Chemical Management

chems (13K)


Minimize purchases of chemicals to reduce risk of spills and exposure and save money and time.

Storage and segregation

toxic chemicals segregated (5K)

All chemicals must be properly stored and segregated to reduce risk of reactions and fire.

See the below links to compatibility charts and guidelines for storage and segregation.

Chemical inventory with MyChem

Keep a current inventory of all your chemicals with MyChem. This inventory helps you stay organized and is also used by the local Fire Department and emergency personnel in the event of a fire, earthquake or other emergency.

You can also post your unneeded chemicals in your MyChem inventory in the UW Chemical Exchange.


Label all of your chemical containers with the following:

  • contents (spell out the name of the chemical - do not use abbreviations or symbols)
  • your name
  • the date
  • any hazards

If you do work in a laboratory, you must also label the containers with the manufacturer's name.

Chemical Hygiene Plan

By law, every laboratory must have a complete Chemical Hygiene Plan. Most of this plan has already been written for you. It is your Laboratory Safety Manual, which contains guidelines and rules on chemical safety as well as emergency planning and more. Make sure you have the most recent version of the Laboratory Safety Manual.

What else do you have to do?

  1. Fill out laboratory-specific information (floor plans, spill kits and more) and maintain that information (or the location of that information) with the Laboratory Safety Manual.
  2. Complete the Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) for each of the chemicals or group of chemicals that you use in your laboratory. The template for the SOP is in Section 6 of your Laboratory Safety Manual.

    Several sample SOPs are found in on the web page

    Create your own SOPs that take into account your specific storage, hygiene, disposal protocols, and emergency exposure and spill protocols.

The Laboratory Safety Manual plus your laboratory specific information and complete SOPS are your required Chemical Hygiene Plan. A state inspector could ask to see your Chemical Hygiene Plan during a safety inspection.

Also, the Laboratory Safety Manual, including those SOPs, can also be very useful because they make training easier and help you continue to have excellent procedures even during staff turn-over.

Synthesizing Chemicals

If you make a chemical and provide it to others not employed by your employer, US regulations require you to provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and label the chemical appropriately. If you transport that chemical to others over public streets, even if the recipients are employed by your employer, you must make hazard information available to them. For advice how to prepare the label, hazard information and MSDS, please email EH&S at

Chemical Safety

Use chemicals safely. First, keep a tidy and clean workspace that is easy and safe to work in. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes when working with chemicals. Wear a lab coat or apron, gloves, and goggles. Keep chemicals capped when you are not using them. Work in a fume hood or in well-ventilated areas. Respirators should be used only as a last resort during chemical use, and are strictly regulated.

See the following webpages for more information:

Chemical Spills and Exposures

You can prevent spills and exposures using the chemical safety tips above. However, you should also be ready for spills and exposures should they happen.

Visit the following webpages for more information on spills preparedness and management:

Chemical Waste

Accumulate and dispose of your chemical waste properly. For more information, visit the following webpages:

Laboratory and workplace surveys

Laboratory and workplace surveys are regularly conducted by EH&S of all laboratories on campus. These surveys are to help you keep a safe and healthful workplace.

You should inspect your own laboratory annually. Chemical labeling, improper chemical storage, lack of spill kits and more are among the top ten violations encountered in laboratory surveys conducted by EH&S.