Besides being a requirement, there are several benefits to conducting and maintaining a chemical inventory:
- Inventory control: By conducting a chemical inventory, you may find that you have chemicals on site that are no longer used or that the chemicals are so scattered throughout your facility you no longer have control over what or how much is being ordered.
- Hazardous material storage: Conducting a chemical inventory is one way to determine if products and chemicals are being stored properly and if there is enough storage.
- Alternative product analysis: once a chemical inventory is conducted you can start to identify opportunities to purchase less harmful chemicals.
- Management of Material Safety Data Sheets: You can use a chemical inventory to build a table of contents or index of MSDSs and to make finding MSDSs easier.
- Training. Hazard Communication or Right to Know, training, must cover specific chemical hazards in your workplace. The chemical inventory is used to determine what chemicals, or types of chemicals, you have on site. MSDSs can be used to determine the hazards.
One of our clients conducted a chemical inventory and in so doing discovered almost a full pallet of no longer used products. They were able to donate the product that was still usable and properly dispose of the rest.
In conducting a walkthrough for one client, we found they had over 60 gallons of flammable material stored in a back room. Their flammables cabinet, where the material should be stored, contained tape, respirators, gloves–all items that can be stored elsewhere.