Workers in Many Sectors
Chemical Safety – It’s like money in the bank

Written by: Rob Hallsworth

Published on: 19 November 2020

Chemical safety is like money in the bank

Your system to manage your money

Every successful organization (large or small, public or private, charity or for profit) must have an effective system to manage its money. While this work can be completed by a department, an individual or contracted out there are 3 main types of activities required to ensure the organization’s success:

  • Bookkeeping – keeping track of all the daily transactions such as purchases, payroll, and sales. The methods to do this vary from a shoe box full of receipts to integrated software systems.
  • Accounting – turns the bookkeeper’s transactions into accurate financial statements that give an overview of the organization’s historical performance. This work is usually performed by specialists using dedicated software tools.
  • Finance – is tasked with the analysis of the financial information with an eye to the future. This involves the management of risk, the creation of both short and long-term plans and the communication of information to all the stakeholders. While software tools help in this regard, judgement plays an important role.

If anyone of the above steps is missing or breaks down the organization is under threat. It loses track of its current financial position and is incapable of preparing for the future. In fact, its fate is now in the hands of others. 

Is like your system to manage chemical safety

Any organization that uses chemicals or “hazardous products”, as the Canadian regulations refer to them, needs to think about the products in the same way these organizations think about their money. Chemical products are often essential to the smooth operation of the organization. Improper management of these products puts the organization at risk. Similar to money management, chemical management requires all 3 levels of activity described above for the organization to thrive.

  • SDS Document Management (Bookkeeping) – the starting point of good chemical safety management is at the transaction level; obtaining and updating the safety data sheets (SDSs) for all chemicals. This can be in the form of paper binders (the receipt shoebox) or an external provider (use of software). This is the foundation of your system.
  • Hazard Identification (Accounting) – having the SDS information is not helpful if it cannot be summarized and presented to management in a useable form. Just like a CEO wants to see a summary of revenues and expenses to measure performance, managers should be able to see a summary of the carcinogens in use in the organization or the number of products that can cause dermatitis. Software that reads the SDSs makes this a doable task.
  • Risk Management (Finance) – is the opportunity to act to improve health, safety and efficiency in an organization. It involves looking at the future – what could happen (injury, illness, environmental release, damage to physical assets) and the time horizon that it could occur in (weeks for dermatitis or decades for cancer).  With an understanding of the hazards, managers can use the hierarchy of controls to manage the risk to workers, the public and the environment. Like the management of money, this is a difficult task and requires the use of judgement and authority.

Protect your employees like you protect your $$$$$

In an increasingly complex world, managers need to have quick access to good information so they can draw on the experience of their teams to make forward looking decisions. The absence of the information or the organization’s inability to to turn it into knowledge and wisdom, leaves the organization open to unexpected and unwelcome consequences.

Contact us to get started with digital tools that can help you efficiently interpret the data and information from your organization’s SDSs.

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SDS RiskAssist is brought to you by award-winning Rillea Technologies, an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist ensures workers know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! RilleaTech’s 10-step chemical management process guides employer action to mitigate their risk and ensure workers have the right knowledge to prevent harm. Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop devices as often as needed, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner of 2018, 2019, and 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine; the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). Rillea Technologies supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.
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