Frequently Asked Questions

Spare the Air questions

Winter Spare the Air is a pollution reduction program sponsored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). On winter days, particulate matter can be a problem in the Bay Area. To protect public health, residents are asked to refrain from activities that cause pollution on these days.  In addition, a new BAAQMD regulation was passed in July that makes burning wood, fire logs, or pellets illegal when a Winter Spare the Air Alert is in effect.

Biosafety answers

Q: What considerations do I need to make when shipping a biological substance?
A:

Biological and Infectious Substances regulated for transportation include those identified as Infectious Substances-Category A, Biological Substances-Category B, Genetically modified organisms or micro-organisms. Exempt Human specimen and Exempt Animal specimen, although exempt per the regulations, require minimum packaging and markings when transported by air.

Infectious Substance (Division 6.2)

A material known or reasonably expected to contain a pathogen. A pathogen is a micro- organism (including bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites, fungi) or other agent, such as a proteinaceous infectious particle (prion) that can cause disease in humans or animals.

Infectious substance (Category A)

An infectious substance in a form capable of causing permanent disability or life threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. An exposure occurs when an infectious substance is released outside of its protective packaging, resulting in physical contact with humans or animals.

Classification must be based on the known medical history or symptoms of the source patient or animal, endemic local conditions, or professional judgment concerning the individual circumstances of the source human or animal. Category A poses a higher degree of risk than Category B.

Biological substance (Category B)

An infectious substance not in a form generally capable of causing permanent or life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. This includes Category B infectious substances transported for diagnostic or investigational purposes.

Note: The Proper Shipping Name (PSN) “Diagnostic Specimens” UN3373 is no longer acceptable by the US DOT and IATA. The new PSN is “Biological Substance, Category B” UN3373.

  • When shipping biological materials that require a Biological Use Authorization (BUA), you must be listed on a current campus BUA.
  • Additional permits may be required to ship materials out of state or out of the country. Please contact the BioSafety Team for additional information.

Demolition FAQs answers

Q: Who should I contact for more information?
A:

Please contact the EH&S Construction Specialist at the EH&S main office at (510) 642-3073, or at
ehs-ep@berkeley.edu for more information on demolitions.

Q: How many days in advance should I notify certain parties of the demolition of my structure?
A:

You must notify the BAAQMD at least 10 days prior to the commencement of a demolition.

You must notify EH&S and Facilities at least 30 days/months prior to the commencement of a demolition.

Q: Do I need to notify and obtain approval from EH&S before I submit forms to BAAQMD, or begin demolition?
A:

Yes, you must notify EH&S and Facilities of any demolition of a structure.

You do not need to submit a permit application for the demolition of a structure to the State or City of Berkeley since we are not under their jurisdiction for this activity, but you must notify all other appropriate parties of the proposed demolition.

Q: Do I need to conduct a survey prior to demolition?
A:

You are also required to conduct a survey of your structure for building contaminants.  If there is a need for abatement, contact Facilities Services Abatement Shop

If radiation, biohazardous agents or mercury is known to be within the building’s history, do not begin any work or scope development without consulting with EH&S.

Q: Do I need to obtain a permit for a demolition of a structure?
A:

Yes, you are responsible for obtaining various permits and items prior to the demolition of a structure including:

  • A “J” Number from the BAAQMD
  • Utility Clearance (Electric, Water, Sewer, Gas)
  • Water Diversion & Fire Suppression Plans - Campus Fire Marshal
  • EH&S chemical, radiation or biosafety clearance
  • Appropriate fees for permits

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) answers

Q: How do I report a missing Lab Coat?
A:

Use the form below to report a missing coat to EH&S.

Report a Missing Lab Coat

If you are in urgent need of a replacement lab coat please also submit a request for a replacement.

Replacement Request: Eyewear and Coats

Contact the PPE coordinator at ppe@berkeley.eduor by calling the EH&S front office at (510) 642-3073 if you have further questions, or if you have trouble filling out the forms.

To prevent your lab coat from going missing:

  1. Make sure that it has the proper labels.
    Lab Coat Label
    • Proper Lab Coat Labeling: Your lab coat should bear a label like the one in the photo above. If your coat does not have proper labeling, contact the PPE coordinator at ppe@berkeley.edu.
  2. Follow the instructions under "How do I keep my PPE when I change labs?"
Q: How do I keep my PPE when I change labs?
A:

When moving from one lab to another, you can take your PPE with you if it is appropriate for the hazards in the new lab. To help keep your coat from getting lost after you’ve moved, please complete these steps:  

  1. Get onto the roster for your new lab. Any member already listed in the lab’s roster may add a new member through Labs at Berkeley (L@B). Information entered into L@B will be transferred to the lab hazard assessment tool (LHAT).
  2. Certify the hazards in your new lab. After you are added to a lab roster, you will receive an email from LHAT. Log in using your CalNet credentials, and at the bottom of the page, you will see the name of your lab group. Review the listed hazards, and click the checkbox at the bottom of the page labeled ‘I certify that I have reviewed the assessment.’
  3. Contact the PPE coordinator with the following information:
    • The principal investigator for the old lab.
    • The principal investigator for the new lab.
    • The name of the building where the new lab is located.
    • Lab coat ID numbers. These can be found on a label inside the coat, below the collar. They start with either "UCB-" or "UC-", followed by six numbers. Some only list the six numbers by themselves.
  4. Arrange an appointment with the PPE coordinator by email to update your lab coat’s labels.
Q: How do I get Prescription Safety Glasses?
A:

Prescription safety glasses are an alternative to wearing prescription glasses with over-the-glasses safety glasses.

