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Friday, October 24, 2014

Creating SDS-GHS Labels-Easily?

By June 2015, all chemical companies must be providing the new 16 section Safety Data Sheet (SDS) documents. 

The project to convert these important documents by June of next year could be extremely difficult; especially for distributors or repackagers of chemicals.  These companies distribute thousands of different compounds from many different vendors.  Producing SDS documents using your brand and company names for all these products will take time and work.  But could this process be made easier?

To complete this process relatively quickly and easily, you may want to consider Hank Solutions,,  SDS Online.  SDS Online is a complete online software solution to create GHS compliant safety data sheets and labels.  This application is specifically designed to be user friendly and very easy to use.  According to Darren Mitchinson, Technical Director for Hank Solutions, “We designed SDS Online, specifically to make it easy for companies to build SDS documents; at a very affordable price.  Once the SDS is built, our software converts the SDS information to standard GHS labels.”

To show you how easy it is to build a SDS, let’s imagine we repackage and resell Acetyl Chloride; and get a SDS from the manufacturer; in this example Sigma Aldridge:

To start the process, I logged into the SDS Online software at the following: and set up my company profile located in “Settings”.

Next I go to the “Datasheet Manager” to search to see if the product is already available in the database.  SDS Online makes SDS information available to everyone as a part of the Software as a Service.  To see if information was available, I searched Acetyl Chloride both the product name and CAS number.  This product is not in the database.

As it was not in the database, I needed to create a new SDS.  Once I selected create, SDS Online presented me the information to add in logical order using a “Stoplight” system:

In this picture, you can see section 1 is completed and "green"; with the other 15 sections needing to be completed.

After section 1, you complete section 9; chemical physical properties by copying and pasting the information.  In addition, you can add standard phrases by highlighting on the right side of the document and selecting “Add”.

Once a section is completed, selecting “update” will turn section 9 stoplight “Green”. 

In section 10, you add standard phrases or type/paste in phrases listed in the SDS; and then update.

You continue to complete each of the sections using this same approach.  To complete each category, you can select from the available default phrases, add your own phrase, or paste the suggested phrase from either SDS Online or from the original SDS.  Assuming I was using a supplier’s SDS with their approval, I found copying and pasting the information the easiest.

Depending on your perspective, I found one good and bad aspect of SDS Online.  Each section must be completed in order to proceed.  This requirement is great for most sections.  In some sections, however, the SDS I was using as my template did not have any information.   Therefore, I had to add something to save the data in a section.  I’ve learned however, the actual REACH Law legislates that each section of the SDS must be completed. If no information is available, you can set a default phrase for "no information available" and just add this comment.

Once all the sections are completed, you process the document; and download a copy of the 16 section SDS:  7 pages in this test case.

Once you have a SDS, you can build a GHS Label by selecting “Labeling”.  In this section, you search for the product you want the label.  Once found, you can add the variable information for the label at the bottom prior to printing.

By selecting “Build Label”, you get a PDF of your label to print.  Using my TM-C3500, I printed this GHS Label for my example product.

In the near future, SDS Online will be adding a feature that I believe will give you options to design GHS Labels to fit your particular requirements better.  Soon, you’ll be able to download the information into an Excel file to create a GHS database. Using an application like BarTender, you’ll be able to set up a template and connect to your GHS database.  Then you’ll be able to create exactly the GHS Label designs you want.  If you want to see how to create these types of templates, review my blog post on this topic: 

Three Key Points I need to add.

First, you should start using SDS Online by editing or adding you default phrases for each section.  By selecting “Datasheet Phrases” and reviewing each section, you can set up or edit your standard phrases.

Second, if you're a distributor or reseller of many products with similar hazards, you can create one product/SDS and select “Use As Template”.  This step enables you to create further SDS’s by completing section 1 and then applying the template to build the rest of the SDS.  Total time can actually be under one minute.

Third, if you require professional advice on how to classify your products, then SDS may not be for you.  SDS does not provide recommendations or advice to help you build your SDS.

SDS Online seems to be a good way to adapt your vendor’s SDS’s to create your own GHS documents.  Plus, this cloud-based application is affordable.  If you like to learn more or demo the cloud application, contact us.

Guy Mikel

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