Effective chemical storage requires a rigorous approach to health and safety. Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is not only a vital component of safe chemical storage, they also help to efficiently manage inventory. Chemical storage regulations (COSHH) dictate that records must be kept of all inventory stored indoors and outdoors, both to promote safety and to ensure emergency services have access to the information, should they need it. Insurers sometimes also require this information before they can process claims. Plus, if a business is subject to a COSHH audit, the inspector will ask to review inventory records, so it’s important to have complete and updated chemical storage records at all times.
Chemical inventory best practices
Chemical inventory should always be rotated appropriately to reduce the likelihood of chemical deterioration, which can pose additional hazards. Overstocking chemicals is not a solution: not only can it compound hazards, it also drives up costs due to the unnecessary occupation of space on business premises. Maintaining an accurate record of the chemicals being stored can help you minimise both risk and expenditure.
Good chemical storage safety practice should also guarantee that incompatible chemicals are not stored together, as they could become highly dangerous if in contact with each other. This not only requires the use of clear labelling of chemicals but also a system that flags these potential hazards before they become a problem.
Read on to explore five of the best inventory management software programmes for hazardous chemical storage.
ChemInventory is secure, cloud-based software that is accessed through a web browser, meaning there’s no need to install the programme and you can use it on any device. An important feature of ChemInventory is the ability to search instantly for compounds by name, CAS registry number and structure, as well as any number of custom fields. Chemical structures are presented alongside other relevant information in search results.
By bringing together multiple sources of GHS data, ChemInventory gives you an up-to-date snapshot of a chemical’s known hazards, with the option to view hazard definitions, precaution codes and descriptions, pictograms and more. All file types can be uploaded and stored on their servers, so they can be accessed on any device, directly from search results. This means you can view all SDS documents, lab procedures, compound spectra, analysis certificates and invoices on whichever device you use.
Designed for simplicity in chemical management and complete automation of the laboratory, LabCup offers more than chemical inventory recording. With additional modules covering Safety Officers, compliance staff, waste disposal, purchase approval and more, the programme offers users the ability to manage everything from purchasing and compliance to the location and disposal of chemicals. Everything is tracked from the moment it is sourced, throughout its movement around premises, all the way through to its disposal.
Chemicals can be added by simply taking a picture of the container and label with a smartphone; all additional data about each chemical is automatically sourced and added to the record, including hazard and safety information, synonyms and chemical structures. Plus, live hazard and safety information is provided to help prevent accidents and ensure they are dealt with quickly and appropriately when they do occur.
Built on a Microsoft platform, Lisam ExEss EH&S offers solutions and content to manage all materials effectively in relation to regulatory compliance, hazard communications, environmental reporting and inventory management across every phase of the product life cycle. A single database contains all required compliance and chemical management data, which can generate site-specific chemical watch lists, as well as categorise individual chemicals according to their usage, function and location, etc.
Other functionality includes a full inventory management system, which incorporates an inventory of dangerous waste, the ability to produce Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and instruction cards, label management, Workplace Risk Assessments, Permit information, instructions for the storage of explosive materials and more.
The inventory management software offered by CambridgeSoft provides a full-featured interface to manage data associated with both procured and manufactured chemical substances, from the moment they are produced or obtained through to their depletion and disposal. It offers a flexible location configuration that allows multiple laboratories, stockrooms, freezers and racks to be monitored through the one system. The software can generate material Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and follows the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Chemical Classification and Labelling for regulatory compliance.
With full support for the ChemACX database produced by CambridgeSoft, it can help with the sourcing, shopping and data input for any products needing to be ordered. Data can also be imported from Excel spreadsheets and databases. An advanced search facility allows users to search for chemicals using any field of information—e.g. name, CAS number, boiling point, etc.—or by structure or sub-structure.
The Chemical Inventory Management solution from Sphera uses a secure, centralised database to track pure chemicals and mixtures. The information stored includes material composition and properties, inventory transactions and estimates, container-level tracking, and storage area information—including storage container properties and locations—as well as the ability to define your own parameters for compiling an inventory of toxic substances.
The entire lifecycle of chemicals can be tracked and managed, from receipt to movement and usage, as well as any adjustments and eventual disposal. Full reporting functionality has been incorporated to fulfil legal requirements, such as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorisation Act (SARA), Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulation and several others.
If you need help or advice on proper chemical storage practices or are uncertain of your chemical storage requirements, talk to the experts at Safety Storage Systems.
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