tory instruments, can also be recycled. Examples include certain clean glass and plastic containers, drums and pails, plastic and film scrap, cardboard, office paper, lightbulbs, circuit boards, other electronics, and metals such as steel and aluminum. Note that an empty container may still be subject to management requirements. See the following regulations: 40 CFR § 261.7 (EPA “empty”); 49 CFR § 173.29 (DOT “empty”); 49 CFR §§ 173.12(c) and 173.28 (DOT “reuse”).

5.D.4 Labeling Commercially Packaged Chemicals

Warning: Do not remove or deface any existing labels on incoming containers of chemicals and other materials.

Commercially packaged (by U.S. manufacturers) chemical containers received from 1986 onward generally meet current labeling requirements. The label usually includes the name of the chemical and any necessary handling and hazard information. Inadequate labels on older containers should be updated to meet current standards. To avoid ambiguity about chemical names, many labels carry the CAS registry number as an unambiguous identifier and this information should be added to any label that does not include it. On receipt of a chemical, the manufacturer’s label is supplemented by the date received and possibly the name and location of the individual responsible for purchasing the chemical. If chemicals from commercial sources are repackaged into transfer vessels, the new containers should be labeled with all essential information on the original container.

5.D.5 Labeling Other Chemical Containers

The overriding goal of prudent practice in the identification of laboratory chemicals is to avoid abandoned containers of unknown materials that may be expensive or dangerous to dispose of. The contents of all chemical containers and transfer vessels, including, but not limited to, beakers, flasks, reaction vessels, and process equipment, should be properly identified. The labels should be understandable to trained laboratory personnel and members of well-trained emergency response teams. Labels or tags should be resistant to fading from age, chemical exposure, temperature, humidity, and sunlight.

Chemical identification and hazard warning labels on containers used for storing chemicals should include the following information:

   identity of the owner,

   chemical identification and identity of hazard component(s), and

   appropriate hazard warnings.

Materials transferred from primary (labeled) bulk containers to transfer vessels (e.g., safety cans and squeeze bottles) should be labeled with chemical identification and synonyms, precautions, and first-aid information.

Label containers in immediate use, such as beakers and flasks, with the chemical contents. All reactants should be labeled with enough information to avoid confusion between them.

5.D.6 Labeling Experimental Materials

Labeling all containers of experimental chemical materials is prudent. Because the properties of an experimental material are generally not completely known, do not expect its label to provide all necessary information to ensure safe handling.

The most important information on the label of an experimental material is the name of the researcher responsible, as well as any other information, such as a laboratory notebook reference, that can readily lead to what is known about the material. For items that are to be stored and retained within a laboratory where the properties of materials are likely to be well understood, only the sample identification and name are needed.

(For information about labeling samples for transport and shipping, see section 5.F.)

5.D.7 Use of Inventory and Tracking Systems in Emergency Planning

The most important information to have in an emergency is how to access a researcher who is knowledgeable about the chemical(s) involved. In addition, an organization’s emergency preparedness plan should include what to do in the event of a hazardous material release. The inventory and tracking systems and the ability to access and make use of them are essential to proper functioning of the plan in an emergency. The care taken in labeling chemicals is also extremely important. (See Chapter 6, section 6.C.10, for a detailed discussion of what to do in laboratory emergencies.)


The storage requirements and limitations for stockrooms and laboratories vary widely depending on

   level of expertise of the employees,

   level of safety features designed into the facility,

   level of security designed into the facility,

   location of the facility and neighboring homes or buildings,

   nature of the chemical operations,

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