FOR ALL LABS:

Vision Service Plan (VSP) can be used for prescription safety glasses. If you have a qualifying student or employee VSP through UC Berkeley, you can choose to use it for prescription safety glasses instead of regular prescription glasses. Simply schedule an appointment with the Meredith W. Morgan Eye Center at Minor Hall.

Prescription safety glasses are not a separate benefit from the regular glasses provided by your VSP. To find out more about your own Vision Service Plan benefits, call (510) 642-5700.

FOR COLLEGE OF CHEMISTRY LABS:

If you are in a lab that is a part of the College of Chemistry

  1. Email coc.safety@berkeley.edu to receive your voucher.
  2. Schedule an appointment with the Eye Center at Minor Hall.
  3. Visit the University Eye Center at Minor Hall with your voucher.
  4. If you’ve had an eye exam within the last six months, bring a copy of your prescription. A VSP can also be used for coverage of an eye exam to check your vision.
Q: How do I get my lab coat cleaned/replaced if something spills on it?
A:

Aramark is the approved vendor for lab coat laundering services. Aramark picks up and returns lab coats every week.

Steps:

  1. Whether a lab coat should be laundered, disposed of, or given to EH&S for decontamination will depend on what was spilled on the coat.

    BiologicalRadioactiveChemical

    BSL1: 

    • Spray with 10% bleach.
    • Rinse after 20 minutes and let dry
    • Send for laundering

    If H-3 (Tritium)  contamination is suspected:

    • Place the lab coat in a sealed bag.
    • Label it with your name, date, and H-3 (Tritium).

    Small spill:

    • Pre-clean and rinse with water or soapy water
    • Dry
    • Send for laundering

    BSL2:

    • Small spill:
      • Spray with 10% bleach
      • Rinse after 20 minutes and let dry
      • Send for laundering
    • Large spill: Dispose of as biological waste.

    Report all spills to the campus biosafety officer at (510) 642-3073 or at bso@berkeley.edu.

    All other radionuclides:

    • Survey your coat with a radiation survey meter.
    • If any spot on the coat reads greater than two (2) times background, the coat is contaminated.
      • Place the lab coat in a sealed bag.
      • Label it with your name, date and radionuclide.
    Large spill: Dispose as hazardous waste.


    If you disposed of a lab coat as waste and need a replacement, request a lab coat using the Replacement Request Form: Eyewear and Coats.

  2. Check for proper labeling.
    • Your lab coat should bear a label like the one in the photo below. If your coat does not have proper labeling, contact the PPE coordinator at ppe@berkeley.edu.
      Lab Coat Label
  3. Empty your pockets.
  4. Find out which laundry system to use.
    • Soiled campus lab coats are laundered using three different systems. To find out which system you should use:

      • Log into Labs @ Berkeley (L@B).
      • Click on Lab Coats.
      • Information about all of the lab coats issued to you and instructions for getting them cleaned will be displayed.

EHS L@B Roster Rooms Lab Coats

For instructional lab coats, fill out the Instructional Lab Coat Wash Request form.

Q: Does my lab coat fit properly?
A:

It is important that your lab coat fits properly so it can protect you as designed. There are three main things to check:

Body Fit:

  • All lab coat buttons close.
  • Arms can move freely.
  • The lab coat fits well around the torso and hips.
  • The lab coat fits comfortably.

Coat Length:

  • The lab coat hangs near the knee.

Sleeve Length:

  • Sleeves hang above the thumb tip while arms are hanging at sides.
  • With arms in a working pose, sleeves cover the wrist and reach the edge of the gloves.

If your lab coat needs altered (shorter sleeves) please review information below.

It is important for both safety and comfort that lab coat sleeves fit properly. If necessary, your lab coat sleeves can be shortened for a better fit free of cost.

