The following document provides you with information on how to use the Data Sheet Solutions application to conduct a quick and accurate hazardous chemical inventory at your workplace. Your chemical inventory is the foundation of your entire Hazard Communications program, and is the best place to start when reviving an old program or starting from scratch.
The Data Sheets Solutions unique UPC based inventory system increases inventory speed and accuracy. Follow the steps below to conduct your own inventory.
Step 1. Open your SDS Management Portal and Login
Access your SDS management portal at the custom URL provided to you at sign up. Since we will be conducting our inventory in the field, use a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet.
Open the application settings by clicking the white Cog Icon.
Click the “Admin” tab to open the log on form.
Provide your administrative credentials and click the green login button to unlock the special admin only functions, to include inventory.
Once you have successfully logged in, you will see confirmation of your login as well as some new options.
Step 2. Turn on and Configure Chemical Inventory Mode
To enter Inventory Mode, toggle the slider so it turns green. This green icon indicates you have successfully entered Inventory Mode. You will also see some other changes to the application, like the addition of the “Add New Chemical” button along the bottom of the screen.
The inventory “Start Date” is an option that you will want to set up if this is not your first inventory. The start date option allows you to perform a re-inventory to find out what chemicals are no longer present in a work area that were present in a past inventory. This information is useful for Archiving chemicals that are no longer used. If this is your first inventory select the current date, or a date in the past. If this is a secondary inventory, choose the date you began your secondary Inventory.
After you have turned on and configured your hazardous chemical inventory, close the settings panel by clicking the white cog icon again.
Step 3. Select or Create the Inventory Location(s)
OSHA requires employees to be trained on chemicals in their work area. If you have a large team spread over a variety of work locations or functional groups, it is often advantageous to group your chemicals by location.
Data Sheet Solutions allows you to easily create a location or functional group hierarchy. You can create that hierarchy ahead of time using your desktop computer in the admin portal, or on the fly while you conduct your inventory.
To see your locations, click the Location Dropdown. If you have already created your desired locations, click the name to make that location active.
If you would like to create a new location, use the application tools to do so. Click the green “Add Sub Location” icon on the location you would like to be your new locations “parent”.
If you want your new location to be at the top level, click the Add Sub Location Icon on the “All Locations” item at the top.
A blank location will appear. Type in the name of the location and click the green “Add” button as shown.
Once you have created your new location, the list will refresh, adding your new location to the bottom of the parent locations list. Click your newly created location to tell the Inventory application that we are working in that area.
The active location will be displayed in the “Location Dropdown”, you will want to keep an eye on this location to make sure you are assigning your inventory items to the proper locations.
Step 4. Inventory Chemicals at the Location
Now that you have configured Inventory mode and set your current location as active it is time to begin adding chemicals to your inventory. One unique feature that makes our inventory application the best in the business, is our seamless UPC integration. Our application has a barcode scanner integrated directly into the system.
No matter how good our software technology is though, nothing beats the speed and accuracy of a laser barcode scanner. If you foresee yourself conducting a large inventory, or just want the easiest experience possible, invest in a Bluetooth 1D barcode scanner. Portable units that pair easily with Apple and Android devices cost about $45.00 and can speed the inventory process by an order of magnitude.
For the purposes of this documentation we will continue using the built-in software-based UPC scanner. If you have a bluetooth scanner, most of the steps remain the same.
With your first chemical in hand, open the barcode scanner by clicking the black “Camera” icon.
Depending on your phone or tablet, and whether or not you have already provided the application the appropriate permissions, you may have to accept some permissions dialogs on your device.
After the appropriate permissions have been granted the application will detect your devices compatibility with our live barcode scanner. On most devices, a camera window will open showing live video from your forward facing camera. Use this camera to frame the UPC code of the chemical.
Live Barcode Scanning
The live barcode scanner will attempt to identify and decode any UPC codes within the camera view. You will be able to see this working as rectangles are drawn around suspected barcodes. A red line indicates that the scanner is attempting to decode the UPC.
Camera Based UPC Scanning
Some devices will not be compatible with the Live Barcode scanning feature. These devices will fall-back to file based camera scanning. Devices operating in this mode will notice their default camera application opens instead of the live scanner.
When using camera based UPC scanning, ensure you take a clear photo of the barcode. After snapping the photo, you will need to confirm with the device that you want to use the photo taken.
Forcing Camera Based Scanning
If you prefer to use camera based scanning over the Live Barcode Scanning feature, you can open the “Settings” panel and toggle the “Use Camera App for UPC’s” to force Camera Based UPC Scanning.
