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Are you paying too much for SDS management?

Written by: Rob Hallsworth

Published on: 19 May 2023

expired and duplicate SDSs

The smarter way to save on SDS management

How one client reduced costs by 60% with SDS RiskAssist (and improved workplace health and safety too)

Efficient, effective safety data sheet (SDS) management is essential for employee health and safety, workplace productivity, and compliance with WHMIS requirements and occupational health and safety regulations. But is your online SDS provider charging you too much, including for old, obsolete SDSs that only clutter up your system and make everything more inefficient?

Moving from paper SDSs to a digital SDS management system is a game-changer for productivity and effectiveness. But even with digital SDS management software, you still may be paying too much for SDSs you don't need.

Why pay for duplicate, non-compliant safety data sheets?

In our work onboarding clients to the SDS RiskAssist platform, we all too often see SDS collections that contain duplicate, obsolete and non-compliant SDSs that our clients were previously paying for, year after year! Not only are these redundant, non-compliant SDSs a waste of money, they also waste time and pose a health and safety risk when employees aren't sure they have the correct, up-to-date SDS to work with.

One client's journey to more effective SDS management

Our work with a large provincial government department is one example. About 10 years ago, their health and safety officer migrated a paper-based MSDS system with thousands of records across hundreds of locations to an online service provider.

After a decade with the SDS supplier, the health and safety officer wasn't sure if they were paying a competitive price and whether they were getting good value for their money. So, the department put it out to tender with the following key requirements:

  • onboard SDSs from the existing system
  • complete onboarding work 5 days from the date of the award
  • set-up locations in exact format of the existing system
  • provide the newest SDSs from suppliers
  • ensure SDSs comply with current legislative requirements

SDS RiskAssist ticked all those boxes AND reduced the department's SDS management costs by 45% compared to the previous online SDS management software provider.

Out with old SDSs, in with WHMIS-compliant SDSs

But the story doesn't end there. During onboarding we discovered some remarkable gaps in their SDS collection:

  • 34% of the SDSs did not meet current legislative requirements: they were too old or didn't comply with current regulations.
    • The oldest SDS was from 1986 and should have been replaced every three years up to 2015!
    • 450 SDSs were more than 12 years old (SDS RiskAssist data shows that there's only a 10% chance these products are still in use with a current sheet available).
  • 5% of the SDSs were duplicates.
  • For their largest chemical product supplier, only 10% of the SDSs were current and fully 35% were for products that are no longer commercially available.

Cleaning out these old, obsolete SDSs further reduced the department's SDS management costs by another 15% bringing the total reduction to 60%.

In addition to bringing the department's SDS management system up to date and saving money, the health and safety officer also gained valuable information on the types of hazards found in her organization.

For example, SDS RiskAssist analysis showed the department was using 418 products that could cause cancer and 352 products that could cause reproductive problems. Now she has critical information to prioritize and support occupational health and safety decision-making and control procedures.

Added chemical safety benefits

Furthermore, the department is now able to access basic WHMIS training and provide all employees with one-page digital SafetySnaps for each SDS, with customizable instructions on how to use chemical products safely.

Questions about SDS management in your workplace?

Check out our complete Guide to SDS Management and please feel free to get in touch with any questions!



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SDS RiskAssist wins 6th Readers' Choice Award
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SDS RiskAssist an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist enables workers to know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop SafetySnaps™, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner for 5 years running, of Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine (2018-2022); the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.