Among numerous day-to-day challenges at the worksites, chemical exposure is one of the most hazardous ones. Every year, thousands of workers lose their lives and face injuries due to chemical exposure. Today’s employee needs to be aware of hazards associated with their work and for that, the employers need to ensure they provide full details of inventory of hazardous chemicals. That is not all, they also need to conduct hazard control training, have GHS compliant chemical labels, and maintain safety definition sheets for every chemical available at the site.
Setting up a compliance system for chemicals is not the hard part, it is maintaining them on a day-to-day basis. A lack of inventory control, failure in tracking purchased data, and poor management of inventory lead to non-compliance and thereby expose workers to hazards they may not even be aware of.
Inventory management system as a solution
To effectively control hazards and have a better inventory system, the key is to have digital inventory management software on the cloud that will not just help you conduct chemical inventory inspections but also help with storing SDS and other documentation for future records.
An EHS software can also help in effective management of chemicals, right from their purchasing to usage, and lastly, disposal as chemical waste. An efficient digital chemical inventory management program would include all the standard operating procedures for storage, transport, disposal, and safe handling of chemicals and their waste.
Effective inventory management also means that all the employees are trained and empowered, and they can flag issues or doubts when needed. Issues don’t always have to be big incidents, an early identification of near-miss situations, observations, hazards, safety concerns, etc are also needed to be flagged by ground employees for avoiding big avoidable accidents.
How does the inventory management system work?
- Taking a chemical inventory is the first and foremost step and a critical step in the process. The amount of hazardous material at the site must be monitored and kept to a bare minimum. An annual or half-yearly physical inventory should be a part of the system and will help in eliminating unnecessary and outdated chemicals from the site. This also helps in making better use of the storage space.
- It is a good idea to tackle the inventory in a systematic manner. You can start with one room at a time, going from left to right.
- All the SDS for chemicals is collected, scanned, and stored on the software which can be accessed anytime.
- Ensure that the database has necessary information like manufacturer’s details, product number, the precise location of each chemical as well as inventory count.
- Through the secure cloud-based software, one can access every container of chemicals right from the desk. Workers can search for chemicals by their names, registration number, usage, or any other customized fields. Along with the names and quantities available, the worker can also access other relevant information.
Why switch to a digital chemical inventory system?
1. Real-time inventory
The digital process helps you with real-time inventory of chemicals and the updates are directly stored on the database. This makes it easier to cross-check SDS information and prioritize risks in the order of their severity.
2. Saves time
There is no denying the fact that employers are able to save a huge fraction of their time by simply using a cloud-based EHS system. SDS and documents are maintained digitally and hence, are more accurate which not only saves time but also reduces non-compliance costs. Employees feel more empowered when they have critical health information and safety advice right on the tip of their fingers.
3. Better safety
Most chemicals are toxic and hazardous and pose serious hazards like accidental inhalation, leaks, explosion, and fire. According to some measures, over 1,90,000 workers suffer chemical-related illnesses every year like kidney damage, lung infections, skin rashes, and burns among many others. Without a thorough knowledge of chemical inventory in your organization, risk management can be a challenge. A Chemical Management System not just helps in identifying hazardous substances but also gives critical information to keep the workplace safe.
An effective chemical inventory system offers various cost-cutting benefits to your company. Losing track of your inventory can lead to repurchasing which is not just a waste of money but also an unnecessary accumulation of substances. Real-time inventory tracking can help solve this problem as well as lets you forecast demand for chemicals so that you can make informed decisions.
Using a good chemical inventory system makes operations more efficient and cost-friendly.
5. Ensure compliance
Among the various benefits that inventory management offers, compliance is a major benefit that one cannot ignore. Inventory tracking is required by OSHA and a failure can lead to hefty fines. Then there are many more regulations for labeling, storage, and disposal and the CMS helps in meeting these guidelines.
6. Hazard information
As per OSHA’s standard of Hazard Communication, employers must have safety data sheets and labels for all hazardous chemicals for exposed employees. They must also train their employees in the effective handling of these chemicals.
Without an efficient chemical inventory system, your business is exposed to risks that you may not be aware of. Investing your resources in the software reduces waste, saves money, increases safety, and helps you avoid penalties. In today’s times, Chemical Management Software is an essential tool.