User question:
How do I get users to take a training course?

Here are three ways to get users to sign up for your training courses:

1) Activate the training requirement for the user in the training compliance matrix. Training administrators and supervisors can turn on/off training requirements for users. When a user's training is upcoming due/overdue, CEMS will present available courses that the user can sign up for that will complete their assigned training requirements.

2) If you do not want to assign training requirements to users, you can simply ask users to take a course by emailing the list of users the course link (listed in the course record). Users will receive credit that they have taken the course, but will not be reminded to take refresher training in the future unless you later enable the training requirement on the user.

3) Training administrators or instructors can enroll users into their course by clicking the "add enrollment" button next to the course name. Users can be identified by their name, email, or username. CEMS will try and find the users in the CEMS system based on the data entered. If your CEMS system has been configured with LDAP (a common user directory service), CEMS will also search your LDAP for these users as well. After the training manager or instructor creates a list of users, CEMS will automatically create accounts for these users if they do not already exist in CEMS.

A user asked: When I scanned the barcode, 123456, into the add inventory form, I got a message stating that that barcode was already in use. When I searched to see where 123456 was being used, it shows that it is in fact being used by another container. How can I find out who entered this container and correct the barcode?

The full container history is available in the audit logs. You can open all the audit logs for a container by first opening the container. Then open the history section by clicking "History" at the bottom of the form. Next click the "audit log" button. This will present a report showing date, user, and a summary of all changes made to the record.

Only database administrators can edit the barcode field for an existing container record. To fix the barcode on the first record, open the record, correct the barcode field, then click save. Now that the barcode has been corrected and is no longer in user, you are free to use it on a new container.

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A user has asked: Will CEMS allow us to upload an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for a chemical that is not in the inventory?

Yes. There are two ways this can be accomplished depending on the user's assigned privileges.

If the user is an SDS manager, the user can open the SDS section of their dashboard, then click "view all SDS". Next the user can click the "new record" icon on the top right of the page. This will open the "New Chemical Record" form. Fill out the form. Do not forget to fill in the manufacturer and product number if these values exist.

If the user has the Chemical Inventory manager or Update Inventory privilege, the user should open the Chemical Inventory dashboard. Then click "chemical catalog". Next click the "new record" icon on the top right of the page. This will open the "New Chemical Record" form. Fill out the form. Do not forget to fill in the manufacturer and product number if these values exist.

One of you asked about changing the order of dashboard items. Specifically, the user wanted to show the list of available training on the top of the training dashboard so it was more predominately displayed when the user opens the training section. By default the training compliance matrix is shown first.

Changing the order of dashboard items can be accomplished by editing the applicable dashboard record. You can always open all dashboard records by clicking "Database Admin" -> "manage data object" -> "System" -> "dashboard". You can then find the dashboard record you would like to modify by inspecting fields.

A quicker way to open a dashboard item is to simply right click the dashboard area you would like to modify. A menu should appear. Click "edit dashboard item". This will open the dashboard item record. You can then modify the "Alphasort" field. Dashboard items within their dashboard group are sorted by this field. To force an item to the top of the section rename the alphasort so the system sorts it first. If you prepend a zero to the alphasort field, the item will appear on top. For example set the alphasort value to "0courses needed", click save. The alphasort field is never shown to your users. It is only used by the system to determine the order in which items appear on the dashboard.

If you aren't seeing the "Courses Needed To Meet My Training Requirements" section on your dashboard, it is because you don't currently have training requirements assigned where an online course within CEMS is available. To view all dashboard entries for a group (even when they aren't visible), right click the dashboard group name (right click the "Training" bar), then click "show all items". A recordset will appear showing all dashboard records for this group. Click the open record icon for "traininguserneededcoursesummary", set the alphasort to "0 courses needed", click save.

Modifying dashboard items allows you to also disable parts of the dashboard that you do not use. For example, if you aren't interested in using the door signs program that is built into CEMS, you can disable all dashboard items within the group. Dashboard groups only appear if there are dashboard items visible for the user.

A user has asked: If we are reusing a container, should we mark the first barcode as "empty" and then add a new one, or should we reuse the barcode and just change the info?