If your lab coat sleeves need to be shortened, or if you have any questions about the fit or alterations, contact the PPE coordinator at ppe@berkeley.edu

Q: How do I get my lab coat, safety glasses, or splash goggles?
A:
  1. Get added to your lab’s roster on Labs At Berkeley (L@B)
  2. Acknowledge the hazards in your lab using Lab Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT)
    • Log in to LHAT using your CalNet credentials. In the ‘Action Items’ section, select ‘Review and Acknowledge Laboratory Hazard Assessment’ for the appropriate hazard assessment and complete the following: 
      • Certify Hazard Assessment: Click ‘Continue’ and review all of the hazard assessment details. After review, click the ‘Acknowledge’ button and confirm in the pop-up window. 
      • Training: On the ‘Next Steps’ page click ‘PPE Safety Training’. This will navigate you to a different website where you can read the ‘Safety PPE Training PDF’, watch the ‘Safety PPE Video’ and complete the ‘Safety PPE Quiz’. 
      • PPE Voucher: Return to LHAT and print the voucher so that you can bring it with you to your PPE fitting appointment at the Office of Environment, Health & Safety in 350 University Hall.
    • See Instructions for using LHAT.
  3. Schedule an appointment.
    • Sign up for a PPE fitting appointment at calppe.simplybook.me.
    • Bring your PPE voucher and prescription glasses (if you will wear them in the lab) to your appointment.
    • If you are interested in prescription safety glasses, follow these instructions after certifying your hazard assessment.

Please direct any questions you have about this process to the PPE coordinator at ppe@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail), or call EH&S at (510) 642-3073.


Related Resources:

Q: How can I return my lab coat?
A:

Lab Coat Drop-off:

  1. Pack lab coat(s) in a bag or box and seal it.
  2. Bring the lab coat(s) to the Hazardous Materials Facility Monday-Friday, 6am-2:30pm.

Hazardous Materials Facility entrance

  1. Hand the bag or box to a staff member.
    • If you cannot gain entrance to the building, ring the doorbell outside the large sliding gate.

Door bell outside Hazardous Materials Facility

Mail Extra Lab Coat(s) to EH&S:

  1. Pack lab coat(s) in a bag or box, and seal it.
  2. Print an EH&S mailing label.
  3. Place the box or bag into the UC Berkeley Campus Mail (not US Postal Service mail).

Request EH&S Pickup (for returns greater than 10 coats)​:

  1. Place lab coats in bags or boxes and set aside in a safe location.
  2. Fill out the Lab Coat Pickup Request Google form.

While soiled lab coats can be returned to EH&S, lab coats contaminated with toxic chemicals, biological hazards, or radioactive materials should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Refer to How do I get my Lab Coat Cleaned? to determine possible contamination and appropriate disposal methods.

Spare the Air answers

Q: What other things can I do to reduce wood smoke pollution?
A:

The BAAQMD gives 10 tips to reducing wood smoke pollution on their website: https://www.baaqmd.gov/rules-and-compliance/wood-smoke.

  • Give your fireplace or wood stove the night off.
  • Replace your fireplace or wood stove with a clean burning natural gas device.
  • Insulate your house to keep warmth in.
  • Save energy and reduce pollution by wearing a sweater on chilly nights.
  • Switch to an EPA-certified wood burning device or pellet stove, which emits up to 70% less PM.
  • Burn clean, hotter fires with plenty of air, in order to prevent visible smoke from a chimney or flue; smoke which indicates poor combustion so adjust dampers or fuel accordingly.
  • Never burn, painted wood, treated wood, particle board, plastics, wrapping paper or other garbage; burning them releases toxic chemicals.
  • Burn only dry hardwood fuel such as oak or cherry, which produces less smoke and burns hotter. Never burn wet wood.
  • Store wood in a dry or covered area and off the ground to keep it from getting wet.
  • Keep your fireplace and stove well maintained to improve airflow and reduce emissions.
Q: Why are particulates a health concern?
A:

Particulate matter is a mixture of solid and liquid particles in the air.  The smaller-sized particles are of greatest health concern because they can pass through the nose and throat, lodging deep in the lungs. There have been many correlations between rising PB levels with serious health effects, such as asthma symptoms and decreased lung function.

Q: Why is the operation of wood-burning devices prohibited during Winter Spare the Air Alerts?
A:

Wood burning produces about one-third of the particulate pollution on a typical winter night. There is an estimated 1.4 million fireplaces and woodstoves in the Bay Area; wood smoke air pollution from these appliances has been a health concern for many years, especially on winter evenings.

Q: Are there any exemptions to the wood-burning devices curtailment during Winter Spare the Air Alerts?
A:

Yes. If electrical power OR natural gas service is not available in your area, you may qualify for an exemption. You may also qualify for an exemption if operating a wood-burning device is your only source of heat. Please see the BAAQMD regulation for a complete description of exemptions: https://www.baaqmd.gov/rules-and-compliance/wood-smoke.

Q: How long does the Winter Spare the Air season last?
A:

The Winter Spare the Air season runs from November to February.

Wells and Borings FAQ answers

Q: Are there any special requirements at the Richmond Field Station because it is under a DTSC Site Investigation and Remediation Order?
A:

Yes. Due to the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control Order, there are additional requirements for contractors pertaining to health and safety plans, equipment decontamination, and waste collection. See the RFS Soil, Groundwater, and Geotechnical Borings Contractor Requirements for more information.

