Chemical Approval in the Lab or Workplace

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Today’s EHS technology provides efficient and effective methods to acquire (purchase) and access (transfer or share) chemicals for use in the workplace. EHS technology will also assist organizations to comply with occupational safety and environmental federal, local and state requirements for managing a chemical inventory list and to have most current safety data sheets (SDS) and compliant GHS labeling.

Furthermore, for organizations who are mandating a third party environmental or safety management system such as ISO 14001 (environmental) or OHSAS 18001 (safety, soon to be ISO 45001), will find comfort that technology provides simplified compliance with the elements of these management systems including standard operating procedures, document control and management of change.

It is imperative that Lab personnel and workers who come in close proximity to chemicals on site are trained properly on identifying health and physical hazards of chemicals such as how to read and understand an SDS and product label. Doing so, will minimize chemical hazards to an acceptable level of risk.

To further advance the process of chemical hazard identification would include the development of procedures that allows only authorized personnel to review and approve chemical acquisitions or chemical use. EHS Software Technology provides this process in an efficient, time saving and effective manner that will allow the approval of purchasing chemicals, maintaining an ac-curate chemical inventory list as well as safety data sheets for active and stockroom chemicals.

EHS technologies like Chemical Safety’s Environmental Management Systems (EMS) include a chemical acquisition request feature which allows the individual who needs a chemical to order either an in-house (within an organization’s business structure such as from another facility or lab), on-site inventory or from an outside approved vendor.

For the task of requesting, reviewing and purchasing of new chemicals, this task has to be writ-ten as a procedure and reviewed regularly to verify the effectiveness of the procedure. The procedure will outline the purpose, scope, work practices and responsible parties to ensure the procedure is followed and maintained for compliance. Through the use of chemical alternative databases (such as the EPA’s Safer Choice initiative), EHS personnel can recommend a safer chemical when appropriate.

Safer Choice helps consumers, businesses, and purchasers find a wide range of consumer quali-ty products that are safer to use, protecting both human health and the environment. A safer chemical list (SCL) is also published through the Safer Choice initiative.

The list is broken down by functional use classes:

  • Chelating and sequestering agents
  • Colorants, polymers, preservatives, and related chemicals
  • Enzymes and enzyme stabilizers
  • Fragrances
  • Oxidants and oxidant stabilizers
  • Processing aids and additives
  • Solvents
  • Surfactants

Chemicals listed on the SCL are marked with one of the following symbols:

Green circle – The chemical has been verified to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data.
Green half-circle – The chemical is expected to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data. Additional data would strengthen our confidence in the chemical’s safer status.
Yellow triangle – The chemical has met Safer Choice Criteria for its functional ingredient-class, but has some hazard profile issues. Specifically, a chemical with this code is not associated with a low level of hazard concern for all human health and environmental endpoints. While it is a best-in-class chemical and among the safest available for a particular function, the func-tion fulfilled by the chemical should be considered an area for safer chemistry innovation.
Grey square – This chemical will not be acceptable for use in products that are candidates for the Safer Choice label and currently labeled products that contain it must reformulate per Safer Choice Compliance Schedule.

The EPA Safer Choice initiative provides a way to search for safer products that could
be used in various areas of your organization.

See example below of a Chemical Acquisition and Approval procedure that can be utilized through EHS technology:

Chemical Acquisition Request Procedure:

