Original Date: 03/17/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Material Safety Data Sheets Management
Prior to OSHA requirements, Polaroid developed Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for all chemicals made by the company. The MSDS were distributed in hardcopy to all known users. Since its initiation, Polaroid has made various improvements to enhance the quality of the information and make it more accessible to its employees. Currently, Polaroid prepares MSDSs for all chemicals used in production, even if the chemicals were purchased from another manufacturer. This practice enables Polaroid to maintain a consistent format for all chemical information; provide standard terminology over a variety of chemical categories; write MSDSs for mixtures used by employees; and facilitate employee handling and spill response training.
In 1990, Polaroid began a project to transfer its hardcopy MSDS system into an electronic version. The new system provides access to the most recent version of an MSDS via computer and allows for database searches by various terms (e.g., chemical category, Chemical Abstracts Service number, chemical name). The system also contains the label text for hazard warnings and precautionary measures on Polaroid containers. Although Polaroid’s MSDS system eliminated obstacles found in the hardcopy version such as difficult distribution and upkeep, employee accessibility of the system was limited.
In 1994, Polaroid established a Business Improvement Team (BIT) to improve the availability of the most up-to-date Corporate MSDSs. At the time, the MSDS system only had 50 on-line users. From its research, BIT discovered that employees had to obtain five separate account approvals which delayed access to the system by three to five weeks; passwords expired within 30 days unless used; employees had to maneuver through several screens before reaching the MSDS section; and the system lacked a correlation to Polaroid’s chemical code number system which was how most employees identified chemicals. To revise the MSDS system, BIT focused on making the on-line system more accessible and easier to use.
As a result of BIT’s recommendations, the revised MSDS system features many improvements: employees can establish accounts within one day; the easy-access, menu-driven system allows employees to reach the MSDS section faster; and the system now has a correlation with Polaroid’s chemical code number system. The most significant improvement of the system is its increased accessibility by employees. The MSDS system currently supports 1,466 on-line users.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.