Q: What is the timeline for the permit process?
A:

The permit process takes approximately 2 weeks.


A general timeline of the process is as follows using the City of Berkeley by example:


Step # Action Timeframe 1 Capital Projects (CP) or EH&S submits the permit application (completed form, scaled plan and fee) to the City of Berkeley – Toxic Management Division (TMD). 3 days 2 City of Berkeley – Toxics Management Division (TMD) sends “Drilling Permit” to CP or EH&S. 7 days 3 Capital Projects (CP) alerts EH&S of the first scheduled day of drilling. 2 days 4 Call the City of Berkeley – Toxics Management Division (TMD) and schedule an inspection of the grout sealing of boreholes, probes, or wells. Notify TMD a minimum of two (2) working days in advance of first scheduled day of drilling. 5 Permit expires. 90 days from approval date

Q: What will be the cost of this permit for my project?
A:

Fees vary by county. The fees for the City of Berkeley are typical and are as follows (as of April 2012):

  • Well: $376 (plus $112 for each additional well)
  • Soil Boring: $188 (plus $112 for each additional soil boring)
Q: When must a permitted well or soil boring be closed?
A:

Permitted wells and temporary borings must be closed according to conditions of the permit granted.

  • Some monitoring wells will be used long-term and will be permitted accordingly.
  • Inactive monitoring wells that are not used within a year’s time should be closed.
  • Soil borings and temporary wells should be closed upon completion of work and according to a registered engineer or geologist’s approved work plan.
Q: Who prepares submittals to the agency for a permit?
A:

You have one of two options:

  • Option #1: The contractor may prepare and submit the required documents and fees to the authorizing agency. Copies of submittal must be forwarded to EH&S. However, you must always include EH&S involvement prior to any submission of environmental regulatory forms. Permits must be issued to the University as the official property owner. Note! All permits must be filed identifying the University as the property owner.
  • Option #2: EH&S can prepare the submittal. EH&S submits the application to the authorizing agency and forwards copies to the contractor and Project Manager.
Q: What information/documents must be submitted for a permit?
A:

The authorizing agency requires the submittal of the following:

  • Monitoring Well and Soil Boring Permit Application
  • A scaled plan identifying the proposed drilling locations, property boundaries, streets, structures, pollution areas, and buried and overhead utility lines.
  • Fee
Q: What is the intent of the permit requirements?
A:

The intent of the requirements is to prevent unintentional impacts to groundwater from contaminants that may be introduced through improper construction or installation of soil borings, dewatering devices, probes, and investigative boreholes.

Q: Do I need to obtain a permit for drilling activities on UC property?
A:

Yes, boring permits are required for University construction project drilling activities under certain conditions described below. However, the University is only required to comply with permitting requirements authorized by the state Water Code, and activities covered by municipal ordinances that go beyond the authorization of the state statutes do not apply to the University.


You are required to obtain a permit from the authorizing city or county agency for the installation and destruction of the following :

  • Monitoring wells (used to measure the concentration in groundwater of chemical contaminants or other parameters).
  • Cathodic protection wells
  • Water supply wells
  • Other permanent or temporary wells (such as piezometers) and borings installed with the primary purpose of collecting groundwater on a contaminated site for analysis and for hydrologic information.

You do NOT need a permit for the following activities:

  • Construction site dewatering wells
  • Archeological borings
  • Geotechnical soil borings
  • Environmental soil borings
  • Other soil borings or excavation with the primary purpose of collecting information on soils

Workplace Safety answers

Q: Can I build one myself?
A:

Yes, the materials are available from many vendors and assembly is simple. If you have limited space or multiple filters are unavailable, a lower cost alternative design is to tape a single 20” x 20” MERV 13 filter to the back of a box fan (See: video).

Q: If there’s a box filter in my classroom, does that mean the ventilation is bad?
A:

No. Criteria for room selection include MERV rating of the building’s filtration system, room-specific ventilation information, indoor air quality complaints, reliance on natural ventilation (presuming windows will need to be closed during wildfire smoke event and/or during colder winter months), occupancy and usage rates, and room size.

Q: Are you making more box filters?
A:

I’d like one for my classroom. Most shared spaces on campus are well-served by building ventilation and filtration systems. This project is a grassroots/pilot project intended to supplement the building ventilation system in targeted locations and there are no plans to install box filters in all shared spaces on campus. If you have concerns about indoor air quality in a specific room, please email ehs@berkeley.edu.

Q: Will they blow a power circuit?
A:

The fans use an estimated 166/117/87 watts at each power level. This isn’t much more electrical draw than a typical laptop. If you have concerns about the electrical capacity of a specific room, please contact Facilities Services at 2-1032. (10/7/21 bench test: Draw = 0.6 amp at setting 1; 0.8 amp at setting 2; 1.0 amp at setting 3). 