    1. Purpose: Reduce the threats and dangers to the environment and personal safety by prior approval of chemicals for use in the facility and on property.
    2. Scope: Ensuring that chemicals used by contractor(s) or new chemical(s) used by individual(s) within the facility are approved by the Safety Manager and Environmental Manager prior to purchase.
    3. Work Practices: Prior to bringing and/or receiving of chemicals to the site:
      • Obtain copy of SDS for each chemical to be used at facility.
      • Forward copy of SDS and chemical acquisition request form to Safety Manager and Environmental Manger for approval.
      • Safety Manager and Environmental Manager will review and return approved chemical requisition form back to originator through use of the electronic system.
      • Requester will upload completed review forms on file located on ‘Chemical Acquisition Request Form’ on the electronic database.
      • Requester will review chemical inventory list to validate the new chemical name, quantity and location are listed on the electronic database.
      • Requester will validate the SDS is located on the ‘Active SDS’ for new chemicals within the SDS database.
      • If a new chemical is to replace an existing one, the requester will validate the chemical being replaced will have the SDS located in the ‘Obsolete SDS’ within the SDS database.
    4. Responsibilities: Plant Manager, Operations Manager, Maintenance Manager, Purchasing Manager, Safety Manager and Environmental Manager.
    5. Consequences Failure to follow procedures could result in receiving unnecessary
      of Deviation: or dangerous chemicals on site which could have an impact on the environment or safety of personnel.
    6. Competence: At least annually or when deemed additional training is needed.
    7. Review/Revision Table
    8. Approval:

When a new chemical is being considered for use, the requester shall fill out and complete an online (New) data Chemical Acquisition Request Form. The form can be tailored to site specific that includes drop down boxes and tables, create notification alerts and document comments by document owner and document approver.

After the completion and submission of the form, an automated email will be sent to the de-fault Safety Manager and Environmental Manager, for review. The safety and environmental manager will decide whether the material will be rejected or approved for use. Regardless if the material request is rejected or approved, an automated email will inform the requestor on the final outcome of their request.

Here is an example of a Chemical Acquisition Request Form via use of the EMS EHS technology:

Chemical Acquisition Request Form

Date of Request: ________________ Name of Requestor: ___________________________

Reason(s) for Request (Check all that apply):
( ) New Chemical ( ) New Location ( ) Increased Quantity ( ) New Type of Use
Will this chemical replace an existing chemical? ____ If so, list the chemical ________________
Product Name: _________________________________________________________________
Manufacturer name: _____________________________________________________________
Attach SDS (Required)

Describe how chemical will be used (purpose – procedure):______________________________

Location(s) of use (equipment location, room name and or area – be specif-ic): ______________

(example: Chemical will be in the Waste Water Building)

Size of containers: ________________ Maximum quantity to be stored: ____________
(weight or volume-include units) (number of containers)

Will the container be repackaged (into dispenser or spray bottles, for example)? ( ) Yes ( ) No

Storage location (equipment location, room name and/or area – be specific): _______________

Persons to use chemical – describe by job type: (i.e. manufacturing maintenance, sanitation,

Contractors, etc.) _______________________________________________________________

This online Chemical Acquisition Request Form will have automatic emails sent to the approvals and catalog the date the request was submitted, the number of days under review and the final date of approval or rejection of the request. It is important to identify a time period for re-views to be conducted; i.e., no greater than seven days after submittal. Another key point is to have designers for the safety manager and environmental manger so the approval process can continue regardless if they are on vacation, are out sick or on personal leave. These two points should be described in detail in the written procedure.

The advantages of utilizing EHS technology for the purchase of chemicals in the lab or work-place are limitless. Here are a few examples:

      • A default approval list sets the parameter of who will be authorized to approve or reject a request.
      • A search criteria screen with several different fields will be displayed on the screen.
      • Many fields used as search criteria for a “Find” can be populated using pop-up tables.
      • Generate quick management reports that allow you to choose the type of report from a drop down menu and make available to print.
      • The system performs various security checks and provides a checks and balances to validate the chemical inventory list and SDS are in alignment.
      • Utilization of various EHS Mobile Apps to search for chemical information such as health hazards, storage recommendations, emergency response information and first aid measures. EHS Mobile Apps can also be used to conduct onsite safety, quality and environmental inspections on your iPhone or other mobile devices.


By: Tony Diamantidis, Sr. Director
Chemical Safety Software

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