Note that the chemical name should be listed with its synonyms. This will allow for cross-indexing for tracking of chemicals and help reduce unnecessary inventory.

Important safety issues to consider when performing a chemical inventory are:

   Wear appropriate PPE and have extra gloves available.

   Use a chemical cart with side rails and secondary containment.

   Use a laboratory step stool to reach chemicals on high shelves.

   Read the EAP and be familiar with the institution’s safety equipment.

   If necessary cease all other work in the laboratory while performing the inventory.

Once the inventory is complete, use suitable security precautions regarding the accessibility of the information in the chemical inventory. For example, precautions should be taken when the database shows the location of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemicals of Interest in excess of DHS threshold quantities. (For more information about laboratory security, see Chapter 10.)

2.D.5 Transporting, Transferring, and Shipping Chemicals

It is prudent practice to use a secondary containment device (i.e., rubber pail) when transporting chemicals from the storeroom to the laboratory or even short distances within the laboratory. When transporting several containers, use carts with attached side rails and trays of single piece construction at least 2 in. deep to contain a spill that may occur. Bottles of liquids should be separated to avoid breakage and spills. Avoid high-traffic areas when moving chemicals within the building. When possible, use freight elevators when transporting chemicals and do not allow other passengers. If you must use a general traffic elevator, ask other passengers to wait until you have delivered the chemicals.

Always ground and bond the drum and receiving vessel when transferring flammable liquids from a drum to prevent static charge buildup. Use a properly operating chemical fume hood, local exhaust, or adequate ventilation, as verified by monitoring, when transferring PHSs.

All outgoing domestic and international chemical shipments must be authorized and handled by the institutional shipper. The shipper must be trained in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for ground shipments and must receive mandatory International Air Transport Association training for air shipments. DOT oversees the shipment of hazardous materials and has the authority to impose citations and fines in the event of noncompliance. (For more detailed information on the shipment of chemicals, see Chapter 5, section 5.F.)

2.D.6 Chemical Waste

All chemical waste must be stored and disposed of in compliance with applicable federal, state, local, and institutional regulatory requirements. Waste containers should be properly labeled and should be the minimum size that is required. There should be at least 2 in. of headspace in the liquid waste container to avoid a buildup of gas that could cause an explosion or a container rupture. (For more information about handling of hazardous waste, see Chapter 8.)


A program of periodic laboratory inspections helps keep laboratory facilities and equipment in a safe operating condition. Inspections safeguard the quality of the institution’s laboratory safety program. A variety of inspection protocols may be used, and the organization’s management should select and participate in the design of the inspection program appropriate for that institution’s unique needs. The program should embrace the following goals:

   Maintain laboratory facilities and equipment in a safe, code-compliant operating condition.

   Provide a comfortable and safe working environment for all personnel and the public.

   Ensure that all laboratory activities are conducted in a manner to avoid employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.

   Ensure that trained laboratory personnel follow institutional CHPs.

Approach these goals with a degree of flexibility. Consider the different types of inspection, the frequency with which they are conducted, and who conducts them. A discussion of items to inspect and several possible inspection protocols follows, but is not all-inclusive.

Laboratory inspections are performed by EHS staff, the CHO, the safety director, laboratory staff, a safety committee, or an outside entity with the requisite qualifications and experience. The inspection checklist can include sections on chemical storage, chemical waste, housekeeping, PPE, laboratory chemical hoods, gas cylinder storage, emergency safety equipment, signs and labels, and facility issues.

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