When transferring a chemical from the original container:
- Choose a sturdy, sealable storage container made of material compatible with the chemical it will hold.
- Contact the EH&S Chemical Hygiene Officer, (858) 822-1579, if you have questions about chemical and container compatibility.
Chemical container labels are required by law to contain specific information. High hazard materials require extra information.
Follow these steps for proper labeling:
- Accurately label chemicals transferred from their original containers with the following required information, written legibly:
- Chemical name or abbreviation
- Hazard warning
- Include this additional information required for chemicals that degrade over time, peroxide formers, and air and water reactives:
- Date received
- Date opened
- Date tested
- Prominently post a chemical abbreviation sheet in the lab when abbreviations are used on labels.
- Print out this list (PDF) (Word) of common substances and abbreviations. Extend the list as necessary with your laboratory specific abbreviations.
- Label refrigerators used for chemical storage with a "No Food Storage" sticker. Label refrigerators that are not approved flammable storage units with a "No Flammable Storage" sticker.
Particularly high hazard materials and substances regulated by law are subject to special storage requirements.
- Follow these guidelines for any materials below used in your facility:
- Know the high hazard material restrictions for your building.
- Pyrophoric materials can only be stored and used in completely fire sprinkled buildings, per California Fire Code.
- Maintain Class D fire extinguishers for work with flammable metals. These types of materials react violently with water!
- Flammable metals such as lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
- Flammable metal compounds such as butyllithium, diethylzinc, lithium aluminum hydride, etc.
- Questions? Contact the EH&S Chemical Hygiene Officer, (858) 822-1579.
Caution: Never use environmental rooms (also called cold/warm rooms) for storage of flammable or other hazardous materials.
- Many ignition sources exist in environmental rooms and little or no air circulates from outside.
- Small quantities of flammable or hazardous materials (500 ml) may be used in these spaces.
Make the most of your investment and prevent chemical degradation over time by accurately tracking what you buy, use, and store.
My Research Safety
Principal investigators, authorized lab contacts, and Department Safety Officers (DSOs) may use the My Research Safety web portal to view and export their current inventory records for chemicals, radioisotopes, and controlled substances.
Minimize inventory tasks, maintenance, and the risks associated with chemical supplies by restricting the amount of material you order and store:
- Avoid duplicative inventory orders.
- Order the minimum quantity of chemicals required for the near future. Do not stockpile chemicals.
- A 6-month throughput of material is a good ordering target.
- Conserve resource funds. Use Chemcycle, UCSD's chemical recycling program:
- Check the Chemcycle inventory of over 6,000 chemicals before you order from suppliers. Follow instructions on the Chemcycle Web page to search for and request free chemicals.
- Donate usable surplus chemicals to Chemcycle:
- Use the Online Waste Tag Program (OTP) to have EH&S hazardous waste technicians collect your usable chemicals.
- On the OTP's "Create Tag" screen, for "Indicate type of content" select Chemcycle.
- Complete and print a tag for the chemical. Request pickup for the container.
- Tag and place the container in your hazardous waste collection area.
- EH&S technicians will pick up the container on the next scheduled hazardous waste collection for your building.
- Reduce your stored chemical supplies to keep your facility fire code compliant. Overstock and bulk orders negatively effect the entire facility by:
- Violating fire codes if the maximum allowable quantity of hazardous materials is exceeded for your facility
- Limiting storage space for colleagues sharing the facility
- Increasing safety hazards and risks
- Promptly dispose of unwanted chemicals through the EH&S Hazardous Waste Program at no charge to the researcher.
Among the challenges facing UCSD is ensuring unhindered research while managing chemical inventories within allowable California fire code (CFC) limits. Fire code limits differ by building, building floor, or a defined storage area in some cases, and are subject to many variables.
The variables described below—building occupancy, control areas, maximum allowable quantity, and mitigating circumstances—determine chemical allowances for each building:
Occupancy is the purpose for which a building or a part of the building is used or intended to be used. Most UC San Diego research and shop facilities are classified as Group B occupancy.
- Group B occupancy – Group B occupancies include buildings, structures, or portions thereof for office, professional, or service-type transactions that are not classified as Group H occupancy.
- Group H occupancy – Group H occupancies include buildings, structures, or portions thereof that involve manufacturing, processing, generation, or storage of materials that constitute a high fire, explosion, or health hazard. UC San Diego has a few buildings and portions of buildings designated Group H occupancy.
