Cal/OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to make a chemical inventory list of the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace. The chemicals on these lists are identified with markers to easily find the corresponding safety data sheet (SDS).
Quick and easy access to the chemical inventory list and safety data sheets allows employees to find important information about the chemicals in their workplace.
Additional benefits include:
- Employees are able to find information on chemical hazards, properties, first aid, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency procedures, and disposal methods.
- Emergency responders can quickly access chemical safety and hazard information.
- Regulatory chemical and waste reporting can be easily tracked and reported.
Chemical inventory lists should, at minimum, include notations of the following for each product:
- Identification marker.
- Corresponding SDS on file.
- Product name.
- Manufacturer’s name.
- Manufacturer’s address, city, and state.
- Manufacturer’s telephone number and emergency telephone number.
Consumer products, temporary working solutions, and non-hazardous materials do not need to be inventoried. Radioactive and biohazardous materials as well as wastes should be inventoried under their own separate programs.
Include the following in your chemical inventory:
- Aerosol products.
- Compressed gases.
- Flammables and combustibles.
- Organic peroxides.
- Poisons not included in the above categories.
- Controlled Substances (Drug Enforcement Agency listed drugs).
Maintaining the chemical inventory list should be an ongoing process, so it includes real-time material lists and quantities that adequately reflect the current conditions in the workplace.
For an effective chemical inventory:
- Keep the inventory list with the corresponding SDS.
- Update the list and the SDS binder when new chemicals arrive in the workplace.
- Note the locations of the chemicals.
- Note the types and sizes of chemical containers.
- Tally the total amounts of chemicals stored in your workplace.
Additional information and efforts spent on your chemical inventory can help optimize your hazard communication plan and chemical safety procedures.
During the inventory process:
- Review the chemical hazards in your workplace.
- Identify concerns to determine if the chemical should be modified or substituted.
- Minimize the amounts and hazards of the chemicals in the workplace.
- Take the time to clean out surplus and waste chemicals and containers.
- Analyze chemical usage patterns, age, shelf life, and cost.
Your chemical inventory can be as simple as a document, spreadsheet, or you can purchase professional software or contract with online inventory maintenance services.
Some benefits to more sophisticated inventory systems include:
- Barcode labeling and tracking.
- Remote inventory control.
- Automatic stock notifications and re-orders.
- Flagging the chemicals that have specific regulations and reporting requirements.
Beyond providing an easy way to access chemical safety information, a chemical inventory list can save you time, money, and identify ways to improve your workplace chemical handling and storage.