tralized in one purchasing office or may be dispersed to varying degrees throughout the institution. The advent of highly computerized purchasing systems, and even on-line ordering, has made it attractive to allow ordering at the departmental or research group level. However, the ability to control ordering of certain types of materials through a central purchasing system (e.g., prohibiting flammables in containers over a certain size or ensuring appropriate licensing of radioactive material users) is almost completely lost as the purchasing function is decentralized. In these cases, other, creative ways of exercising control need to be found.
One of the advantages of computerization of ordering is the information that can be retrieved from the chemical supplier. Some institutions have included in their annual contracts with suppliers a requirement to report on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis the quantity of each type of chemical purchased and the location to which it was delivered. This information can be helpful in preparing the various annual reports on chemical use that may be required by federal, state, or local agencies.
A purchase order for a chemical should include a request for a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). However, many of the larger laboratory chemical suppliers have established a policy of sending each MSDS only once, when the chemical is first ordered. Subsequent orders of the same chemical may not be accompanied by the MSDS. Therefore, a central network of accessible MSDSs should be established if feasible.
Chemicals arrive at institutions in a variety of ways, including U.S. mail, commercial package delivery, express mail services, and direct delivery from chemical warehouses. It is important to confine deliveries of chemicals to areas that are equipped to handle them, usually a loading dock, receiving room, or laboratory. Proper equipment for receipt of chemicals includes chains for temporary holding of cylinders and carts designed to safely move various types of chemical containers. Shelves, tables, or caged areas should be designated for packages to avoid damage by receiving room vehicles. Chemical deliveries should not normally be made to departmental offices because, in general, they 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 upon its arrival.
Receiving room, loading dock, and clerical personnel need to be trained adequately to recognize hazards that may be associated with chemicals coming into the facility. They need to know what is expected of them if a package is leaking or if there is a spill in the receiving facility, and they need to know whom to call for assistance when a problem develops. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires training for anyone involved in the movement (including receiving) of hazardous materials (see Chapter 9, section 9.D.10).
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 not too heavy to manage easily. Groups of packages or heavy packages should be transported by 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 should be used when transporting individual containers of liquids.
Cylinders of compressed gases should always be secured on specially designed carts and should never be dragged or rolled. The cap should always be securely in place. Whenever possible, chemicals and gas cylinders should be moved on ''freight-only" elevators.
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. Delivery criteria can be specified in the original purchase order.
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 placed on the label. Labels placed by the manufacturer should not be obliterated or removed. New chemicals should be entered into the laboratory's inventory promptly and placed in the appropriate storage area.
The DOT regulates shipment of chemicals by a specific set of hazardous materials regulations (49 CFR 100-199). These regulations contain detailed instructions on how hazardous materials have to be identified, packaged, marked, labeled, documented, and placarded. Shipments not in compliance with the applicable regulations may not be offered or accepted for transportation. Since October 1, 1993, HM126F, a new, more stringent set of regulations on training for safe transportation of hazardous materials (49 CFR 172.700704), has been in effect. It is essential that all individuals who are preparing hazardous materials for shipment