Q: How loud are the box fans?
A:

The fans have been measured at 55 dB at a distance of 6 feet on the lowest setting, but will be louder at a higher setting. If it is disruptive, reduce the power level or turn off the fan. 

What to Expect When You’re Inspected answers

Q: Why do I need to keep so much space between our stored materials and the ceiling?
A:

For fire sprinklers to work properly, they must not be blocked in any way such that their spray pattern is impeded. There needs to be enough room for the spray from fire hoses to reach throughout the room. Any storage within 18” of sprinklered areas or 24” of non-sprinklered areas of the ceiling must remain clear, except when the storage is along a wall. 

Q: How far apart do incompatible gases need to be?
A:

Flammable gases (e.g., hydrogen, methane, propane, acetylene) and oxygen (or other oxidizing gases) must be separated by 20 feet or by a non-combustible partition extending 18 inches above and to the sides of stored gas cylinders. Cylinders should be positioned so that the label with the name of the gas and its hazard is clearly visible. Gas cylinders are often difficult to reach; in an emergency, first responders need to see what they’re dealing with as quickly as possible.

Q: It takes a lot of effort to keep aisles and exits clear in our busy, crowded lab. Why is it so important?
A:

EH&S wants you to get out of your lab safely in an emergency. A good question to ask yourself is: “Could I quickly and safely get out of my lab in the dark?” Maintain a minimum of 36 inches clearance in aisles at all times and never block required exits with equipment, boxes, or other items (required exits have a lighted “exit” sign above the door).

Q: What do I do when I encounter cords with damaged outer sheaths?
A:
Flexible cords should be repaired or replaced if the outer sheath is damaged such that any conductor insulation or conductor is exposed. The use of electrical tape to repair cords with exposed wiring is not a substitute for insulation provided by an intact sheath. exposed wire
Q: Why do I have to cap my gas cylinder?
A:

The regulator and valve are vulnerable if the cylinder were to fall. Remove the regulator if the cylinder is not in use. Protect the valve with the cylinder cap to prevent the sudden release of gas under high pressure. The release of pressurized gas can cause the cylinder to become a projectile.

Q: What type of restraints are used to adequately secure gas cylinders?
A:
Go with metal chains/bands and racks made of Unistrut or other non-combustible material. Restraints should be positioned at approximately 1/3 and 2/3 the height of the cylinder. Chains should be tight enough so as to hold the cylinders in place and prevent it from falling over. Your inspector can help you determine if the cylinders are secure. gas cylinders chained to a wall
Q: Why do I have to test my emergency eyewash?
A:

Rust can accumulate in water pipes. Testing eyewashes ensure clean water is available in an emergency. Flush test your eyewashes on a monthly basis by slowly pushing the handle away from you until water is flowing freely and you see that the stream(s) will be able to effectively rinse your eyes. Let it run for 15 seconds. Mark the eyewash tag with your initials and the date; including the year. For eyewashes that do not have plumbed drains, use a small basin capable of holding the drained water while flush testing the eyewash for 15 seconds. All eyewashes, whether they have a drain or not, need to be tested every month.

Q: When should I label my waste container?
A:

Label your chemical waste container as soon as you start collecting waste. Every container must be labeled with a Hazardous Waste Program (HWP) label. Starting from the first day waste begins accumulating, you have six months before EH&S needs to come to pick it up.

Q: Where can I find guidance on how to properly store chemicals?
A:

Chemicals should always be segregated and stored based on their chemical class and compatibility. Storage requirements such as allocated area, shelving, cabinets and secondary storage should be taken into consideration. See the document Safe Storage of Hazardous Chemicals found on the Resources and Guides page for more information on this topic.

Q: What is EHS 502: Workplace Safety Program and why do I have to take it?
A:

California state regulations require every employer to have an effective injury prevention program. To satisfy this requirement, all lab personnel are required to complete EHS 502 - a one-time mandatory training that includes information on responsibilities, analyzing hazards and applying controls, what to do in a campus emergency, and resources available to promote a safer workplace.

Q: What training can I access from the Labs At Berkeley (L@B)?
A:

The following training can be accessed through the Labs At Berkeley (L@B): Lab Safety Fundamentals (EHS 101)Spill Response (EHS 206)Workplace Safety Program (EHS 502) and COVID-19 (EHS 207). Additional training may also be listed such as the Hazardous Waste Program and biological hazard training.

Chemical Safety answers

Q: How do I get my lab coat cleaned?
A:

Mail-Mail Laundry

  • Place your soiled coat into a sealed bag.
  • Put the bag into the campus mail bin located in your mailroom.
  • Once it is cleaned, your coat will be mailed directly back to your lab.

Hamper-Hanger Laundry

  • Place your soiled coat in the hamper at your designated location.
  • Pick up your clean coat on the adjacent hangar the following Thursday.
Q: How do I find out what PPE I need for my work?
A:

Your LHAT voucher will show what PPE is necessary for your work. This was designated by your PI in accordance with what hazards are present in your workspace.

