Safety Data Sheet Access: Beyond the Initial Organization

Finally organizing all of your safety data sheets online or in a database is a relief for those who need to access the sheets from remote and not-so-remote locations. No more searching through old files in a physical office to find the ones you need. Software that allows you to categorize and further organize the sheets makes searching a lot easier, and you should decide ahead of time how much access you want to give and in which ways so that you can set up the software as quickly as possible.

How Do You Want Them Indexed?

There are several ways to index and arrange safety data sheets, from alphabetical and numeric to date, industrial category, and more. How many identifiers or tags do you want to give each sheet? The more you set up, the easier it will be to sort and find sheets for different projects, but that could also take more time. The good news is that the software that lets you do this organizing should have ways to speed up whatever tagging needs to be done.

Who Will Have How Much Access?

Files on a hard drive or cloud drive can have different levels of access assigned to them, including read-only, read and write, print, and more. Some may be accessible to the public through your website while others may contain more proprietary information that you'd like to limit—or you could have two versions of each sheet, one for the public and one for scientists and regulatory agencies. Decide what your overall access structure will be like. Who will get access to which sheets and to which actions? Will all staff be able to edit the sheets or just the staff members from a specific department? Will you have public and regulatory versions of each sheet? Don't arbitrarily assign access levels; be aware of why you're assigning a certain level to a certain sheet or account.

What Sort of Editing and Annotation Procedures Will You Allow?

Safety data sheets are snapshots of the information that you know about a chemical now, but more information can always come in. How will you annotate files to show that there has been an update without erasing older data that could be historically valuable? Who will be able to edit, annotate, or add data sheets?

The time it takes to decide how you want to organize the sheets and the permissions that go with them is worth it. Once you have all that settled, adding the sheets to the software and getting them organized will be easy. For more assistance, contact SDS software services. 


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