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Inventory Your Chemicals

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 7:00pm

Prudent management of any laboratory using dangerous substances begins with a chemical inventory. If you are opening a new forensic facility (and prior to setting up any new lab where hazardous chemicals will be used), we recommend you definitely consider how chemicals for that location are going to be managed and tracked. Establish written procedures for acquiring chemicals and developing the inventory and ensure that laboratory employees understand and adhere to them. Keep in mind that in many jurisdictions, fire codes, and local ordinances may establish maximum limits for both the total quantities and container sizes allowed for the various classes of chemicals. (More information on this will be provided in part two of this series.)

Regardless of the type of inventory implemented, here are a few recommended guides to follow. We feel, in general, each record in the database should correspond to a single container and not merely the chemical itself. Information fields for each record should contain at a minimum:

  • Chemical name
  • Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registry number
  • Size of container
  • Date of receipt
  • Storage location

Optional fields recommended:

  • Molecular formula
  • Hazard classification
  • Owner's name
  • Expiration date

From: Planning Chemical Management for the Forensic Laboratory by The Safety Guys

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