Across all industries, studies show that EHS influences not only the health and safety of employees, but has a direct effect on business profitability. To drive greener initiatives and more effective product development, chemical approval processes have risen as the front line fail safe procedure for ensuring businesses monitor the chemicals onsite and the ingredients that make their way into products.
Why do organizations need an effective chemical approval process?
Organizations have a lot of data–and an intrinsic need to leverage this data to help fulfill regulatory and business obligations:
- Regulatory Requirement
- Storage and Handling
- Custom Lists–Banned or Pre-Approved (industry/organization)
- Product Stewardship
Implementing a chemical review and approval process is a critical component of chemical data management, enabling multiple parties to evaluate and validate materials before arriving onsite. By doing so, they not only meet regulatory obligations, but also have the information necessary to review safety and environmental checks. This short-term benefit it crucial, but as the process and configuration matures within the organization, EHS leaders have access to empirical data to support risk management, improve processes, identify trends and enhance reporting.
A flexible material approval process enables data comparison from all critical sources within an organization. This supports an informed approval process and relevant data capture to drive a safer and greener business
What is the new face of chemical approval?
Linear chemical approval processes have been a standard waterfall method within organizations. Unfortunately, ever-changing business needs and regulatory landscapes necessitate condition-based, dynamic workflows with flexible approval processes that track actions and include real-time audits.
For example, to protect workers and products, high risk materials often need additional approval or evaluation before they are allowed onsite. Configurable workflows are needed that engage reviews from multiple departments when specific criteria are met. These departments often need additional information from third parties (such as vendors) to make informed decisions about material impact. Therefore, dynamic and flexible processes are vital for operational management.
How do reporting capabilities enhance chemical approval processes?
For decision makers, a comprehensive, detailed report of all reviewer feedback is critical for effective chemical process administration. To generate an effective report, EHS leaders must evaluate the following questions:
- What data do I collect?
- Is my data accurate?
- What format should my data be in?
Collecting vast amounts of data regarding a material is not efficient. EHS must collect the right data to make informed business decisions and drive performance.
Integrating a regulatory cross-reference platform, like SiteHawk’s Material Analysis Profiling System (MAPS), automates material research by mapping chemicals to regulatory or custom lists at the commencement of the review process. This cross-referenced data serves as a gate and provides contextualized data for reviewers within the workflow.
Quantity and threshold data support the integration of notification triggers to alert reviewers when the arrival of a material onsite crosses a particular threshold. In addition, higher-risk materials can have a distinct gate or evaluation flow.
Analytics functionality delivers comprehensive corporate or facility oversight. The aggregation of analytical reporting tools and chemical approval data over time provides insight to trends regarding chemicals, manufacturers and associated hazards before they arrive onsite. This information enables reviewers with a deeper look at material analysis and supports the classification of materials by risk.
Data: how accurate is accurate?
Although many of us are at the mercy of the industry, depending on outside sources, such as SDSs, to provide accurate data, these practical guidelines help ensure your data is as accurate as possible:
- Cross referencing of information with regulatory information, indexed data or custom lists (industry/organization-specific)
- Restricting forms with limited options or answer-driven logical steps
- A strict, enforceable standard operating procedure (the most difficult part of the process)
- Regular data audits, physical inventories and true-up sessions to align what is onsite and what has passed through the approval.
Data format: utilizing a reporting tool
With data from SDSs, chemical approval forms, regulatory cross reference results, approval steps and reviewer comments, housing this data is in a central repository is critical. SiteHawk’s material approval reporting tool not only provides a central repository but delivers a tabular form with the flexibility to configure the columns, save the report for later reference or export the report to a spreadsheet.
Elevating your data to make better businesses includes the implementation of processes such as a dynamic, effective and flexible chemical approval process as part of a chemical data management regimen. As you progress in your data maturity journey and dive deeper to the analytical application of your data (such as predictive analytics), your organization can make your EHS and product stewardship goals a reality. Join us on the journey!
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