800,000 safety data sheets from some 300 companies, freely available to public authorities, accident insurance institutions and emergency service bodies: that is the service offered by ISi (the "Informationssystem für Sicherheitsdatenblätter", or information system for safety data sheets) at the BGIA, the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. ISi is thus the largest German-language Internet portal of its kind. In addition, companies and private individuals have access free of charge to some 20,000 data sheets in the guest area.
ISi was founded in 1994 in order to meet the need of public authorities for safety data sheets. Since its creation by the BGIA and the VCI, the association of the German chemical industry, the body of data has grown four hundred-fold. At the same time, a "guest" area has also been created in which participating companies make their safety data sheets available to the general public. This service has also grown steadily, and now offers a comprehensive basis of data for parties other than public authorities who are looking for information.
The BGIA recently relaunched ISi in order to make searches even faster and more convenient with a new user interface and new options: besides searching directly for companies, products, and identification codes, users can now enter any desired item of data-sheet information as a search criterion, as part of a full-text search.
ISi has also gained importance as a consequence of REACH, the new European chemical regulation: safety data sheets are, after all, the most important source of information for the safe handling of hazardous substances. REACH also requires that additional information, the "chemical safety report", be appended to the safety data sheet. The redesigned ISi database already accommodates this requirement. The manufacturer's chemical safety report is required when substances are produced or imported in quantities exceeding ten tons. It assesses the hazard presented by the substance in use, indicates risks, and describes safe exposure scenarios and risk management measures.
"With ISi, the BGs now possess a database which meets future needs in every respect and which satisfies European requirements," concludes chemist Dr. Ute Kringel, who has overall responsibility for ISi.
Link to the database: www.dguv.de/ifa/isi (in German).