At a Glance

  • Differing definitions of what’s considered hazardous makes it tough for chemical companies to comply with rules that could vary from region to region.
  • Chemical companies face daunting regulatory and operational challenges when complying with workplace safety rules.
  • Finding ways to make compliance smoother is crucial to chemical companies.
  • Using modern technological tools such as Integrated Chemical Management for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (iCM) can help chemical companies comply with complex, confusing rules and regulations.

Introduction

The chemical industry is constantly under increased scrutiny due to potential health and safety risks inherent to its workforce. These companies continuously face challenges following current regulations, applying updates, ensuring accurate documentation and following labeling guidelines. Chemical companies need to be able to carry out hazard determinations, have a full understanding of applicable regulations and stay up to date on OSHA guidelines. Those that don’t, risk exposing themselves to additional inspections and the possibility of serious fines. Thankfully, more companies are finding that compliance ratings can be improved using cutting-edge tools and technologies.

Occupational exposures, exposure to lead and acute poisonings resulting from unsound management are estimated to account globally for 1.3 million deaths.Source: The World Health Organization

Regulatory Compliance Challenges

Some of the regulatory compliance challenges facing chemical companies include:

  1. 1.Data Management: Regulatory changes can require wholesale updates to a chemical company’s data management system. “The Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses does not add to or change an employer’s obligation to complete, retain and certify injury and illness records. It only requires certain employers electronically submit some of the information from these records to OSHA,” the department states. Complying with this rule may require costly updates.
  2. 2.Geographic Barriers: Chemicals are used, supplied and manufactured worldwide. The definitions of hazardous chemicals can change with every region. Having to include environmental and workplace safety laws that can vary from state to state, not just country to country, makes it tough for companies to stay on top of the laws.
  3. 3.Language Barriers: Moving chemicals from one part of the planet to another means manufacturers and shippers are also likely to run into different languages, which can add problems.
  4. 4.GHS Labeling: OSHA states the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling “provides a common, coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazardous information stored on labels and data safety sheets,”. GHS also helps reduce trade barriers and increase productivity for American businesses that handle, store and use hazardous chemicals. Complying with GHS standards, which OSHA has enforced in the United States since 2012, requires chemical containers to have a harmonized signal word, GHS pictogram, a hazard statement for each hazard class and category plus a precautionary statement. Chemical companies need to be agile enough to monitor and adapt to these updates.

Role of Technology in Meeting the Dynamic OSHA Compliance Needs

More and more, chief experience officers (CXOs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) of chemical companies around the world are realizing the benefits of applying cutting-edge technology to chemical regulatory compliance. Using newer products such as Integrated Chemical Management for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (iCM) is the best way for chemical companies to keep pace with dynamic OSHA guidelines. Tools like iCM can integrate with a company’s existing data to make it more agile and effective.

ICM is the chemical industry’s first overarching tool designed to help automate Safety Data Sheet (SDS) authoring and maintenance, GHS-compliant label management and safety management compliance. Aside from ensuring compliance with changing OSHA guidelines, ICM helps organizations with the following:

  • Centralizing data, making it easier to access. Any changes in data enjoy increased visibility and can be tracked across different functions and regions.
  • Removing the need to pay for outside labeling and SDS authoring.
  • Reducing manual data inputs and related errors.
  • Providing real-time maintenance and updates to SDS and label management while remaining in compliance with existing GHS guidelines.
  • Reducing time-to-market through greater efficiency.
  • Promoting better OSHA compliance through integrated Safety Data Sheets (SDS) management and by removing the need to maintain paper product safety documentation.

Figure: 1Key Functionalities of Microsoft Dynamics iCM

Integrated Chemical Management Key Functionalities

This is a critical aspect for staying power in the industry. Chemical companies need to audit and update their IT infrastructure to ensure processes and procedures stay current with any changes to OSHA and GHS guidelines. GHS guidelines for example, have been updated five times since 2012, and most recently in 2019.

Updating data collection technology not only promotes better legal compliance, it also improves safety in the workplace, better protecting employees, and the environment, from the misuse of hazardous chemicals.

Today’s customers are more aware of potential chemical hazards than ever before. They are more likely to use a company that takes safety guidelines seriously. Adapting and leveraging advanced technologies is an integral way chemical companies can improve their OSHA compliance and boost their brand presence.

For those companies finding the ever-changing landscape of OSHA guidelines intimidating, updating to iCM can make managing regulatory compliance a much smoother process.

Key Takeaways

  • Managing regulations across the supply chain from raw material suppliers to end customers is easier with the help of a comprehensive system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 with iCM.
  • Chemical companies can use technology experts to smoothly implement the latest tools and ensure compliance to health and safety rules.
  • Obeying safety and environmental regulations improves the public’s perception of a company’s brand.

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XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

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