Once you successfully scan the products UPC code, there will be one of two outcomes. We will go over each one below.
Chemical UPC Scan Successful
If the UPC code was recognized by the system, you will be taken back to the main inventory page and you will see the name or UPC of the chemical has populated into the search box.
The system has also conducted a search of the chemicals you have already added or inventoried which will allow you to prevent adding duplicates into your database.
Take a quick look at the top results returned. For our example, we scanned some “Appliance Epoxy” from Rust-Oleum. You can see that the results do not include that product, so this must be a new chemical. If your scanned chemical is new, skip ahead to the next section
If on the other hand, the product you scanned did appear in the search result, it means that you already have the product in your chemical list. Take a look at the inventory status icon displayed in the lower right-hand column to determine it’s status.
The inventory status icon shown in the bottom right hand corner of every chemical in your database tells you about the chemical and its status based on the currently active location. The different icons are shown and described below.
Empty Checkbox Icon
The empty checkbox shows you that you have this chemical in your database, but it is not assigned to the current location. Click the box to assign and inventory the chemical in the currently active location.
The factory icon indicates that the chemical has been assigned to the currently active location, but not yet inventoried. Click the icon to record that the chemical has been inventoried at the currently active location.
Green Check Icon
This icon tells you that the chemical has been inventoried at a sub-location to the currently active location. Click the icon to record that the chemical has been inventoried at the currently active location as well.
White Check on Green Icon
This icon tells you that the chemical has been assigned and inventoried at the currently active location.
Chemical UPC Scan Unsuccessful
While our UPC lookup database contains tens of millions of products, there will still be some speciality or rare items that are not found with that search. Also, if you have lost your internet connection, the application will not be able to perform the lookup, resulting in failure. When this occurs, or if the product doesn’t have a barcode at all, we will need to manually search for or add the chemical.
It’s typically prudent to perform a search manually using the product name, or any product numbers displayed. Even if you are offline, the system will look into your current database for a match. If a match is found, mark it inventoried as shown above, otherwise move on to the next step and add a new chemical.
Adding a New Chemical to your Database
When your search comes back without a good result, it is time to collect some information about the chemical and add it to your inventory. Use the green “Add New Chemical” button at the bottom of your screen to open the new chemical form.
The Add Chemical form provides you with inputs to enter information about the chemical that will be required to find the appropriate safety data sheet. If data was returned from our UPC search, it will automatically be populated often times, to include a product photo. If the data is not pre-filled, you will need to provide the following information:
The name of the product as it appears on the label.
Enter the manufacturer or distributor name here. This is often found in smaller print on the back of the product. When typing, a list of existing manufacturers may pop up with suggestions. If you see the correct manufacturer pop up, simply click the name. Otherwise, click the Grey Checkmark button to lock in the new manufacturer name.
The UPC number should already be populated, this will ensure that employees who scan this product at a later time will be able to quickly bring up the Safety Data Sheet.
Be sure to add any product numbers you find on the product. This is often times the best way to locate the correct SDS for a chemical.
Finally, a product image can be of use for both finding the appropriate safety data sheet, as well as locating the chemical again in the future. Click the existing image, or the photo icon to take a new photo of the chemical.
Once you have added the recommended information use the green “Save” icon at the bottom right of the display to save your changes and complete the addition and inventory of the new chemical.
You will be taken back to the main inventory screen and depending on your inventory display filter, you will see the new chemical with the white on green checkmark icon, indicating that it has been inventoried and assigned to the current location.
Step 5. Review your Chemical Inventory
Once you have completed your inventory, you can bring up the Admin portal to see a list of the work you have performed. On a desktop computer, visit your admin portal, by clicking the “Admin Dashboard” button from the settings panel.
In your dashboard, your chemical inventory is displayed in several categories. Newly added chemicals, that don’t yet have an SDS assigned to them will appear within your “Pending” category.
Your pending chemicals will have the appropriate locations already assigned to them. You can also modify the chemical name and manufacturer as desired.
Chemicals that were already in your inventory will appear in the “Active Library”. Any new location assignment will be displayed within the locations column.
This article went over the basics of performing your own on-site chemical inventory, collecting the data needed to properly locate a Safety Data Sheet, and assigning chemicals to locations or functional groups within your organization.
As with all of our software, please reach out to us with any feedback, timesavers, or worse bugs! Our goal is to help reduce the occurence of HazCom violations and ensure your employees have access to the chemical safety information they need.