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Chemical Inventory: An essential tool in your hazard control toolbox!

- November 17, 2016 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

An accurate chemical inventory is an essential part of preventing chemical-related mishaps that can result in illness and injury, as well as property loss. To prevent injury and loss, the storage, use, and proper disposal of Hazardous chemicals must be properly managed.  Proper chemical management starts with creating and maintaining a Chemical Inventory.

Below is a list of data points that should be included in a chemical inventory.  Be sure to check with your local Fire Department to determine if additional information is needed.

  1. Product Name
    1. The name on the container (and Safety Data Sheet) of the product that contains the chemical of concern;
    2. A product containing a chemical such as Acetone may be labeled as “Grease Away” or “Metal Brite” which is the name that should be listed here;
  2. Common Chemical Name
    1. This is the common name of the chemical of concern in the product.  In the above example, the common chemical name would be “Acetone” even though Acetone is also known by other chemical names such as Dimethyl ketone, Ketone propane, and 2-Propanone;
  3. Primary Hazard
    1. List the common hazard or hazards associated with this chemical such as Flammable, Toxic, Acid, Base, Oxidizer, Water Reactive, etc.;
    2. This information is essential to ensuring that chemical hazards are properly stored and handled.  For example, flammable liquids should be stored in an approved Fire Safe cabinet, while incompatible liquids such as acids and bases should be segregated from each other;
    3. Some chemicals such as Nitric Acid (Acid & Oxidizer), or Hydrofluoric Acid (Acid & Toxic) may have more than one hazard.  All significant hazards should be listed;
    4. This hazard information is helpful for Safety Committees and emergency responders (local Fire Dept.);
  4. Typical Quantity
    1. This section is not intended to describe the actual volume on hand, just the volume typically expected;
    2. Be sure to list the units such as 500 ml bottle, 55-gallon drum, or 7,000 gallon tank;
  5. Storage Location
    1. This is the room where the chemical is expected to be stored such as C4 Lab, or the warehouse, as well as the specific location in that room such as ‘Chemical Storage Locker’ or ‘Fume Hood 1D Cabinet’;
  6. Current SDS on File
    1. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) should be no more than 5 years old;
    2. Every chemical on the list should have an SDS on file;
  7. Expiration Date
    1. Many chemicals should be properly disposed of within a set period of time due to the properties of the chemical which can change with age;
    2. Chemicals such as ethers can form peroxides in partially used containers when stored for long periods of time.  These peroxides are shock-sensitive and explosive, and can pose a serious risk of personal injury and property damage when handled;
    3. An Expiration Date is especially important for seldom used chemicals.

Data Points such as the Manufacturer’s Name and the Manufacturer’s Phone Number are typically found on the SDS so do not need to be included on the inventory.  It is also recommended that a Chemical Inventory defines who is responsible for reviewing the list and how often that review is expected (OSHA requires this to be a recurring/periodic process).  Check out our Inventory Template and start your list today.