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Conducting Chemical Inventories

When was the last time a chemical inventory was conducted in your lab?  Do you know what hazardous chemicals are present in your workplace and are you maintaining SDSs for all of them?

With the March 1, 2014 deadline to submit Reporting Year 2013 Tier II reports and 2013 Hazardous Waste Reports for biennial reporting rapidly approaching, the importance of maintaining an accurate chemical inventory is highlighted.  The Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires that employers maintain a list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present in the workplace. While conducting chemical inventories, it is prudent to ensure that the SDS files are up to date for all chemicals found during the inventory.  The Lab Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1450, applies to laboratory scale use of hazardous chemicals, and requires the implementation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan.  Many Chemical Hygiene Plans specify how the chemical inventory will be maintained and how the company SDS system works.

Safety Partners recommends conducting physical chemical inventories on an annual basis, and our staff can perform these chemical inventories.  There are several chemical inventory barcode software systems available for companies choosing to maintain on-going chemical tracking.  These systems track chemicals from receipt to disposal, relying on the users to track their use using the barcoding system.

In addition to hazard communication, chemical inventories are important for emergency response purposes.  Emergency coordinators need to be able to inform emergency response personnel of any particularly hazardous chemicals, including their location.

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