Safety

Hazard Communication (HazComm) Procedures

In accordance with Michigan's Hazard Communication Standard, the University has established a written hazard communication program to ensure that employees with exposure or potential exposure to hazardous chemicals are provided with appropriate health and safety information. In addition, the Department of Chemistry has compiled the following HazComm resources:

Chemistry Department Resources

CH Department HazComm Presentation—HazComm information that is required to be presented to all employees in the Department of Chemistry by their supervisors. This excludes only undergraduate students in their normal lab courses. Everyone else must receive this training.

CH Department HazComm Form—The official checklist designed to accompany the presentation above. Completion certifies that the signee has had HazComm training from his/her supervisor.

Chemical Disposal Procedures

Once you designate a reagent for disposal, it will be treated as waste. It will not be available in storage somewhere for future access by anyone. The assumption is that you have either a known reagent, an unknown material, or a mixed waste for which you have an inventory as it was collected. Each is treated differently:

Disposal of Known Reagent

Is it in the original container? Yes–Go to 1) No–Go to 2)

1) Do not obscure the original label.

  • On the back of the container, affix a label with clear tape (packaging tape is best).
  • The label should say “Excess Inventory–Dispose.” 
    • Add the lab room number and a date.
  • Take the container to Chem Stores.

2)  For a reagent not in its original container, you must generate a label sufficient to describe the reagent. (No, ink on the bottle is not sufficient.)

  • On the container, affix a label with clear tape (packaging tape is best) providing the following information:
    • Reagent name
    • EPA waste code (if applicable—not all reagents have a waste code)
    • Any applicable hazard warnings (oxidizer, corrosive, water reactive, etc.)
    • The label should also say “Excess Inventory–Dispose”
    • The lab room number and a date
  • Take the container to Chem Stores.

Disposal of Unknown Material

Do you think you know what the material is? Yes–Go to 1) No–Go to 2)

1) Label the container with as much information as you know.

  • Affix a label with clear tape (packaging tape is best) providing the following information:
    • “Unknown chemical reagent” or “unknown material”
    • The label should also say “hazardous waste–tentative identification as (xxxxxx)”
    • Your name
    • The lab room number and a date
  • Fill out the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form; get it signed by the department chair and send the form to Occupational Safety and Health Services.
  • Keep the unknown material in your lab until picked up.

2) Label the container as hazardous waste.

  • Affix a label with clear tape (packaging tape is best) providing the following information:
    • “Unknown chemical reagent” or “unknown material”
    • The label should also say “hazardous waste”
    • The lab room number and a date
  • Fill out the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form; get it signed by the Department Chair and send the form to Occupational Safety and Health Services
  • Keep the unknown material in your lab until picked up.

Mixed Waste (of known composition)

As waste accumulates, keep a log (or inventory) of each addition to the waste container. This is hazardous waste, and by EPA regulations, your lab cannot accumulate more than 5 gallons of total hazardous waste or keep the accumulated waste for more than six months from the date you started collection in this container.

We use the Hazardous Waste form as both a log and ultimately a label for the container. We keep the form in a plastic sleeve tied to the waste container, but not attached to it. In this way we can make additions to the container without fear of ruining the log.

  • When the container is full, fill out the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form (one form per mixed waste container).
    • You need only declare the major (> 5 percent) components of your mixed waste, unless you have something particularly toxic. If in doubt, list it.
    • Fill out all the EPA Waste ID numbers.
    • Get it signed by the department chair and send the form to Michigan Tech’s Occupational Safety and Health Services.
  • Keep the mixed waste in your lab until picked up.

"Hazardous Waste" vs. "Excess Inventory"

The term “hazardous waste” has a specific regulatory meaning.

  • It can’t accumulate in your lab for more than six months.
  • It can’t be stored anywhere other than your lab or the single authorized collection point at Michigan Tech. In other words, we cannot store anything labeled “hazardous waste” in Chem Stores or Used Chemical Storage.

"Excess inventory" refers to all those reagents that you have sitting on the shelf that you will use "someday." There are no specific regulations that apply to "excess inventory" items. When you decide you want to get rid of them, do not call them "hazardous waste," as that puts them into a different disposal category. We can accumulate "excess inventory" with the intent of getting rid of it during a waste haul. We cannot accumulate "hazardous waste."

Resources

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are extremely important in the safe handling of hazardous substances. MSDS can be found through the following suppliers:

MSDS Supplier Resources

Additionally, you can search online using the following key phrases: "MSDS + CAS number/chemical name" or "MSDS CAS number + supplier."

Standard Operating Procedures

The following is a collection of standard operating procedures that have been created in various research labs: