Important: New UC Chemical Inventory Requirements

March 20, 2024

In response to a directive from the UC Office of the President on December 15, 2023, Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) will be working closely with campus departments to establish appropriate practices for both initial tagging and ongoing maintenance of chemical inventories as part of multiyear implementation of UCOP’s Chemical Storage MAQ Task Force Report Recommendations. EH&S will be working with all campus locations that use hazardous chemicals, including labs, shops, and storage areas, to tag and scan all chemicals into RSS Chemicals, the systemwide chemical inventory database.

Background and Purpose

The California Fire Code sets requirements for Maximum Allowable Quantities (MAQ) of hazardous materials to ensure amounts used and stored within buildings do not pose fire and life threats to occupants and emergency responders. The university will need to conduct an analysis of MAQ levels in all buildings across campus, which will depend on complete and accurate chemical inventories. EH&S is partnering with a third-party vendor, Triumvirate, to provide additional staffing and project support to this campuswide effort. 

What to Expect

Over the next two years, EH&S and Triumvirate will reach out to labs, shops, and other department units to coordinate details and preparation for tagging, and to answer questions. Each group will have the opportunity to work with EH&S and Triumvirate to determine the most appropriate process for their unique chemical inventories. 

  • Chemical tagging procedures will involve placing unique tags on each chemical container and storage location to account for the container’s contents, including hazards, quantity, and physical state. 

  • EH&S will coordinate the initial application of chemical tags, however, labs and facilities/shops will be responsible for maintaining accurate inventories on an ongoing basis. After initial setup, all campus locations will be expected to tag all new incoming chemicals, remove tags on all empty containers or containers leaving the lab, and note all inventory updates on RSS Chemicals.

  • Labs and units will be able to dispose of unwanted chemicals free of charge during the MAQ project rollout, as part of an amnesty program. Going forward, labs and units will no longer be charged for routine disposal of hazardous waste; however, there may be charges if the disposal is deemed ‘excessive’ (definition to be determined).  

We recognize that this project will impact laboratory, research, and teaching operations. EH&S looks forward to working with PIs, supervisors, and managers to accomplish it in the least disruptive manner possible. Improving the accuracy of chemical inventories by using tags for each chemical container will help reduce safety risks, help ensure regulatory compliance, and make it easier for inventory users to reference and manage their chemical inventories. 

Thank you in advance for your time, cooperation, and your role in fostering health and safety across the campus community.

For more information about this initiative and chemical safety, visit the EH&S website. If you have any questions or comments, please use this submission form