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Safety data sheets

06 June 2022

A safety data sheet (SDS) is a legally required document being the main source of information for employers and employees on the hazards of chemicals and the risks they pose to people and the environment, as well as measures to control the risks.

Safety data sheets authoring is a key part of chemical management, allowing customers who sell, distribute or manufacture chemicals to efficiently produce and update this key safety resource.

Manufacturers must comply with complex legislation in UK/Europe

In accordance with the REACH Regulation and that which is retained in UK law all companies that market hazardous chemical products must distribute an SDS together with the product. The structure and demands for the contents is highly regulated both through harmonised European regulation but also globally through the introduction of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). These sets of rules seek to ensure that this key document is delivered in a structured, uniform and standardized approach and that upon the identification of new information these documents are updated and redistributed without undue delay.

Inefficiencies in the authoring process

The authoring of SDS’s is a complex and continuous task for several reasons: the complexity in calculating and assessing the hazard for a product is high and difficult to comprehend for layman;  the information needed to create the SDS is continuously being updated, e.g. because new hazards have been identified or occupational exposure limits have changed; the understanding of the risk profile of the product has changed. Further to this and to create an accurate and compliant SDS one does not only need to understand the general chemical regulations but also associated regulations, e.g. control of major accident requirements, special rules for aerosol products, special requirements for detergent products, biocidal products, solvent based coatings etc.

All this together constitutes an inherent risk of making errors especially in those cases where the author is left alone with the task on top of all the other tasks that also need to be done. And especially the creation of SDS’s manually poses not only an imminent risk of making errors but also the likelihood of a very inefficient work process since all new updates and changes must be redone by hand. A tedious exercise that includes a lot of repetitive steps where the same data is entered again and again for each safety data sheet. This is where a digital solution with an efficient control of data makes the job easier as this offers data consistency, a high degree of quality through the use of master data and automated methods making updates of hundreds of SDS’s in multiple languages an exercise that can be completed within the hour.

Learn best practices in our SDS authoring webinar

Click here to register for the live online webinar where we will reveal tips and tricks to simplify SDS Authoring SDS Authoring Best Practices – EcoOnline Webinar.

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