Think of an electronics store, with shelves full of high-end gadgets and cutting-edge technology. Without careful inventory management, the store owner would have no way of knowing which items were in stock. That presents a problem when customers stop by to make a purchase – but it could also create a sticky situation in the case of theft or insurance claims. Much like electronics stores, industrial facilities must keep an up-to-date inventory to ensure smooth operations. Unlike electronics stores, industrial facilities are responsible for chemical inventories, which help facilities manage chemicals like pesticides, solvents, and industrial fuels, to name a few. So, why are chemical inventories necessary?
Why Are Chemical Inventories Necessary?
What Is a Chemical Inventory?
A hazardous chemical inventory list, or chemical inventory, is simple: a list of all potentially harmful products in use at an industrial facility. These products can range from everyday chemicals like pesticides and cleaners to industrial fuels and solvents. Chemical inventories are required by a number of regulatory bodies, including state and local agencies and OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. OSHA inspectors check these inventories to ensure that potentially hazardous chemicals are being managed appropriately. Additionally, if a facility experiences a fire or other emergency, emergency responders will use the inventory to identify any volatile chemicals onsite. While these inventories can take the shape of physical lists, they are more often saved in digital spreadsheets for easy management.
Why Are Chemical Inventories Necessary?
As mentioned above, chemical inventories are an important part of maintaining a safe workplace. A chemical inventory allows facility managers to keep an eye on any potentially toxic or harmful substances, helping to educate staff and prevent accidents and injuries. In some cases, a chemical inventory can be used to identify safer alternatives to certain chemicals.
Chemical inventories can also help reduce overhead costs, as facility managers can check the inventory to make more informed purchasing decisions – much like a grocery shopper might check their pantry before embarking on a weekly shopping trip.
Finally, chemical inventories can help minimize waste. As many volatile chemicals are perishable, a chemical inventory allows facility managers to use items in the inventory before they expire. Not only do expired chemicals pose a safety threat, but also disposing of expired chemicals can be costly, especially for small businesses. With an up-to-date chemical inventory, all necessary chemicals can be utilized before they expire, saving costs and reducing waste.
Creating Your Chemical Inventory
Creating a chemical inventory can be a meticulous process, particularly if a facility works with a high number of potentially hazardous chemicals. The first step in creating a chemical inventory should be to organize a Safety Data Sheets (SDS) book, listing any and all hazardous products alphabetically. Ideally, this should exist in a digital spreadsheet for easy updating. Each product listing should include the manufacturer name, the product name, and the expiration date. The inventory should then be updated regularly for ongoing accuracy.
So, why are chemical inventories necessary? These lists are an important way for facility managers to keep an eye on hazardous chemicals. Proper inventory management helps maintain a safe, cost-effective workplace, protecting staff and ensuring economical business practices. Chemical inventories can also be used by emergency responders, who may need to consult the list before entering a compromised facility in case of fire or another emergency.
Are you in need of further information on the importance of chemical inventories? When you’re ready, you can contact EWI online or call 877-827-9500 for more information. We have in-house experts ready to help walk you through the specifics of your organization’s planning needs, especially as it pertains to chemical management.