Chemical Safety

Ensuring the safe and compliant use of chemicals on campus.

Flammable Liquid Transfer Guidelines

Step 1 - What is the liquid you plan to transfer?

Determine the flashpoint of the liquid:

Flashpoint/Boiling point CFC classification GHS classification Examples <73°F(23°C)/<100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IA Flammable liquid, Category 1 Ether, pentane <73°F(23°C)/>100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IB Flammable liquid, Category 2 Acetone, ethanol, isopropanol, gasoline, methanol, toluene 73°F(23°C) - 100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IC Flammable...

How are chemicals relocated or disposed during decommissioning?

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.

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

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...

Fume Hoods (Fact Sheet)

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2008

One of the most important safety devices in a laboratory is a properly functioning fume hood. The fume hood protects users by containing and exhausting airborne hazards; it does this by constantly pulling room air into the hood and exhausting it from the roof. Fume hood sashes also provide shielding in the event of an explosion or fire inside the hood.

Eyewear - Protecting Your Eyes Fact Sheet

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2006

More than 90,000 eye injuries occur each year in the United States. Many of these could have been prevented with proper protective eyewear. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) requires that protective eyewear be worn wherever there is the potential for injury from flying particles, hazardous substances, or dangerous light. The eyewear must meet the standards put forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in Standard Z87.1-1989. Safety eyewear that meets this standard has “Z87.1” imprinted on the frame or lens. Since eye hazards are common...

Safe Storage of Hazardous Chemicals Guide

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2020

The safe storage of hazardous chemicals is an essential part of an environmental, health, and safety program. Chemical storage facilities must meet certain minimum standards to satisfy diverse regulations, such as those of Cal/OSHA, the local sanitary district, and the California Fire Code. This manual provides guidelines to help you meet these standards.

Why do I have to test my emergency eyewash?

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...

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

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.

Guidelines for Explosive and Potentially Explosive Chemicals: Safe Storage and Handling

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

Potentially Explosive Chemicals (PECs) include peroxidizable organic chemicals which oxidize, dry out, or otherwise destabilize over time. Examples include isopropyl ether, sodium amide, and picric acid. Old or mismanaged chemicals and can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of laboratory personnel, emergency responders, building occupants, and chemical waste handlers.

For additional information, contact Andrew Fletcher at (510) 643-9254 or andrew.fletcher@berkeley.edu

Corrosives (Acids and Bases)

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2011

Acids and bases are some of the most common hazardous chemicals used in laboratories. They are useful in an array of different experiments, but caution must be used while working with these corrosive compounds. Whether the compound is on the extreme high or low end on the pH scale, proper steps must be taken to ensure your safety. This fact sheet provides information that should be incorporated into – or referenced in – written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for laboratory processes that use corrosives.