be needed. Samples that will be transferred outside the laboratory, or that may be handled by individuals not generally familiar with the type of material involved, should be labeled as completely as possible, including the name, address, and telephone number of the sender and recipient for samples in transit. In addition, samples that are sent to individuals at another institution must be accompanied by appropriate labeling and a Material Safety Data Sheet, according to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard amendments and OSHA's Laboratory Standard "hazard identification" provision. When available, the following information should accompany experimental materials:

  • Originator: give the name, location, and telephone number of the person to contact for safe handling information.

  • Identification: include, at least, the laboratory notebook reference.

  • Hazardous components: list primary components that are known to be hazardous.

  • Potential hazards: indicate all the known or suspected potential hazards.

  • Date: note the date that the material was placed in the container and labeled.

  • Ship: indicate the name, location, and telephone number of the person to whom the material is being transferred.

4.D.6 Use of Inventory and Tracking Systems in Emergency Planning

The most important assistance to have in an emergency is access to a researcher who is knowledgeable about the chemical(s) involved. In addition, an organization's emergency preparedness plan should include components on what to do in the event of a hazardous materials release. The information in the inventory and tracking systems and the ability of individuals to access and make use of it are essential to proper functioning of the plan in an emergency. The care taken in labeling chemicals is also extremely important. See Chapter 5, section 5.C.11, 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,

  • location of the facility,

  • nature of the chemical operations,

  • accessibility of the stockroom,

  • local and state regulations,

  • insurance requirements, and

  • building and fire codes.

Many local, state, and federal regulations have specific requirements that affect the handling and storage of chemicals in laboratories and stockrooms. For example, radioactive materials, controlled substances (drugs), consumable alcohol, explosives, needles, hazardous waste, and so forth have requirements ranging from locked storage cabinets and controlled access to specified waste containers and "regulated" areas. Stringent requirements may also be placed on an institution by its insurance carriers. Of particular applicability are fire and building codes, which may be either local or statewide and which have become considerably more rigorous in the past several years. All of these specific requirements must be identified when designing procedures for laboratory and stockroom storage. Other elements to consider include the safety features designed into the facility, the location of the facility, and the nature of the chemical operations.

4.E.1 General Considerations

In general, store materials and equipment in cabinets and on shelving provided for such storage.

  • Avoid storing materials and equipment on top of cabinets. If you must place things there, however, maintain a clearance of at least 18 inches from the sprinkler heads to allow proper functioning of the sprinkler system.

  • Do not store materials on top of high cabinets where they will be hard to see or reach.

  • Avoid storing heavy materials up high.

  • Keep exits, passageways, areas under tables or benches, and emergency equipment areas free of stored equipment and materials.

Storing chemicals in stockrooms and laboratories requires consideration of a number of health and safety factors. In addition to the inventory control and storage area considerations as discussed above, proper use of containers and equipment is crucial (see section 4.E.2).

In addition to the basic storage area guidelines above, these general guidelines should be followed when storing chemicals:

  • Label all chemical containers appropriately.

  • Place the user's name and the date received on all

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