Original Date: 04/07/1997
Revision Date: 04/14/2003
Information : Automated Material Safety Data Sheets
More than 6,400 different Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are available on-line through a PC connected to Rock Island Arsenal’s (RIA’s) LAN. Users can query the database by local MSDS number, product name, manufacturer name, national stock number, cost center (user), or hazardous ingredient. The computer-based system is accessible Island-wide, and extensive copies of MSDSs are no longer manually prepared or distributed.
The RIA Safety Office manages local program implementation of the federally mandated Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200. Per the Hazard Communication Standard, customers are not to use materials until MSDSs are available. One of the primary and most significant tasks associated with Hazard Communication Standard is the procurement, distribution, and management of MSDSs. The Safety Office is the central repository for MSDSs.
Prior to the updated, automated MSDS system, more than 6,400 documents consisting of 35,000 pages were filed in more than 100 three-ringed binders. The data sheets are required and received for each hazardous material purchased and used by RIA. The data sheets are analyzed by the RIA Safety Office and Industrial Hygiene Office for content and applicability at RIA. Site-specific data was then entered into an antiquated Intel computer system. Index cards were prepared manually to cross reference each MSDS. Hundreds of copies of MSDSs were made daily and distributed to users, and 15 reports were printed and distributed quarterly to central locations. The entire MSDS process was extremely time and resource consuming. The volumes of materials were becoming restrictively cumbersome to manage. Audits conducted by the Quality Systems auditors showed a weakness in compliance with the local Hazard Communication requirements.
The process has now been replaced with a state-of-the-art automated on-line MSDS system. Project implementation, with the assistance of information technology, began one year ago by scanning over 6,400 MSDSs into a portable document file (PDF) format using Adobe Acrobat 3.0 software. As this occurred, the information previously stored on the Intel computer was downloaded, manipulated, and converted to PC application. To access the new system, users need a PC connected to the RIA LAN, Internet Explorer World Wide Web Browser, and the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader software. Users can browse query results to find the specific MSDS they are interested in, and view or print a hard copy. Users can also generate their own reports and print a hard copy.
The Automated MSDS system significantly improves data entry, access by all individuals to current MSDS information, and compliance with Hazard Communication program requirements. Updates can be accomplished quickly, making more time available for safety personnel to devote their time to other safety issues. Further enhancements will make the system completely paperless.
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