Best Practices for On-Site Chemical Inventories

Best Practices: On-Site Chemical Inventories

Kraig Haberer

Kraig Haberer

General Manager

Kraig Haberer is General Manager of the SafeTec strategic business unit, HSI’s SDS and chemical management solution. As the former COO of SiteHawk, Kraig carries a passion for the intersection of safety and technology, particularly within the chemical safety space.

An on-site chemical inventory is the first step for any business to get a true understanding of all its existing chemicals. Adhering to a few best practices can go a long way towards increasing your organization’s chemical intelligence.

Chemical inventory work doesn't have to be complex, time-consuming and labor-intensive. Make this important task easier by:

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  1. Using an SDS management system
    If your technicians are capturing chemical products on an inventory spreadsheet instead of using a safety data sheet (SDS) management system, they then have to manually match those products with SDSs based on the details documented during the inventory. An integrated SDS management system helps eliminate errors and automates what otherwise could be a time-consuming process.
  2. Use an SDS management vendor that doesn't outsource their inventory work
    When vendors utilize their own, in-house inventory technicians, the customer benefits from the domain expertise that comes from completing chemical inventories across multiple industries and facility types.
  3. Always capture quantitative information
    Not including quantities makes additional reporting difficult. For example, companies that need to produce Tier IIChemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) or other threshold/quantitative reports – or need to send inventory data to other business applications – can do so almost automatically when the quantities found on site are included in the initial report.
  4. Follow up on recommended post-inventory actions
    Don't skip post-inventory action items such as locating and archiving missing SDS, properly disposing of materials, finding replacements for hazardous products or planning needed safety training for employees. Get the most from your time investment in your inventory by following through on your discoveries.
  5. Conduct inventories on a regular schedule
    Inventory experts report that, in a typical first inventory for an organization, only 40% of on-site chemicals match a company’s material safety data sheets (MSDS) collection. This rate increases dramatically when additional inventories are performed. After a series of regularly scheduled inventories, there's often a decrease in an organization’s SDS count, which, in turn, decreases the annual SDS management system costs.