Tracking Chemicals and Material Safety Data Sheets for Regulatory and Safety Purposes
Ralph J. Navarrete, PE - AT&T Bell Laboratories (SSA Journal Volume 6 Number 2 - June 1992 pp. 57 - 60 )

One of the fastest growing common denominators in the Environment and Safety (E&S) areas is the need to have better and faster access to information concerning what is sued in the work environment. Whether the information needs stem from the concern over worker exposure, the need to make cost-effective purchases, or form the myriad of regulatory requirements concerning chemical usage, disposal and emissions, the basic questions remain:

  1. What do we use at our facilities;
  2. How much of it is there; and
  3. How fast can we have the answers.
The tool that generates information answering all those questions is a chemical tracking system (especially on using bar codes to uniquely identify containers, where needed) and its basic source of background information, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Essentially, an up-to-date chemical tracking system, as well as access to MSDSs for chemicals in the facility, form the basis for a system that will answer the bulk of regulatory and chemical related safety questions. It is such a system that the E&S professional can access to get facts which he or she will then interpret based on his/her knowledge, experience and additional information sources. This paper present information concerning the preparation of such systems and briefly describes the multiple-site system in use at AT&T Bell Laboratories.