Safety data sheet knowledge base – The safety data sheet authoring softwares
In our nearly two decades of professional experience in the field of chemical safety, most of the foreign language safety data sheets we have worked from were prepared by softwares, so we could thoroughly study these safety data sheets.
Based on all of these experiences, our company has never used a safety data sheet authoring software and we have never recommended the use of it to our partners.
The working principle of a safety data sheet authoring software and its services
The safety data sheet translation software – similarly to other translation softwares – prepares the foreign language safety data sheet based on the matching sentences available in its memory.
Its operation is based on the “memories” available as purchasable language modules, which contain the translations of the sentences that are commonly found in the safety data sheets.
The “source language” sentence is replaced by the appropriate “target language” sentence if it finds a full match.
The translation softwares specified for translating safety data sheets usually offer other features as well, such as:
- Based on the CAS number and on the existing hazardous substance lists (which are typically not up-to-date in the software) it classifies the components.
- It assigns exposure limits values to the substances.
- It uses pictograms (not CLP hazard pictograms) to make the required protective devices more pronounced.
- It determines the hazard classes and the H and P statements of the given mixture (based on the components and on the concentration limits specified in the legislation).
- They might also have some registry module functions.
The advantages of the safety data sheet authoring softwares
- It can handle a large amount of safety data sheets.
- It can translate into multiple languages (only in case the specific language modules were also purchased with it).
- It can be cost-effective in case of large quantities (if we ignore the possible harms arising from professional deficiencies).
- Registry and organizing functions.
Disadvantages of the safety data sheet authoring softwares
- For any errors that may occur during the hazard classification of the product the user of the software shall take the consequences.
- The professional defeciencies of the “original” safety data sheet will be transmitted to the translated safety data sheet as well without correction.
- It may contain untranslated parts (they cannot operate with sentences that do not show full match with the sentences in its memory).
- Incorrectly translated sentences, phrases, substance names They contain only a certain number of sentences, thus greatly limiting their usage value.
- It does not supply missing data (e.g.: EU numbers, exposure limit values, etc.).
- It operates only on the basis of the general EU directives ignoring the minor or major deviations of the national regulations of the destination country.
Other, non-professional disadvantages
- It is not just a one time expense. Purchasing various language modules and updates may result in additional costs.
- The software must also be operated, so there are human resource related costs as well
- Its use is cost-effective only over a certain number of safety data sheets
- The user receives software support only, there is noone they can rely on in case of other questions related to chemical safety.
- In case of any potential objection arising from an authority or from a partner, the user will not be able to correct the safety data sheet.