MSDS software simplifies regulatory compliance
As laws concerning chemical storage become more stringent, it is more important than ever that local governments keep chemical-related information up to date. In fact, federal agencies such as the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sometimes conduct audits to ensure local governments’ compliance with storage and record-keeping regulations.
To assist in gathering, storing and organizing chemical-related data, some cities and counties are choosing an automated route. For example, officials in Denton, Texas, recently developed a material safety data sheet (MSDS) system to standardize chemical storage data for city utilities.
Denton created its MSDS system in the spring of 1996 using the Comply Plus software program from Dolphin Software, Lake Oswego, Ore. Accessible to all 1,000 city employees, the system encompasses the electric, water and sanitary utilities.
The city’s previous system for logging chemical safety and storage data required utility managers to manually input data into a series of large binders. With multiple utility divisions, manual record-keeping resulted in inconsistent datathat was difficult for employees to access.
The new system categorizes Denton’s chemical data according to the utility divisions in which the chemicals exist. Employees can search the database by chemical or by location.
Only one database administrator maintains Denton’s MSDS system, thereby preserving the integrity of the system. As each division receives a new data sheet, its manager sends the updated information to the administrator. The database is updated by the software provider quarterly.
With a modern, standardized and easily accessible MSDS system, Denton has simplified compliance with government MSDS regulations. Eventually, the city plans to expand the system to other non-utility divisions.
– Lee Hicks, utility safety and training coordinator, Denton, Texas