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Implementation of chemical inventories and management of material safety data sheets.

The implementation of an integrated chemical inventory and material safety data sheet (MSDS) management system is essential to daily operations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pledged to force the chemical companies and manufacturers to provide data regarding the type of chemicals and quantity used per year. This regulation would be added to the existing Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and as troubling as these new regulations may seem, the added information gained by tracking the required information will add to your bottom line. This is accomplished simply through increased daily operating efficiency, improved worker safety, and the lowering of process disposal costs by proactively managing waste generation. To economically accomplish this data generation, a mass chemical accounting, or chemical mass balancing inventory management system, is the tool. The utilization of an integrated chemical inventory will account for all chemicals that enter into and exit out of a facility.

The EPA has been evaluating approaches to handling this reporting. The EPA has increased the number of chemicals that are currently reportable under the TRI and have additionally required more industry segments to report on their chemical usage. The published EPA reporting options that are under review for permanent integration into the TRI include the following sections as listed in table 1. Table 1 - potential EPA reporting options

Input options

Amount of chemical produced on-site;

Amount brought on-site;

Amount processed; and

Amount otherwise used.

Output options

Amount consumed on-site;

Amount shipped off -site as product;

Ending raw material inventory; and

Amount stored on-site as product.

Occupational exposure indicators

Total number of workers at the facility;

Number of workers potentially exposed to each listed


Whether exposure assessments were performed

during the reporting year; and

Whether exposure monitoring was performed for the


Materials accounting measures

Amount of chemical waste prevented by source


Annual percentage reduction of total wastes; and

Procedures for weighted multiple chemical uses

A facilities daily operational efficiency is greatly increased through the chemical inventory management system (CIMS) by increasing accurate real time inventory information, through bar coding, on individual containers of chemicals within each facility. This continuous flow of accurate information allows for just in time ordering and total inventory minimization.

The chemical inventory management system approach is to track each chemical container, from the point of ordering (cradle) to the point of disposal (grave), on a mass balance basis. From the information generated through this system, corporate management is able to track the quantity of items being ordered, the quantity of items being utilized and the quantity of waste being generated. The system should also give you the ability to track chemicals on a virtual basis. Virtual tracking provides the ability to segment a process operation or physical location so that only one entry into the CIMS is required for a multitude of similar inputs. For example, if you are running a batch operation that consistently requires the same level of ingredients, it is not necessary to enter all of the chemical ingredients every time. Using a virtual technique, one entry would encompass all of the chemical ingredients entering the system and the system would be intelligent enough to keep track of the constituents that make up the particular batch.

The CIMS should use a relational database that is designed in a modular form that allows customization for facility specific requirements and integration into existing corporate-wide functions and follows an open database connectivity (ODBC) standard. This system should include or have the ability to integrate into existing purchasing functions. Client/server methodology should be provided allowing networking between various groups within an organization. Client/server topology provides the flexibility while maintaining architectures that are cost effective. Figure 1 shows a typical client/server architecture.

The CIMS should also have the inherent flexibility of stand-alone use for individual laboratory applications. Key features of an outstanding chemical inventory management system are:

* Open architecture based on scaleable computer hardware platforms;

* Object oriented program environment;

* graphical user interface;

* integrated client/server architecture;

* on-line chemical requisition;

* purchase approval, purchase order generation, requisition tracking;

* integrated multiple management and inventory reports with graphs. These functions, along with the ability to track container locations, allow for more accurate emergency and fire response data.

Facility-wide operational costs are also reduced by utilizing the CIMS because of on-line data base querying functions to determine real-time standing chemical inventory. By sharing chemicals between departments and/or laboratory units, actual inventory is reduced, quality control improves, and the liability and disposal costs associated with the large standing inventories are reduced.

Another requirement of an outstanding chemical inventory management system is the mass balance function which provides easy calculations of worker chemical exposures and local, state and federal environmental and inventory reports. Each transaction that occurs in the daily chemical inventory tracking should be date and time stamped, thereby allowing the CIMS to be used to perform chemical quantity and usage functions for report preparation. This generation of these reports can be facilitated by coupling the CIMS with SARA Title Ill reporting software and health and safety software. Also, by coupling the system with the MSDS management system software, facilities can accurately determine which chemicals in a standing inventory have MSDS's on file and which ones do not. The MSDS management system should allow for all MSDS's to be stored electronically based on the ANSI sixteen (16) section standard. In storing all MSDS's in this way, they can be created, edited, and ultimately distributed electronically throughout a facility, via computer monitors, giving associates accurate read-only access to on-line MSDS.

Through the integration of a chemical inventory management system, an MSDS management system, SARA Title Ill reporting software, and health and safety software, a state-of-the-art corporate-wide management tool is created that ultimately cuts the costs associated with material purchases, process and support operations, and waste disposal.
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Title Annotation:Tech Service
Author:Bloch, Raymond E.
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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