Chemical safety

Chemical safety 

Visit the UW Environmental Health & Safety page on chemical safety for additional information.


Chemical Exchange Programbeaker full of different colored chemicals

The Chemical Exchange program allows MyChem users to share unused chemical inventory to save money and reduce waste. The Chemical Exchange allows you to search for available chemicals or chemical products in MyChem inventories, and save money and reduce waste. You can flag chemicals in your own inventory to share with others at the University. Hundreds of chemicals are waiting to be exchanged. For more information on Chemical Exchange visit the Chemical Exchange webpage.


Chemical Hazard Communication (HazCom)

Individuals who work with or near hazardous substances need to be aware of the identity, potential physical and health hazards, and the safe work practices that can minimize exposure. To assure individual health and safety, and meet regulatory requirements, the UW developed the Chemical Hazard Communication (HazCom) Program to address how to classify chemical hazards, and communicate the hazards and safeguards required to protect individuals from exposure to those hazards.

  • The HazCom Program applies to all University employees, students and visitors at all University locations including the Seattle campus, UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and all other University-owned property, University-leased space, and field locations under the control of University operations and staff where chemicals are used, transported, stored or manufactured.
  • EH&S Bothell can help you with training, recommended PPE for specific areas, SDS inventory and training through MyChem
    • Be familiar with GHS standard labels, parts of SDS sheets, PPE signals, SDS retention times
  • For your responsibilities in the HazCom Program, please refer to UW HazCom responsibilities list

Chemical standard operating procedure templates & guidelines

If you operate a chemical laboratory as defined in Washington Administrative Code 296-828, Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, you must have standard operating procedures (SOPs) that describe the safety measures you require when using chemicals. Please see Section 6 of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual for more information about SOPs.

  • To assist you in writing SOPs, a blank SOP form (Word) and example SOPs are provided for you to use or to modify to your specific location and procedures and use. An SOP can address a single chemical, a group of similar chemicals, or a process. Any format of SOP is acceptable provided the minimum safety elements are addressed. The minimum safety elements are found on the following checklist: SOP Required Elements Checklist (Word).

Chemical spills in laboratories

Be prepared with proper training, cleanup supplies and personal protective equipment to manage spills easily and safely. If you work with chemicals, you will probably have a chemical spill at some point. Your safety, and the safety of others, depends on your assessment and response.

  • Are you prepared and ready? It’s not a matter of if but when a spill will happen. Ask yourself these questions.
  • Order a spill kit, know how to use it and when to replace items.
  • How trained are you? If you’re unsure and uncomfortable with a cleanup, call for help. Facilities: 425-352-5466,  Campus Safety: 425-352-5359

Hazardous chemical waste disposal

It is your responsibility to know the procedures for handling and disposing of hazardous chemical waste. EH&S is responsible for the collection of hazardous waste for the University, including all campuses and off-site locations. Hazardous chemical waste is defined as any liquid, gaseous, or solid chemical that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic, or persistent, and is no longer useful or wanted. According to Administrative Policy Statement 11.2, organizational units and departments cannot contract with an outside vendor to collect hazardous waste.

  • If you have a request for Chemical waste collection, please do so here.
  • For more information please contact UW Environmental Programs @ 206-685-2849 or visit UW waste disposal website.

MyChem & SDS documents

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are documents that describe the physical and health hazards of chemicals or chemical-containing products and must be readily accessible to employees during all work shifts when these products are present in the work environment. EH&S maintains a centralized library of SDSs in the online MyChem database for your use. SDSs are added to the central collection as employees inventory their chemicals in MyChem.

  • SDSs are accessible in MyChem to anyone with a UWNetID. Users with established inventory accounts can view SDSs from their inventory.
  • Enter MyChem Here

 d.jpgThe following services are provided through MyChem:

  • Chemical inventory tracking
  • SDS library
  • Chemical exchange
  • Chemical waste collection
  • Print customized caution sign

Reference links