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Environmental Health & Safety


Printable files are available in three parts with Adobe Acrobat Reader:

    1. Procurement
      1. Whenever possible, researchers should consider using safer alternative chemicals in place of hazardous chemicals.
      2. To reduce future wastes, purchase only those quantities needed for immediate/near future needs.
      3. Before a chemical/mixture is used, information on the chemical properties, proper handling, storage, and disposal must be made available for those who will be using the substance.  This information is often listed in the SDS.  No chemical container is to be accepted without an adequate identifying label.
      4. Because Safety Data Sheets are frequently updated, the LSO can obtain the most recent edition of the SDS by using the web and accessing the chemical manufacturer/supplier.  In the event of an emergency (spill or exposure) during normal business hours, EH&S can be contacted by calling 275-3241 to obtain a chemical’s SDS.  SDSs are also available through Chematix.
    2. Chemical Inventories
    3. Inventories must be maintained and regularly updated.  Starting in 2015, Chematix, the University’s electronic chemical inventory system, shall be used by all departments with the exception of LLE.

    4. Distribution
    5. When chemicals are transported by hand or cart, the container is to be sealed and placed within a secondary containment vessel to prevent spillage.

    6. Storage and Use
      1. New York State Building Code limits the quantities of chemicals allowed to be stored in buildings.  The Laboratory Safety Unit can assist you in minimumizing the quantities of chemicals to be stored in your labs and associated Linear Equipment Rooms.
      2. Store chemicals in cabinets or shelving according to chemical classes. Routine storage of chemicals on bench tops and in chemical fume hoods is not recommended.
      3. Highly odorous chemicals (mercaptoethanol, for example) must be stored in the cabinet under a fume hood, in a vented cabinet, or within a fume hood.
      4. Chemicals must be stored in a manner to prevent exposure to heat or direct sunlight.
      5. Building code requirements greatly limits the quantity of flammable liquids that can be stored in a laboratory or fire control area.  The preferred locations for the storage of flammable liquids are in flammable material storage cabinets, cabinets with doors, explosion-resistant refrigerators, or explosion-proof refrigerators.  Flammable liquids must never be stored in standard refrigerators or cold rooms.  Contact the Laboratory Safety Unit or the Fire Safety Unit should you have a question/concern of the quantity of flammable liquids that are permitted in your area.
      6. Laboratory refrigerators and walk-in cold rooms must never be used for the storage of food or beverages for human consumption.
      7. Peroxidizable compounds must be dated when received and opened.  See Appendix 6 in this document for a listing of Peroxidizable Compounds.  Peroxidizable compounds must be tested every six months thereafter for peroxide formation or turned in as hazardous waste.  Test methods are included in the “Peroxidizable Compounds” appendix of this document.
      8. Unneeded or excess items should be sent to the Environmental Compliance/Hazardous Waste Unit (x5-2056) for reissue or disposal.
      9. Stored chemicals must be examined at least annually for expiration dates and visually examined for container and label integrity. Expired chemicals or chemical containers showing possible deterioration need to be disposed of through the Environmental Compliance/Hazardous Waste Unit.
      10. Incompatible chemicals must be adequately separated by distance, secondary containment, or separate storage areas.  Consult Appendix 7 of this document for a listing of “Incompatible Chemicals”.  Most chemicals should be stored by general hazard groups, as listed in the appendix of this document, rather than alphabetically.
      11. Extremely toxic substances, carcinogens, reproductive agents, mutagens, and teratogens must be segregated from other chemicals.  Storage trays or secondary containment can be used for identification and segregating purposes.
      12. Chemicals must NOT be stored on the floor, even as a temporary measure.
      13. All compressed gas cylinders are:
        1. to be secured with an approved cylinder chain or strap to the wall or bench or supported with a cylinder stand;
        2. to be used in an upright position;
        3. to be used with the proper regulator;
        4. to be capped when not in use; and,
        5. never to be stored or used in corridors or in egress paths such or near a lab exit door.  For cylinders near a lab exit door, an oxygen sensor or other life safety device, as approved by EH&S, must be installed.
      14. Lecture bottles, small compressed gas cylinders containing flammable or toxic compressed gases, must be:
        1. stored in a well ventilated area (in a cabinet under a chemical fume hood, a fume hood, ventilated storage cabinet, or a ventilated gas cabinet); and,
        2. used in a chemical fume hood or a ventilated gas cabinet unless the cylinder’s use is for a special instrument used in the lab.

QUESTIONS or COMMENTS? Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 7/30/2015. Disclaimer.