Top 5 Questions About Web-based (M)SDS Management

With environmental issues and safety concerns on the rise, companies now face a dual challenge of mitigating risk to employees while reducing the high costs and complexities of Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) compliance management. A Material Safety Data Sheet, called an "MSDS" or sometimes just "SDS," contains critical safety information. When considering a switch to computerized, web-based, on-demand (M)SDS management, many companies want to know the benefits. Five commonly asked questions are:

1. How/where are my MSDS stored?

(M)SDS and related data are stored as content in a secure data warehouse. MSDSs are not stored as .pdf documents – instead, uniform sections of the document are broken up and stored in a relational database. This method has been proven, trusted and implemented since 1999. Tip: check web-based MSDS management companies for the SAS-70 seal - this ensures the provider's system and their processes have been certified by a third-party auditor. The seal should be right on the web site.

2. How will my employees access the (M)SDS?

Easy: all that's needed is internet access. By strict username and password protocols, all employees have access to a centralized (M)SDS library. The extensive, up-to-date library provides permission-based access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3. Will this make my EH&S regulation reporting easier?

Yes. State-of-the-art search and analysis capabilities ensure your auditable and defensible EHS compliance reporting.

4. What about my multi-format (M)SDS?

No problem. You’ll get support with a variety of (M)SDS formats such as: GHS (Global Harmonized System), GHS Japan and Australia, ANSI, and WHMIS.

5. Will we be going paperless?

Although OSHA permits “paperless compliance,” a hardcopy of the (M)SDS must be readily accessible to all employees and emergency response personnel if needed. Because of this, back-ups in case of emergency are recommended. However, you’ll find that employees rarely need them or want the extra baggage when they can just access the material online.

Additional information can be found at this Outsourcing MSDS Management (Show Me the Money!) page.

Guest blogger Adam Baer authors MSDSs and manages MSDS data on a daily basis. He graduated from the University of Maine with a B.A. in Journalism. Contact him via
Kathleen Hurley