Imagine the owner of a small repair shop regularly purchases two cases of the same brake fluid every month. One month, the shop consumes every container and hurriedly buys an emergency case of a different brand of brake fluid, without collecting a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the new material. After using two bottles, the remainder of the case remains in the warehouse, forgotten and unused. The shop EHS manager, unaware of the purchase, has no SDS to show the compliance officer during the next regulatory inspection, and the small repair shop incurs a $1,000 fine for not collecting and storing the SDS for a forgotten, dusty box of brake fluid. This amount might not seem significant for large corporations, but for a small business, one penalty could be detrimental. Applied on the corporate level, the same scenario could incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
Keeping a proper and updated inventory is crucial to the success of any business — not only to avoid penalties but to maintain operational safety and business development. Effective Chemical Inventory Management begins with the acknowledgement of what materials are currently on site and responsibilities associated with the materials. Exploring the five Ws of chemical inventory management helps drive best practices for your organization and provides a safe and secure foundation to meet safety standards.