Q: My lab has a permit to work with “select agents.” What Federal Agency regulations must I meet to determine whether a permit to transfer is required?
A:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the USDA are Federal Agencies that authorize the use and transfer of Select Agents and Toxins. Please note that even when not required to request a permit to transfer, you may still be required to meet other notification filings. After determining permit requirements, the transport of select agents and toxins are subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. 

Chemicals Application answers

Q: What do I include in my inventory in 'Chemicals'?
A:

You are encouraged to include all hazardous materials in your inventory so the information is readily available to emergency responders. All materials that are toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, reactive, carcinogenic, or flammable, as well as any liquids and gases under pressure, including liquid nitrogen tanks and compressed air cylinders, are required to be in Chemicals.

Many materials should not be entered in the chemical inventory, however, per the table below. If you are still unsure what to include, please contact EH&S.

What to include in your inventoryWhat not to include
All chemicals and chemical products (except those listed to the right) Retail products used and stored in amounts and frequencies typical to ordinary household usage.
All compressed and liquefied gases Etiologic agents (bacteria, viruses, select agents, and toxins)
Lubricants, fuels, and oils (motor oil, gasoline, diesel, vacuum pump oil) Biological culture media, agar, serum proteins, albumin
Aerosol lubricants Enzyme preparations
Paints including spray-paints Non-hazardous buffers
Pesticides and biocides Radioactive materials (unless mixed with hazardous chemicals)
  Pre-packed test kits for medical labs
  Commercially packaged drugs in solid, final form (tablets, pills) for direct administration
  Commercial food, drugs, and cosmetics, covered by the FDA
  Materials to be used within 1-2 days (“working solutions”)
  Hazardous waste
Q: How do I get access to 'Chemicals'?
A:

If you work in a lab that uses hazardous chemicals, you can get access to the inventory by being added to your lab’s roster in Labs @ Berkeley (L@B). If you need access to a chemical inventory but are not working in a lab, contact cheminv@berkeley.edu to be manually added.

Q: Why does our lab's inventory in 'Chemicals' show substances we didn't have in our inventory before?
A:

When the data was migrated over from the former inventory system, CIS, some items were matched to incorrect substances. You may be seeing substances such as STRONTIUM TITANIUM DOUBLE METAL ALKOXIDECacodylic acid sodium salt trihydrate solution, 1.0M, pH 6.2, or others unfamiliar to you, show up in your inventory. We are working to correct these items so that all correct substances are displayed. If you have more questions about incorrect substances, please contact us at cheminv@berkeley.edu.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact the Chemicals administrator Russ Blackmar.

Construction Safety: Sampling and Surveys answers

Q: What should I do if my project finds smelly or discolored soil?
A:

Discovery of hazardous materials during excavation is considered an emergency and the EH&S emergency response team should be contacted immediately at (510) 642-3073 including on weekends and after hours. Immediately stop work and isolate and restrict access to the area in question.  EH&S will assess the soil. Contaminated soils can only be excavated by a licensed hazardous materials contractor. If the project contractor is not licensed, EH&S will work with you to obtain services of a campus approved hazardous materials contractor.

Q: How long will it take to characterize soil for disposal?
A:

In general, it takes at least one and potentially up to four weeks to complete characterization of soil for off-site disposal, although this can be accelerated in emergencies but at a greater cost. Soil sampling needs to be coordinated with at least 72 hours advance notice and can usually be completed in one day. Standard laboratory analysis turnaround time is 5-7 business days. Sample analysis can be expedited by paying a surcharge. A 24-hour turnaround normally adds a 100% surcharge to the base cost, two-day 75%, and three-day 50%.

For larger projects that need multiple subsurface samples, hiring a UC approved environmental consultant may be easier. EH&S can help evaluate project needs and help with contractor evaluations if deciding to follow that option.

Step#

Action

Timeframe

1 Capital Projects (CP) submits excavation information (Area and volume, proposed acceptance site, tentative start-up date) to EH&S (ehs-ep@berkeley.edu).  
2 EH&S will determine if project meets internal capabilities or if consultants should be hired. 1 to 3 days
3 General Contractor/hauler indicates what analyses and sample requirements to perform based on accepting party criteria. 1 to 3 days
4 EH&S approved Contractor collects samples and submits to laboratory. 1 to 3 days
5 Laboratory processes samples on standard turn around. Some analytical can be expedited as described above. 2 days to 1 week
6 EH&S reviews analytical for proper handling and follow up evaluations/testing, recommendations. 1 to 3 days
7 Contact accepting landfill, site or party for disposal approval/forms. 1 to 3 days
8 * If solubility or leaching testing requirements (TCLP or STLC) are imposed/required, add 5 days to timeline. 5 days
  Average Total Time for full subsurface evaluation 7 to 27 days
Q: How much does soil sampling cost?
A:

Costs vary depending on the number and type of samples, and the requested analytical laboratory analysis turnaround time. Costs can vary from a few hundred dollars for small projects to tens of thousands of dollars for new buildings involving mass excavation.

