MSDSs provide essential safety and health information about the chemicals in your workplace. But they can only do their job and help protect against chemical hazards if employees actually use them.
The MSDS should be the main resource employees rely on when they have questions about chemical hazards and precautions. But do they actually consult the MSDS or do they guess?
One effective way to instill the essential safety habit of actively using MSDSs is to hold refresher training on the different hazardous chemicals employees work with. Make the MSDS for each chemical the centerpiece of the training session.
During the session, take employees section by section through the MSDS and show them exactly where to find the information they need and how to interpret that into action.
There are plenty of reasons to justify such a training session. For example:
- A new chemical is introduced into the workplace (or a familiar chemical from a different manufacturer)
- A new use or process for a chemical is introduced, requiring new or different safe work procedures
- A new MSDS form—either a different format, or revised information—comes into the workplace
- New employees entering the workforce may not be familiar with a chemical and safety rules for using it
Unlimited safety training—one low cost. No setup, no software to install. Find out why the Software & Information Industry Association just voted the BLR Employee Training Center the Best Workforce Training Solution.
Advice from an Expert
Here’s some other helpful advice about MSDSs from expert Jim Sweeney, a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Cincinnati area office with more than 30 years of OSHA experience under his belt:
- Expand your binder. If you use traditional binders to manage your MSDSs, consider including other helpful documents in the binder, such as a copy of the standard, your written hazard communication program, your chemical inventory list, and a glossary of technical terms.
- Don’t keep workers in the dark. Sometimes third-shift workers are literally left in the dark when it comes to getting their hands on the MSDS binder, says Sweeney. That’s because the document is locked in a supervisor’s office only open during the day. The answer is to place at least one additional binder in a break room or other location that never closes.
- Train the troops. Make sure workers know how to find and interpret the safety and health information they need. Don’t just hand them an MSDS and tell them to read it, or point to a computer terminal or a fax machine and tell them to find it.
- Keep MSDSs up to date. Sweeney recommends that you establish an orderly schedule for MSDS review to ensure that the sheets are up to date and reflect precisely what’s in use.
- Hold on to old sheets. Don’t discard MSDSs for substances no longer in use. Keep them in a separate file so that they can be consulted if it is learned, for example, that a component formerly used has been determined to cause illness.
No time to prepare or deliver training? With the BLR Employee Training Center, your employees can start taking essential training courses the same day you sign up. Workers (and supervisors) train at their convenience, 24/7. We track, and you save with this turnkey solution. If you didn’t think it could be this simple, take a look.
If you’re looking for effective MSDS training materials for your employees, you need look no further than the BLR Employee Training Center. You’ll also find more than 60 other safety training courses available in this indispensible resource.
These are all motivational, actionable programs—for both supervisors and employees—in such key areas as hazard communication, back safety, general workplace safety, bloodborne pathogens, OSHA requirements, and many more. And, what’s more, we add new programs continually.
Just as important, the BLR Employee Training Center automatically documents training. As trainees sign on, their identifications are automatically registered. And when the program is completed, the trainee’s score is entered. So, when you want to see who has been trained on any subject, or to look at the across-the-board activity of any one employee, it’s all there, instantly available to you, your boss, an inspector—even a plaintiff’s attorney.
Course certificates can be automatically generated from within the training center, and are automatically retained for record-keeping purposes.
And it couldn’t be easier—this turnkey service requires no setup, no course development time, no software installation, and no new hardware. Your employees can self-register, and training can be taken anytime (24/7), anywhere there is a PC and an Internet connection. Courses take only about 30 minutes to complete.
Unlimited Training that Won’t Bust the Budget
Best of all, in these budget-crunching times, the BLR Employee Training Center costs only a fraction of what you would pay for a learning management system (LMS). You always know exactly what training will cost, no matter how many programs you use or how many times you use them. There’s just one low annual fee—for unlimited training—calculated by the size of your workforce. Budget once and you’re done!
The BLR Employee Training Center also includes a selection of HR courses—you decide whether you want just the safety courses, the HR courses, or both safety and HR.
If it sounds like we’re excited about this new service, well, we are—and so is the Software & Information Industry Association, which just voted the BLR Employee Training Center the “Best Workforce Training Solution.” Find out what all the buzz is about—sign up for a no-obligation trial.
Other Recent Articles on Chemical Safety
The ABC’s of Safe Chemical Transportation
How to Meet OSHA’s HazCom Training Requirements
HazCom—What You Must Put in Writing
Working Safely Around Hazardous Waste