Control area is a building or portion of a building where a maximum allowable quantity of hazardous materials can be stored, used, or handled.
Group B occupancy buildings have a specific number of control areas. Most Group B occupancy research buildings at UC San Diego have 4 control areas, but there are some exceptions for newer buildings.
Chemical inventory limitations are addressed by control area, not by specific room location. The maximum allowable quantity of hazardous materials will be considered as part of the control area where the materials are located, type of building occupancy, and other mitigating circumstances.
Maximum allowable quantity
Maximum allowable quantity is the amount of a hazardous material that can be stored or used within a control area inside a building or an outdoor control area.
The maximum allowable quantity per control area is based on the material state (solid, liquid, or gas), the material storage or condition of use, and possible mitigating circumstances.
Prevention, control, and mitigation of dangerous conditions is the goal of limiting the hazardous material allowance in a control area.
Sample maximum allowable quantities (for demonstration purposes only) are:
- Flammable gas (storage or closed system) – 750 cubic foot
- Oxidizer gas (storage or closed system) – 1500 cubic foot
- Explosives (storage) – 1 pound
- Pyrophoric gas (storage or closed system) – 50 cubic foot, but not permitted in unsprinklered buildings
Mitigating circumstances are fire-suppression systems and special storage cabinets that significantly reduce hazards and may affect the maximum allowable quantity assigned to a control area.
Examples of how mitigating circumstances may affect maximum allowable quantity:
- Fully sprinklered buildings – Allowed quantities may be increased 100 percent in a fully sprinklered building. There may be an allowed increase of select hazardous materials based on classification and based on allowable quantity for the type of construction.
- Facilities that are not fully sprinklered – Base level maximum allowable quantities apply and are specifically addressed in the fire code. No increase is allowed. Some hazardous materials may not be used in an unsprinklered facility in any quantity (e.g., pyrophoric material – alkyllithiums, alkylzincs, alkylmagnesiums, diborane, arsine, phospine, etc.).
- Special storage containment – When all materials of a specific classification are stored in an approved storage cabinet, gas cabinet, or exhausted enclosure, as determined by the fire code, allowable quantities may be increased 100 percent.
- Storage without benefit of special containment – Base level maximum allowable quantities apply and are specifically addressed in the fire code. No increase is allowed.
EH&S performs a pre-scheduled annual inventory of every UCSD facility where hazardous chemicals are used or stored as part of the Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) required by the County of San Diego.
Hazardous materials are inventoried for the HMBP if the substance is used, handled, or stored in quantities greater or equal to the following:
- Any amount of a chemical/ compound/ agent with a hazard characteristic of:
- Water reactive
- Potentially explosive
- Acutely toxic
- Peroxide forming
- Strong corrosive
- Strong oxidizing
- Strong reducing
- Listed extremely hazardous materials (40 CFR Part 355, appendix A), including poisons, oxidizers, teratogens, etc.
- Any compressed gas
- 250 grams of solid substance
- 100 milliliters of liquid substance
Non-manufacturer containers, buffers, or small quantities of low hazard chemicals are not tracked for HMBP reporting.
What to expect:
- EH&S HMBP technicians perform scheduled annual chemical inventories that include:
- Checking barcodes in the database
- Visual confirmation of inventory
- Consultation with the lab or shop contact to determine if major inventory changes have occurred
- Checking for a 2-fold increase or decrease in any hazard class
- During inventory, EH&S technicians can assist with donation of surplus or legacy chemicals to ChemCycle.
- When completed, the lab or shop's principal investigator and Area Safety Coordinator receive an electronic copy of their inventory.
- When EH&S technicians find chemical inventories unsafe or not in compliance with fire codes, EH&S notifies:
About UCSD's Hazardous Materials Business Plan
All reporting of “Hazardous Materials Business Plan” information to regulatory agencies and California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) is facilitated through Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S).
UC San Diego's Hazardous Materials Business Plan facilitates chemical safety by:
- Providing valuable information for local fire and hazmat departments responding to emergencies on campus
- Helping us achieve chemical inventories within allowable fire code limits (see the Fire code compliance section above)
- Encouraging discovery and proper disposal of degraded or unwanted chemicals
Note: All reporting of “Hazardous Materials Business Plan” information to regulatory agencies and California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) is facilitated through Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S).