Sampling costs can also vary according to site area, depth of final excavation needed and how well known the history of the site is. For example:

  • A utility trench, 30-inches by 48-inches deep, 50-feet long: one to two samples would be taken by EH&S and incurs a cost of $500 each.
  • Larger sites or projects requiring excavation to greater than 10-feet bgs, will benefit by hiring an environmental consultant to coordinate drilling and sampling needs. Projects in this range will require additional equipment and may expect sampling costs to be in excess of $20,000 and up to $50,000 for basic environmental and geotechnical investigations.
  • Contaminated sites or sites with historical contamination may incur more costs than the examples provided and are best reviewed in advance with EH&S for proper planning.

A tax will also be incurred by the State Board of Equalization per ton of hazardous materials disposal, if applicable to a project’s waste stream or off-haul material.

Q: Can I let my contractor or consultant take soil samples?
A:

Not without EH&S approval.  Contractors and engineers must comply with UC Berkeley sampling protocols for proper characterization of soils. Improper sampling poses a legal liability to the University. Only EH&S technicians, or a consultant working under the direction of EH&S, should sample soil.

Q: How can I get soil sampled?
A:

Soil sampling should be coordinated by contacting EH&S with at least 72 hour notice prior to the proposed sampling.
Contact the EH&S Construction Specialist at the EH&S main office at (510) 642-3073, or at
ehs-ep@berkeley.edu.

Q: What is required for importing soil for my project?
A:

It is crucial that your project import only clean fill.  Contractor’s must provide you with a statement that the soil is not contaminated and if necessary laboratory data.  In some cases, particularly if large amounts of soil are being imported, or if the origin of the soil is not well documented, the University requires that the soil importer provide a description of the soil source, sampling plan, and laboratory analytical results. The project manager should develop a soil import plan with EH&S prior to the project commencing.

Q: Do I have to sample soil excavated from my project?
A:

Soil sampling is required for most excavation projects to assess worker safety and determine disposal requirements.  The University has a legal responsibility to verify that we do not haul contaminated soil from the campus or give away pollution if present.  Campus Project Managers must coordinate with EH&S prior to beginning excavation to establish a soil sampling and management plan.

Q: What are my options for disposing of unwanted excavated soil?
A:

If the project generates excess soil that cannot be managed on site, there are a few basic options that depend on what is in the soil:

Non-hazardous soil:

If the material is clean, it may be reused at another campus project location, brokered to a non-University off-site construction site, or disposed of at a municipal (sanitary) landfill where it is usually used as landfill cover.

Contaminated soil:

If soil contains contamination such as asbestos, lead paint or other metals, PCBs or petroleum at concentrations that exceeds regulatory limits, it must be disposed of at an appropriate disposal facility, usually a hazardous waste landfill.

General answers

Q: Who prepares submittals to the agency for a permit ?
A:

You have one of two options:

  • Option #1:  The contractor may prepare and submit the required documents and fees to the authorizing agency.  Copies of submittal must be forwarded to EH&S.  However, you must always include EH&S involvement prior to any submission of environmental regulatory forms.  Permits must be issued to the University as the official property owner. Note! All permits must be filed identifying the University as the property owner.
  • Option #2:  EH&S can prepare the submittal.  EH&S submits the application to the authorizing agency and forwards copies to the contractor and Project Manager.

Lab Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT) answers

Q: Questions about your hazard assessment or LHAT?
A:
  • If you are a PI and have concerns about the activities that will be performed in your lab, please consult with your campus EH&S office.
  • If you are a Lab Worker and have concerns about the activities that will be performed in your lab, please discuss with your PI directly, and consult with your campus EH&S office, as needed.
  • If you have questions about the LHAT system, please contact the UC ERM Service Desk
Q: What is the role of the Delegate?
A:

The Delegate acts on behalf of the PI to manage the list of lab members and complete the hazard assessment. The Delegate should be knowledgeable about what types of work are done and hazards are present in the lab. Most PIs choose their lab manager or lab safety contact to be the Delegate. There can be more than one delegate.

Can I do everything a PI does?

Once assigned as a Delegate by your PI, you have access to all PI functionality except certifying the hazard assessment and adding lab groups.

The Delegate is generally the lab safety contact who the PI believes can accurately assess the PI’s lab hazards on their behalf.

Q: What is the role of the Lab Worker?
A:

Once added by their PI/Delegate, Lab Workers receive an email invitation to register with the LHAT. They log in and review their hazard assessment and list of recommended PPE. They make an appointment for a PPE fitting, print out their voucher and bring it to their PPE fitting appointment.

How does a worker get their name added to the LHAT?

