Chemical Safety

Chemical PPE

The Laboratory Chemical Safety program provides guidance to University of Louisville faculty, staff, and students on the safe use of chemical agents in research and clinical activities. The program is based on current government regulations, guidelines, and best practices and is committed to ensuring chemical, personal, and environmental safety.

Principal Investigators have primary responsibility for implementation of University policies and procedures. The Chemical Hygiene Plan is a requirement by OSHA for laboratories using hazardous chemicals. Each faculty/Principal Investigator must complete the Chemical Hygiene Plan and upload it to his or her BioRAFT lab page.

Direct questions regarding the Laboratory Chemical Safety Program to DEHS (502-852-6670). Chemical use in non-laboratory settings is regulated under the OSHA Hazard Communication standard.

Chemical Hygiene Plan

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires laboratories using hazardous chemicals to develop and implement a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). This plan must include provisions for protecting employees from the health hazards associated with chemicals in the laboratory and maintaining employee exposure to chemicals below the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s).

The OSHA Lab Standard defines the basic elements of a Chemical Hygiene Plan. University-wide procedures address many of these elements. The Chemical Safety section of the Laboratory Safety Manual contains many general safety procedures for chemical laboratories.

However, because of the diverse nature of the teaching, research, and clinical programs at the University of Louisville, general procedures cannot address all potential chemical hazards. Each laboratory unit is required to complete additional elements of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. These lab-specific elements, combined with the Chemical Safety section of the Lab Safety Manual, comprise a comprehensive Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Requirements for Annual Review

The Faculty/Principal Investigator should review the following items at least annually:

  • Chemical Hygiene Plan: review and update if necessary, particularly internal lab responsibilities, operations/procedures requiring prior approval, and SDS.
  • Chemical Inventory: delete items that are no longer available in the lab, add new items to the inventory.
  • Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) for highly hazardous chemicals: assure that existing SOPs are up to date and that an SOP is available for each highly hazardous chemical in use.


ChemTracker Chemical Inventory

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires that each laboratory maintains an accurate inventory of hazardous chemicals. These inventories are critical for regulatory purposes, but they also allow emergency responders to know what chemicals to expect in an area during an emergency. To address the need for an accessible centralized chemical inventory system, the University of Louisville has enabled the SciShield ChemTracker inventory module. This module integrates with existing SciShield lab profiles and provides a variety of tools to track and reconcile hazardous chemical inventories.

A big thank you and shout out to Simone Houng at the University of Maryland for organizing these instructions and the FAQ!

Upcoming live training sessions:
   - TBD

Email to reserve a spot!

Initial Instructions

The ChemTracker module will appear in the top row of tabs on your lab profile. Initial inventories can be uploaded in bulk by sending your inventory in Excel or by using the UL ChemTracker Import Sheet below. DEHS will coordinate this upload. Individual chemicals can be added, edited, and deleted within the module as needed.

Whether you are using your own Excel sheet or the Import Sheet template, be sure to include the following required information for each chemical:

  • CAS number and Chemical Name - at least one of these must be given for each container
  • Building Name and Room Number where chemical is located
  • Amount (container size plus unit of measure, and number of containers)

Email your updated Excel inventory or completed Import Sheet to You inventory will be uploaded in the next bulk import window and you will be notified when it is available in your profile.


How to Use ChemTracker
- ChemTracker PI Quick Start Guide


ChemTracker allows UofL to meet regulatory requirements by OSHA and NFPA by ensuring that all labs have current chemical inventories and allowing for tracking of aggregate building quantities. With this information, we can organize more effective emergency responses, enhance hazard communication, and highlight higher hazard chemicals for improved handling and storage.

For labs, having a digital inventory accessible to multiple lab members decreases manual manipulation of spreadsheets and reduces loss of data when members move or leave lab. ChemTracker includes a reconciliation tool that can be used to update your chemical inventory on an annual basis.

From an environmental sustainability and cose reduction standpoint, maintaining accurate inventories reduces excess ordering and help keep track of excess chemicals in storage.

It is mandatory for every lab to maintain an inventory of hazardous chemicals in ChemTracker. In the past, DEHS has allowed the use of other tracking systems, but having the information in ChemTracker will greatly improve our ability to quickly provide emergency responders with the information they need.

Any chemical that poses a physical, environmental, or health hazard. If the container displays one of the GHS hazard pictograms, it should be included in the inventory. Please include all compressed gases, even if it is just air. Controlled substances and toxins should also be included.

Products with no chemical hazard (such as water, growth media, sugars and salts, amino acids, glass beads. Although it is not mandatory to include these materials, you may choose to use ChemTracker to track them.

Chemical waste should also not be included in your inventory.

Novel compounds that are synthesized in lab should be added to the ChemTracker inventory if there are known hazards associated with them. These compounds will likely not be in the SciShield database but can be added as an 'unlinked' chemical. Hazard and safety information can be manual entered for unlinked chemicals.

You do not need to measure remaining quantity after each use. For the purposes of the ChemTracker inventory, use the quantity that was purchased from the vendor. When the container is empty, it can be removed from the inventory.

Chemical inventories should be updated as chemicals and hazards enter and exit the lab. A full inventory review should be done once a year. The ChemTracker module has a reconciliation tool to facilitate this process.

Unwanted or expired chemicals should be submitted through Chematix, our online hazardous waste management system.

Your ChemTracker inventory is accessible to only you, your group compliance liaisons (lab managers), and DEHS. You may also grant edit permissions to anyone in your SciShield lab member list.

If you need help in determining this, or have any other questions about the ChemTracker module, please reach out to DEHS (502-852-6670).

Chemical Storage and Management

Use the following general guidelines when handling any chemical.

  • Know the location of safety shower/eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and spill kits.
  • Conduct procedures involving hazardous volatile chemicals in a functioning chemical hood.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment and remove it before leaving the workspace.
  • Do not launder lab coats at home. Consult with PI for information on lab coat services.
  • Always wash hands when removing gloves and especially before leaving the laboratory.

The Chemical Segregation and Storage Guide provides information on properly storing chemicals based on compatibility/hazard class. Only store cleaning or disinfectant products underneath sinks.

The Lab Safety Manual contains information regarding chemical hazards classes, specific hazardous chemicals, labeling guidelines, storage guidelines, handling guidelines, chemical hood guidelines, and other important information.


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