How to mange a “Hazardous Substances Register”?

Also know as “Chemical Inventory”, a “Hazardous Substances Register” is a document or database that lists all hazardous substances present in a workplace or facility. Its main purposes are:

  1. Safety and Compliance: It ensures compliance with workplace safety regulations and laws, particularly those pertaining to the handling and storage of hazardous materials.
  2. Information Resource: It provides detailed information about each substance, including its chemical properties, potential health risks, and safety measures for handling and storage.
  3. Risk Management: By maintaining an up-to-date register, organizations can effectively manage risks associated with hazardous substances, plan for emergencies, and implement appropriate safety measures.
  4. Regulatory Reporting: It may also be used for reporting purposes to regulatory bodies to demonstrate compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

In many countries, maintaining such a register is a legal requirement for workplaces that handle hazardous substances, and it is an integral part of workplace health and safety management systems.

Hands-on: What information needs to be managed when working with hazardous substances?

Essentially, a Hazardous Substances Register can be structured and maintained in various ways according to the Hazardous Substances Ordinance. However, the following information is fundamentally needed for risk assessment of the hazardous substances used:

Mandatory information in Germany according to TRGS 400 Section 5.8.:

  • Substance Designation (e.g. substance, product or trade name)
  • Classification on hazardous properties (e.g., labeling according to CLP Regulation (GHS pictograms, H and P statements,)
  • Workplace/Area
  • Quantity (indication of the quantity range is sufficient)
  • Safety data sheet (Manufacturer and date)

Optional Information:

  • Water Hazard Class (WGK)
  • Storage Class (LGK)
  • Purpose/Period of Use

Example of a Hazardous Substances Register list from the BGHM website: PDF download (in German)

How can you set up an Hazardous Substance Register?

A hazardous materials register or inventory can be implemented and maintained in a variety of ways and forms within a company. They range from paper registers kept in binders to electronic software solutions used centrally across the organisation. As with all systems, the implementation should be appropriate to the organisation. This means that the type of hazardous substances register you choose must be such that the people in the organisation who need to use the information in the register can easily find it and make practical use of it.

Checking if the Existing System is Suitable

An effective hazardous substance management system is characterised by its ease of use and continuous application by employees, as well as their ability to quickly find the information they need about hazardous substances in the hazardous substance register. The suitability of the system for an organisation can be assessed by surveying or auditing employees on how easily they can locate individual substances. Rather than spending a lot of time searching the Hazardous Substances Register, employees should know exactly where to find these substances and understand the information it contains. In the event of an incident that poses a risk to people and the environment, it’s vital that all the necessary information is readily available to prevent or minimise potential damage.

A Hazardous Substances Register must always be up-to-date

A Hazardous Substances Register must always be up-to-date. Often, the maintenance and updating of this register are overseen by a designated ‘Hazardous Substances Officer’. Although this role isn’t legally defined, for instance, in the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, it’s sensible to appoint someone responsible for managing the hazardous substances. This officer requires specific expertise, such as knowledge of the types and quantities of hazardous substances used, storage and handling requirements, and occupational safety measures. They advise management, departments, and employees on matters related to hazardous substances, including collaboration with other companies.

The Hazardous Substances Officer should ideally work closely with the safety officer and environmental protection officer due to overlapping areas of responsibility. However, since they can’t be everywhere, it’s vital that departments are also involved in the acquisition and monitoring of hazardous substances and integrated into the system. In the event of changes, these departments are responsible for providing the necessary information about the hazardous substances used.

What can FLUICS CONNECT help?

FLUICS CONNECT can be used effectively as a hazardous substances register in a laboratory environment and this makes sense for several reasons:

  1. Inventory management: FLUICS CONNECT provides efficient inventory management capabilities, which are critical for tracking hazardous substances. It allows accurate documentation of what chemicals are present, their quantities and their locations within the laboratory.
  2. Safety Compliance: Maintaining a hazardous substance register is often a legal requirement for laboratories to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. FLUICS CONNECT’s systematic approach to inventory management can help to ensure compliance by providing up-to-date information on hazardous substances.
  3. Labelling and Information: FLUICS CONNECT supports QR code labelling of inventory items. These labels can be scanned to quickly access detailed information about the substance, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which are essential for hazardous substance management.
  4. Real-time updates: The platform allows for real-time updates to the inventory. This feature ensures that the hazardous substance register is always up to date, reducing the risks associated with using outdated or incorrect hazardous substance information.
  5. Accessibility and information sharing: Hazardous substance information can be easily accessed and shared among laboratory personnel, improving communication and safety protocols.
  6. Error reduction: By digitising the hazardous substance register, FLUICS CONNECT minimises the risk of errors that can occur with manual entry, thereby improving safety in the laboratory environment.

In conclusion, using FLUICS CONNECT as a hazardous substance register can increase safety, ensure compliance and improve the efficiency of hazardous substance management in a laboratory environment.

Hands-on tips for organising a Hazardous Substances Register with FLUICS CONNECT

It is suggested that the following properties be used when registering reagents for the Hazardous Substances Register (Below an example for Methanol):

Mandatory properties according to TRGS 400 Section 5.8 in Germany

  • Chemical name: “Methanol” (text field)
  • Storage Location: native property in FLUICS CONNECT
  • Hazard classification: “GHS02 Flammable; GHS06 Toxic: GHS08 Health hazard” (multi-value list). In addition, an image with hazard pictograms can be uploaded. Click here to download the GHS pictograms.
  • Product and Safety information: “https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/product/sigald/320390” (text field). Alternatively, MSDSs can be uploaded and attached to an item as a PDF. However, we recommend using the link to the manufacturer’s website, which contains all relevant information: up-to-date and in multiple languages.
  • Quantity: “1000 mL” (number + unit)

Optional properties

  • CAS number: (text field)
  • Category: “Reagents” (single-value list)
  • Chemical name: “Methanol” (text field)
  • Description: “GESTIS https://gestis.dguv.de/data?name=011240” (text field)
  • Storage class (LK): “3 B Flammable liquids” (single-value list)
  • Water hazard class: “WGK 2 – distinct hazard to waters” (single-value list)
  • Manufacturer: “Sigma Aldrich” (single-value list)

Tip: For chemistry labs, it has been found to be very useful to include the CAS number on the label.

FLUICS CONNECT Screenshot of Methanol

How to keep your hazardous substances register up-to-date?

Keeping your hazardous substances register up to date can certainly be a major challenge. However, by tagging all reagents with a unique QR code, this task can be completed extremely quickly. Read our use case on Laboratory Inventory Updating to learn more.

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