OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires that employers maintain a list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present in the workplace. While conducting chemical inventories, it is prudent to ensure that the SDS files are up to date for all chemicals found during the inventory. The Lab Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450, applies to laboratory scale use of hazardous chemicals, and requires the implementation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan. The Chemical Hygiene Plan in place at your institution should specify how the chemical inventory will be maintained and how the SDS system works.
Safety Partners recommends conducting physical chemical inventories on an annual basis, at a minimum. There are several chemical inventory barcode software systems available for companies choosing to maintain on-going chemical tracking. These systems track chemicals from receipt to disposal, relying on the users to track their use using the barcoding system. If a full bar coding system is not an option, you can implement a gatekeeping system along with frequent inventories.
In addition to hazard communication, chemical inventories are important for emergency response purposes. Emergency coordinators need to be able to inform emergency response personnel of any particularly hazardous chemicals, including their location.