All lab member names listed in the Labs @ Berkeley (L@B) roster tool will be loaded automatically in the LHAT at the end of each day. Lab Workers can wait for the email invitation from LHAT or they can search for their PI’s last name in the LHAT. Once they have confirmed they are part of the lab by logging in, they can review the hazard assessment, complete the short PPE video training and quiz, and print their PPE voucher.

Q: What is the role of a Principal Investigator (PI)?
A:

PIs must begin the LHAT process for their research group by logging in to the LHAT; they can choose to do the hazard assessment themselves or assign a delegate to do it. After all hazard assessment questions are answered, the PI certifies that the LHAT is complete. This gives lab members access to the list of recommended PPE.

What can only the PI do?

  • "Add a lab group" – it’s common for some lab members to do work that is different from what other members of the group do and they might need different PPE. For example a chemistry research group with some members who do BSL-2 tissue culture work. Each lab group – the main group and the "added" group – will need their own hazard assessment.
  • "Appoint a Delegate" – this will allow another lab member to do the hazard assessment on behalf of the PI.
  • "Certify the hazard assessment" - This will complete the LHAT process and assign PPE.

**Without PI certification, no one can receive their lab safety attire**

How do I add a lab group?

From the “Dashboard” page click on “Create Hazard Assessment”, then “Add a Lab Group” in the blue menu bar at the top of the page.

Permanent changes to the LHAT roster should be made in the online Labs @ Berkeley (L@B) roster tool, as well as to the LHAT roster. Names listed in the L@B roster tool are regularly loaded into, but not deleted from, the “main” lab group in the LHAT.  Rosters for “Added” lab groups have to be updated manually.

Who will have access to my hazard assessment?

Only you, your lab members, and EH&S will have access to your lab’s hazard assessment.

Q: What is the LHAT?
A:

The Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT) is a web-based application that enables researchers to identify hazards in their labs/research areas. When completed it provides a list of personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for lab members to wear when working with hazardous materials/processes.

Q: How do I access the LHAT?
A:

Students and Employees (PIs, graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates)

Access the LHAT system by entering your campus email. You will be immediately directed to the UC Berkeley authentication service. Then log in using your CalNet ID and password.

Not a Student or Employee (volunteers, LBL employees, most visiting scholars)

To access the LHAT securely, you must have a campus-assigned Single Sign-On username and password. For this, you must request a CalNet affiliate account. To request an affiliate account, please refer to these instructions.

Once you have set up your CalNet affiliate account, Access the LHAT system by entering your campus-assigned email. You will be immediately directed to the UC Berkeley authentication service. Then log in using your CalNet ID and password.

Suggested Browsers

LHAT does not work well with Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. Please use the latest version of one of the following browsers when using LHAT:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox

Lab Decommissioning answers

Q: What should I know if workers or contractors are modifying or remodeling my space?
A:

Proper evaluation of materials to be disturbed should be conducted by EH&S. Many hazards exist within building materials themselves or may be impacted with chemical or biological residue, depending on the space history, and must be disclosed to all workers who may disturb or work in the space.

Plumbing and piping also have a high potential for chemical residue, especially mercury.  It is pertinent that EH&S assist in the evaluation of spaces before remodeling or utility work occurs.

Contact EH&S for more information.

Q: How do I get furniture, equipment or lab instrumentation moved?
A:

Some equipment and instruments require the manufacturer or vendor to disconnect and reconnect equipment along with potentially moving the equipment.

Furniture and some shop or lab equipment can be moved by the campus’ professional moving service.

Q: How are chemicals relocated or disposed during decommissioning?
A:

Chemicals will have to be moved or removed by a qualified contractor managed by EH&S. It’s possible that EH&S can help move small amounts of chemicals, but will have to be determined.

Chemical transportation is regulated by US Department of Transportation standards and must never be conducted with personal vehicles or department/campus vehicles.

Chemical disposal requires EH&S signatures. Signing disposal manifests by unapproved personnel is a legal violation resulting in citations from the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Q: How do I properly clean a lab or shop for deactivation?
A:

Lab and shop deactivation is dependent on the history of work or research conducted in the space.

Chemical decontamination of spaces and equipment may be done by the following personnel:

  • Laboratory supervisors, researchers, or investigators who can effectively disinfect the equipment themselves and provide certification by signing EH&S’ Facilities/Equipment Decontamination Clearance Certification.
  • Hazardous Materials contractors approved to provide such services to the campus, managed by EH&S under current contracts.

Biosafety cabinets will require fumigation or other disinfection techniques by a specialized contractor approved to do such work under our Biosafety program.

Q: My lab or shop is moving, what I do I need to do in order to properly vacate?
A:

Contact EH&S as soon as possible for planning to vacate a laboratory or shop space. Vacating technical workspaces may require furniture, equipment, and chemical moves along with cleaning and chemical inventory updates.

In general, equipment and items for relocation need to be free of contamination before moving, giving to Excess or discarding. Laboratories, shops, etc. also need to be cleaned prior to re-occupancy.

You can read the Laboratory and Shop Move Manual for more information.