the other hand, an unsafe workplace can make workers feel more anxious and stressed. That can also affect their work output and productivity or make them feel sick.
Lower Your Risks of Non-Compliance
Non-compliance with OSHA regulations can result in a fine of up to $15,625 per violation. That goes up to a whopping $156,259 per willful or repeated violation.
Your company can be at risk of such violations if you fail to update your SDS binders or library.
You can also face such fines if a situation arises wherein workers can’t access an SDS. Such can happen if you only have soft copies stored locally in a desktop computer and the power goes out. Unless you have a generator, there’s no way for employees to find the material safety data they need.
The good news is that, although called “online,” SDS software provides offline backups. That means when you download the program onto a device, you can also make it create an offline library. The database then gets stored in that device, such as a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.
So as long as those mobile devices have power, their users can access the SDS app, even without internet or data.
Make Your Workplace Safer for Everyone
Remember: No business can be successful without the collaborative efforts of workers. Workers, in turn, are unlikely to put in that effort if company safety protocols are lacking. That may even drive them to quit if not sue their employers.
You can prevent that from happening by using technology to your advantage. And one way to do that is to utilize online SDS software if your workers handle hazardous materials.
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