This is a great question. If you are reusing the container & barcode by refilling it with the same chemical or product, there is no need to mark it empty first. You can instead set the refill date and also optionally mark the container as a "secondary container" on the container record form. Because you are refilling the container from another container in inventory, CEMS won't count each refill as a separate consumed container when doing reporting. The consumption tracking will be done with the primary container.

If you need to refill a container with a different chemical substance then what is listed on the original container, you should tear off the old barcode, add a new barcode, and enter it as new inventory. You should also print and attach a new label with GHS symbols by clicking the "print label" button on the container record form.

A user has asked for more information on how to manage the CAS numbers and associated hazards within their system.

To edit the list of CAS that your CEMS system knows about, open the CAS Report from your dashboard by clicking "Database Admin" -> "manage data object" -> "Chemicals" -> "cas". You can add new records or edit the existing CAS records.

You can also add new CAS hazard types by clicking "Database Admin" -> "manage data object" -> "Chemicals" -> "hazard types (CAS)".

After updating CAS or hazards assigned to a CAS, the hazards are immediately available in chemical inventory reports under the "Hazards (CAS)" field.

I had a good discussion with one of our users about how best to handle unknown data. The user was filling in the text "unknown" for product number and manufacturer. They would then update the chemical information for the item being inventoried. Later they reviewed their unknown inventory and found that all unknown inventory had its chemical name and chemical information reassigned to the most recently entered unknown chemical.

The reason this happened is because CEMS defines a chemical product record separately from the container record. Each product record is uniquely defined by its manufacturer name AND product number. If either field is missing, CEMS identifies the product by the chemical name.

In this case, a single chemical record was being shared across multiple container records where the manufacturer's name was "unknown" and the product number was "unknown".

In order for CEMS to function properly, if you don't know what the value is or there is no value, you should leave the field blank.

If you have records where you have entered "unknown" for the product number, you will want to make sure you properly reassign the chemical record. To do this, follow these steps:

1) Open the chemical inventory record that you would like to update.
2) Click reassign the chemical record link
3) Click "select different chemical"
4) Filter for an existing chemical record you would like to associate to the container record (search by chemical name).
5) If an existing chemical/product record does not exist, create one by clicking the new button
6) Click save on the reassign chemical record screen.

Alternatively, database administrators could delete the container record, then add it again using the normal add inventory procedure.

To sum up, if a value is unknown, leave the field blank. I've added an enhancement request to never allow users to enter "unknown" for the manufacturer's name or product number. However there are other placeholder type values that users may try and enter that would cause the same problem such as: n/a, na, no, undefined. It would be difficult for CEMS to catch all cases.

One of our users has asked about chemical inventory policy - who can view and edit chemical inventory.

CEMS is automatically configured to allow chemical owners the ability to manage their own inventory (reassign the location, change ownership to another user). Other users in the system should have the ability to search for the inventory, but they won't have the ability to update the inventory. Updates need to go through the owner or a chemical inventory manager.

The following global variables influence chemical inventory policy. You can review each one by opening your global variables list (under database administration on your dashboard, click manage -> system -> global vars).

I would review each setting to make sure CEMS follows your policy expectations.


You can also test your policy configuration by logging in as different users within your system. To do this, open the user record and click the "auto login" button on the top of their record. Then switch back to the dashboard tab. The dashboard will reload as the user you selected. Try searching for chemical inventory. Try opening a container record. The forms will dynamically change based on the user's assigned privileges and if they have ownership view/edit rights to the record.

A user has asked how to merge duplicate user accounts. Here's the steps to do this:

1) On your dashboard, under "Database Administration", click "manage users".

2) Filter for the duplicate record that you would like removed. Open the record. Copy the SYS ID (unique number) into your clipboard. Click cancel, to close the record form.

3) Now filter for the record you want to keep. Click the open record button.

4) At the bottom of the form is a field called "Merge Duplicates". Paste the SYS ID of the record you would like removed.

5) Click "save" at the bottom of the form.

CEMS will automatically reassign all data associated with the duplicate record (inventory, training data, etc) to the record you want to keep. After reassigning the data, the duplicate record will be removed from the system.
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