mental offices because, in general, offices are unlikely to be equipped to receive these packages. However, if delivery to such an office is the only option, a separate undisturbed location, such as a table or shelf, should be identified for chemical deliveries, and the person ordering the material should be notified immediately on its arrival.
Receiving room, loading dock, and clerical personnel should to be trained adequately to recognize hazards that may be associated with chemicals coming into the facility. They need to know what to do if a package is leaking or if there is a spill in the receiving facility, and they need to know who to call for assistance when a problem develops. They should also be trained to identify activity that could suggest a security risk, such as unauthorized personnel near the loading dock or unwarranted interest in their activities. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires training for anyone involved in the movement of hazardous materials, including individuals who have been designated to receive hazardous materials on behalf of the organization (see Chapter 11, sections 11.E.1.5, and 11.F.1).
Your firm or institution should decide if stockroom or laboratory personnel are responsible for unpacking incoming chemicals. Incoming packages should be promptly opened and inspected to ensure that containers are sealed in good condition and to confirm what was ordered. The unpacked chemicals should be stored safely. In particular, reactive chemicals shipped in metal containers (e.g., lithium aluminum hydride, sodium peroxide, phosphorus)—which are often sealed—must be promptly unpacked and stored to prevent degradation and corrosion and to be available for periodic inspection.
Transportation of chemicals within the facility, whether by internal staff or outside delivery personnel, must be done safely. Single boxes of chemicals in their original packaging can be hand carried to their destination if they are light enough to manage easily. Groups of packages or heavy packages should be transported on a cart that is stable, has straps or sides to contain packages securely, and has wheels large enough to negotiate uneven surfaces easily. Suitable carriers (e.g., secondary containment) should be used when transporting individual containers of liquids.
Cylinders of compressed gases should always be secured on specially designed carts and never be dragged or rolled. The cap should always be securely in place. Whenever possible, chemicals and gas cylinders should be moved on freight elevators that are not used for public occupancy, especially when moving toxic, cryogenic, or asphyxiating gases.
If outside delivery personnel do not handle materials according to the receiving facility’s standards, immediate correction should be sought, or other carriers or suppliers should be used. Original purchase order should specify delivery criteria. Some examples of delivery criteria would be that the gas cylinder must have a cap and the cap must not be stuck, and damaged containers may not be accepted without the inspection and approval of a technically qualified individual on-site.
When packages are opened in the laboratory, laboratory personnel should verify that the container is intact and is labeled, at a minimum, with an accurate name on a well-adhered label. For unstable materials, and preferably for all materials, the date of receipt should be on the label. Labels placed by the manufacturer should remain intact. New chemicals should be entered into the laboratory’s inventory promptly and moved to the appropriate storage area.
5.D.1 General Considerations
Prudent management of chemicals in any laboratory is greatly facilitated by keeping an accurate inventory of the chemicals stored. An inventory is a record (usually a database) that lists the chemicals in the laboratory, along with information essential for their proper management. Chemical inventories are also a vital tool, and in some cases are required, for maintaining regulatory compliance. An organization cannot adequately manage safety, security, emergency planning, waste disposal, and the like without knowing what chemicals are on-site and where they are stored. Without an up-to-date inventory of chemicals, many important questions pertinent to prudent management of chemicals can be answered only by visually scanning container labels. A well-managed inventory system promotes economical use of chemicals by making it possible to determine immediately what chemicals are on hand. An inventory is not limited to materials obtained from commercial sources but includes chemicals synthesized in a laboratory. If a chemical is on hand, the time and expense of procuring new material are avoided. Information on chemicals that present particular storage or disposal problems facilitates appropriate planning for their handling. Although a detailed list of hundreds or thousands of chemicals stored in a particular location may not be directly useful to emergency responders, it can be used to prepare a summary of the types of chemicals stored and the hazards that might be encountered. In larger organizations where chemicals are stored in multiple locations, the inventory system should include the storage location for each container of each chemical. An inventory system is also of use when considering laboratory security concerns. It can assist in ensuring compliance with regulations, such