Authoring safety data sheets (SDS) is a technical job and requires a thorough understanding of various regulations depending on the destination country. Companies may promote themselves as experts, but how can you be sure?
Some companies may contract SDS work out unbeknownst to you and act as the middle-person. This in turn can lead to delayed responses as they try to understand/interpret your questions and/or get in touch with the contractor.
An SDS is a valuable and critical component of your dangerous goods product and deserves as much attention as the finished product itself. When looking for an SDS authoring company ask them questions such as the following to be sure you are selecting the right one.
- How many SDS have they authored?
- Do they understand the rules/regulations if the authoring is done manually?
- Can they verify the accuracy of the data if using authoring software?
- How long have they been authoring SDSs?
- Is there a team of qualified peers to contact if necessary?
- What process/procedure is in place to guarantee non-disclosure and safeguard any confidential business information (i.e., formulations)?
- Are they using authoring software?
- Can the SDS be integrated into a user-friendly multi-location labeling system?
- What type of training do they have in place for SDS authors?
- How many ingredients are present in their library/database?
- What associations do they belong to and/or are active in?
- How many languages can they translate an SDS to?
- Where or how are they storing your SDS?
- Can you obtain access to the completed SDS 24/7 on a dedicated site?
- Can you search your SDS database by fields such as CAS number, product name, or part number?
- What industries have they written SDS for?
- Are you required to complete/provide minimum information prior to starting your SDS work?
- Do they ask for clarification of your SDS or supporting data to ensure all information needed for a compliant SDS is obtained?
- Can they answer your questions as to why products were classified a certain way?
If these questions cannot be answered with confidence – or worse yet the vendor tries to pass over these questions nonchalantly – then you should continue your search. Of course you may have additional questions after reading the list. But, the above questions should give you a good reference point when deciding who to choose as your vendor. Sadly if the price is too good to be true be wary about the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” This is not an area where your business can afford a mistake.
ICC Compliance Center has a team of full-time regulatory specialists who have years of experience and are certified/recognized in their field of expertise. Contact us about authoring, reformatting, updating, and translating your SDSs. Ask us your tough questions by calling 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).