When your company is producing Safety Data Sheets (SDS), distribution of those safety data sheets is critical to ensuring the safety of your customers and their employees. When you publish your SDS sheets online, the important information is always available and at the fingertips of the people who need it.
Can You Publish SDS Sheets online?
Manufacturers may publish SDS sheets online, but most manufacturers will also need to provide a hard copy to new customers when shipping the first shipment of a new chemical, or when the SDS has been updated since the customer’s last shipment of the chemical.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) does allow manufacturers to provide SDS sheets in electronic format, but ONLY where the downstream customer has certain procedures and policies in place.
For electronic format to be acceptable, the employees must have access to the SDS sheets online or offline with no barriers to the employees. Some customers will prefer SDS sheets online, but other customers may not have the technical infrastructure to provide easy employee access to electronic SDS sheets.
For this reason, most manufacturers who publish SDS sheets online will want to use online publishing as an addition to (not a substitute for) providing hardcopy SDS sheets.
Why Should You Publish SDS Sheets Online?
Any manufacturer producing chemicals will at some point need to update their SDS sheets. Even slight changes to the formula can necessitate a change in SDS sheets, and new hazards can become apparent with chemicals that have been in production for years.
When these updates require an SDS sheet change, online publication makes it easy to update the customers who are still using the SDS sheet.
For example, consider the situation where a chemical you’ve produced for years is now found to have a new hazard. Complying with OSHA standards means that you must update the SDS sheet and notify any customers within three months. For a major product that has had major changes to the SDS sheets, compliance with this can be expensive because new SDS sheets must be shipped to your customers if they are only available in paper form.
When your SDS sheets are online, a simple email to your existing customers provides them with notification of the change so they can download and print the most current version of the SDS sheet. With this system, employees are always fully informed about how to use their materials safely, even when the safety information changes between shipments.
Having your SDS sheets online may help you to boost sales. For companies that work with chemicals extensively, they may feel more comfortable about using a new formula or new manufacturer if their engineers or supervisors can review the SDS sheets online before they make a purchasing decision. This allows them to ensure that they have adequate hazard control procedures in place for any chemical they decide to add to their workspace.
Publishing SDS sheets online makes sense for the manufacturer, and as more manufacturers move to online and electronic distribution, more customers will establish systems for maintaining SDS sheets that are received electronically. For companies that use a wide range of products, having online access to SDS sheets allows them to better manage and organize their safety information.
Online publishing of SDS sheets does not negate or change any of the information requirements for SDS sheets, but publishing your SDS sheets online can help your customers more readily access necessary information about the products they use every day.
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