3 Reasons to Digitize Your Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

By Brian Sugarman on August 5, 2021
Tags: Safety

Woman on construction site looking at tablet


You’re required to have safety data sheets if your business handles hazardous chemicals. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard states that “Employers must ensure that the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace.”

Most safety management solutions on the market today have the ability for your business to digitize their safety data sheets. More companies are implementing digital programs for safety management, bringing this information online using cloud-based tools. Continue reading this article to learn the top reasons why you should go digital with your safety management programs.


Reason 1: Greater accessibility for employees

Digitizing your SDS sheets and your larger safety management programs can benefit your business by providing greater accessibility for employees. The safety management system becomes a central solution for employees when they need to take action. This makes it easy for employees to find the resources they need, for example when they go to find an SDS sheet, file an incident report, or attend a safety meeting. Having all of these resources available in a software tool for safety will benefit employees by having clearly documented processes, in a digital format that can be easily completed from anywhere on a mobile device or tablet.

All of this goes to build an organization’s culture of safety. By providing easy access to safety programs in a digital format, employees are encouraged to follow best practices and there is a clear investment in employee safety. Robust safety programs managed digitally help to promote employees’ well-being and ensure that accidents and incidents are avoided. If an accident does occur on-site, SDS sheets and other important safety documentation are easy to find when needed and the appropriate response can be taken.


Reason 2: More visibility for management

Another important factor for implementing digital safety management systems is greater visibility for management. With a distributed workforce, across many different job sites and locations, it can become difficult for companies to effectively track safety compliance. Specifically for SDS sheets, it’s hard to know with paper sheets if they are being accessed in the field. Are employees viewing the documents? Is the latest or updated version available on site?

With digital documentation, management has a greater understanding of how documents are being used and can ensure compliance across job sites. Digital systems provide the ability to keep records of who has viewed the safety document, giving companies the insight needed to take action and avoid potential safety and compliance issues.

Going digital provides real-time job site visibility and analytics that can enable management and operations teams to spot safety trends and make data-informed decisions. A recent study found that 96% of data in the engineering and construction industry goes unused, suggesting that harnessing there’s potential for organizations to leverage their data to have an impact on key outcomes like safety and productivity. Safety management solutions help build better data processes for the business and enable faster reporting to make that information actionable and available to anyone that needs it.


Reason 3: Compliance with OSHA

As mentioned throughout the article, compliance with OSHA is a requirement for businesses, and failure to comply will inevitably lead to fines, penalties, and negative outcomes for the business. 

Digital tools for safety management and SDS sheets will help to ensure that your job sites are always prepared in the case of an OSHA inspection. Most safety management solutions today will allow you to store the SDS sheets digitally for easy access, as well as hosting your other safety programs to stay in compliance. 

This includes things like hazard management, incident reporting, job safety analysis, inspections, audits, and more. Having a central and cloud-based system for safety management in place will make it easier to track compliance and be prepared in case of an on site inspection with OSHA.