Chemical Inventory: Safety Topics - December 2018 - Week 4


Chemical inventory management is important for workplace safety, environmental protection, and emergency response so awareness of what chemicals are stored and used in our facilities, their hazards to our health and safety, and how to properly respond if there is a dangerous chemical spill or exposure is important.

More than two years ago, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) required companies that manufacture, import, store, or distribute hazardous chemicals to reclassify them according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). How can you ensure that your workplace is GHS compliant with regulations, properly handling chemicals and prepared for emergencies? The week between holidays is a great time to review and update your Chemical Inventory List...

Monday – Chemical Inventory List

A chemical inventory is a list of all substances on site that are manufactured, imported, or used by a company. For each chemical on the list, a corresponding Safety Data Sheet (SDS) should be saved in a computer data folder and a paper copy in an easily accessible binder. The SDS provides chemical-specific information, including physical and toxicological properties. Current U.S. federal regulations require all SDSs follow the same format (see OSHA Safety Data Sheet information). Consult the SDS to assess the risks associated with a chemical or potentially hazardous substance.

Quick and easy access to the chemical inventory list and SDS allows employees to find important information about the chemicals in their workplace. If you have lost a SDS, contact the manufacturer or use a database (such as to retrieve it.

Additional benefits include:

  • Easily accessible information on chemical hazards, properties, first aid, personal protective equipment (PPE), and emergency procedures.
  • Learning proper handling, storing, using, transporting, and disposing techniques.
  • Emergency responders can quickly access chemical safety and hazard information for their protection and safety, especially in case of fire or major spills.
  • Easy tracking and reporting of regulatory chemical and waste information.

Tuesday – Chemical Inventory List: Structure

Chemical inventory lists should, at a minimum, include notations of the following for each product:

  • Identification marker
  • Corresponding SDS on file
  • Product name
  • Manufacturer’s name, address, city, and state
  • Manufacturer’s telephone number and emergency telephone number

Wednesday – Chemical Inventory List: Maintenance

Chemical inventory list maintenance is an ongoing process, so make sure it includes real-time materials and quantities that adequately reflect current workplace conditions.

For an effective chemical inventory:

  • Keep inventory list with corresponding SDS.
  • Update the list in an online chemical tracking database, like Sitehawk, and the SDS binder when new chemicals arrive.
  • Note chemical locations in the building.
  • Note chemical container types and sizes.
  • Tally the total amounts of chemicals in your workplace.

Thursday – Chemical Safety Procedure Optimization

Additional information and efforts spent on chemical inventory can help optimize a hazard communication plan and chemical safety procedures. During the inventory process:

  • Review chemical hazards of your workplace.
  • Identify concerns to determine if chemicals should be modified or substituted.
  • Minimize the amounts and hazards of the chemicals in your workplace.
  • Take time to clean out surplus and waste chemicals and containers.
  • Analyze chemical age, cost, usage patterns, and shelf life.

Friday – Free Speech Friday

Have you inspected your immediate work area for unknown chemicals? Have you had anyone access your work area and leave chemicals there without your knowledge? Now is a good time to take inventory of all chemicals that are present in your immediate work area. Have you noticed new chemicals that may have not been present before?

This week’s Tips and Facts are cited from

Tags: safety topics , industrial hygiene , osha compliance ,

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