5.1 Procuring Chemicals

Review hazards of the chemical prior to ordering to assure there are appropriate controls available to safely work with it before purchase.  Many materials require special authorization to purchase, use, and store. Include these ordering procedures as part of your process planning to increase laboratory safety, decrease procurement delays, and reduce potential regulatory deficiencies.

  • Obtain any necessary permits, licenses or registrations prior to ordering. Examples include DEA controlled substances; these require DEA registration for purchase. Some DEA-listed chemicals that are not controlled substances will require a signature by a departmental authority on the chemical vendor’s forms as part of the purchasing process.
  • Before ordering chemical, biological or radiological materials, carefully plan and outline specific safety precautions in an SOP approved by the laboratory supervisor, especially if the material has higher hazards.
  • Wherever possible, look for substitutions of less hazardous chemicals.
  • Check the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemicals-of-Interest (COI) list for the appearance of the chemical.  Contact EHS prior to ordering COIs because there are DHS requirements that can affect your lab or building for chemicals at or above DHS reportable quantities.
  • Order only those materials for which adequate safety equipment is available.
  • Order the minimum quantity of chemical, biological and radiological materials required. Excess material often leads to future safety issues.
  • Prepare the laboratory prior to receipt of the substance (i.e., establish a storage location, post appropriate signs, obtain necessary personal protective equipment, etc.).