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Health & Safety Manual - Chemical Hygiene Plan

1.7 Chemical Purchase, Receipt, Inventory and Shipment

1.7.1    Chemical Purchase and Inventory Control
1.7.2    Chemical Inventory
1.7.3    Movement/Transport of Chemicals
1.7.4    Shipment of Hazardous Substances 

1.7.1    Chemical Purchase and Inventory Control
Purchase chemicals in the smallest quantity sufficient for your work. While it is often possible to save money by purchasing materials in bulk, these quantities are usually much more than are necessary for most research laboratories. When these chemicals are stored with no foreseeable use, or to the point that they become degraded, they are considered to be inherently waste-like and must be disposed as hazardous waste.

1.7.2    Chemical Inventory
Each laboratory or laboratory group shall compile and maintain a chemical inventory of all hazardous chemicals normally used or stored in the laboratory. The list shall include relevant information about each chemical, including where it is normally used or stored. This inventory shall be updated as needed, but not less than annually. Refer to your laboratory’s LATCH for additional information about chemical inventory requirements.   

On the Morningside campus, the Chemical Tracking System (ChemTracker) is used to maintain inventories of chemicals used by laboratories and is accessible @ http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/cms.html. At the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), the LDEO Chemical Hazardous Materials Database is used and is accessible @ http://admin.ldeo.columbia.edu/lhmd/lhmd.php.  At Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and Nevis, laboratories should follow the instructions in the LATCH for completing preparing a chemical inventory.  

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1.7.3    Movement/Transport of Chemicals
Movement of hazardous materials within the laboratory or about the campus must receive careful consideration.  Secondary containers/totes and/or utility carts must be used whenever hazardous substances are transported. Secondary containers/totes can be made of rubber, metal, or plastic, and should be large enough to hold the contents of the primary container should it break, and must be resistant to reacting with the hazardous material being transported.  Secondary containers/totes are available commercially through laboratory equipment suppliers and should be standard laboratory equipment.  At the Morningside campus, a limited supply of secondary containers/totes are available on loan from the Biological Stock Room and the ChemStore. Use both hands when moving chemicals, one under the vessel and the other around the neck of the bottle.

Before moving any compressed gas cylinder, ensure that the valve is protected by securing the cap to the cylinder and securely strapping the cylinder to a cylinder cart.

The following items and hazardous substances are to be transported via freight elevators and may not be transported using passenger elevators when a freight elevator is available.

  • Animals, animal bedding, and animal equipment;
  • Hazardous chemicals and samples, including dry ice;
  • Radioactive materials;
  • Chemicals in open containers;
  • Biological materials and samples;
  • Compressed gas cylinders and cryogenic liquids;
  • Laboratory items requiring the use of a cart or hand truck.

1.7.4    Shipment of Hazardous Substances 
The packaging, documentation and transportation of Hazardous Materials and/or Dangerous Goods by air, ground, or water is highly regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG). These regulations are aimed at preventing transportation accidents and protecting the public through a variety of administrative and physical controls.  These federal regulations also apply to inter-campus transportation and shipments on public roadways.  In order to perform any function associated with the transportation of Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods, individuals must be trained.

Researchers planning to send a shipment that may contain a hazardous material must first determine the nature of the hazard.  EH&S has developed resources for shipping hazardous materials which can be used as a starting point for determining the proper procedures required for shipping a hazardous material, including radioactive materials, infectious substances, or chemicals, and subsequently the steps that should be taken to begin the shipping process.   Based on the results of a preliminary classification, researchers may be directed to complete specialized training(s) prior to offering shipments of certain dangerous goods such as dry ice or limited categories of biological materials to carriers, or researchers may be required to complete the Intent to Ship Hazardous Materials Form and submit it to EH&S for further instructions.

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