Explore UAB


Contact EH&S

(205) 934-2487

If you have been trained on the new EHSA software for managing chemicals, the information below is no longer applicable. Please refer to the EHSA tab for guidelines via the EHSA Handbook. All others please continue to refer to the information below until directed otherwise..

Login to the Chemical Inventory System

Instructions and Guides
Instructions for using the chemical inventory program
UAB & EH&S CAS Numbers
Making Sense Out of Chemical Storage

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety is starting the implementation of a campus-wide chemical inventory system to track hazardous chemicals. The system utilizes bar codes and features a web-based interface. This will allow researchers, laboratory staff and other chemical users to track chemicals on-hand, will aid EH&S with regulatory agency reporting, and will provide emergency responders with accurate information on the chemical hazards present within an area should an incident occur.

We understand that some areas use large amounts of commercial products or may use chemicals that are mixtures that need to be inventoried. These items may not have a CAS# or they may have more than one CAS# associated with them. We have created UAB and EH&S numbers for these items to input into the CAS# field on the Chemical Inventory System. Should you find that the chemical/product you are looking for is not present on our list of created UAB and EH&S numbers please contact EH&S at 934-2487.

Most chemicals will need to be entered into the inventory, but except the following:


  • Consumer products such as cleaning agents; contact EH&S regarding chlorine bleach. Large quantities need to be inventoried.
  • Sugars and non-hazardous buffer salts
  • Amino acids
  • Materials of biological origin except for toxins
  • Dilutions made by laboratory staff
  • Culture media, agar and broth
  • Latex paint
  • Printer inks and toner
  • Microorganisms
  • Research samples

EH&S staff will be meeting with departmental staff to discuss the program's use and features. To make this transition easier, EH&S will perform the initial inventory in each laboratory. We are asking that unwanted and expired chemicals be disposed and any excessive clutter be removed before the inventory takes place to make the process as safe and efficient as possible. Here are some guidelines for lab staff:

Preparing for the initial chemical inventory

EH&S staff will be conducting the initial chemical inventory in your lab. In order to make this process as safe and efficient as possible, we are asking that laboratory personnel make some basic preparations.
  • Discard all chemicals that are no longer useful to your research, expired (or more than 5 years old), or degraded – look for crystals, phase separation, container damage. Properly pack these chemicals and complete a Hazardous Waste Manifest to have them picked up.
  • Ensure that any spills or other contamination are cleaned up properly – pay particular attention to cabinets and refrigerators.
  • Check that chemicals in freezers are not frozen together or stuck to the sides or shelves.
  • Ensure that materials to be inventoried are in their proper storage location.
  • Ensure that chemicals have legible and appropriate labels – the ChemWatch system can be used to print a GHS compliant label if the original container label is damaged or inadequate. Structures and abbreviations of chemical names are not appropriate as the sole indicator of a chemical's identity.
  • Place signs or communicate directly with the personnel who are conducting the inventory if there are sensitive or potentially hazardous procedures in progress.
  • Ensure that there is a clean counter space for sorting and marking of chemical containers.
  • Set aside a location for staging of containers that may need to be relabeled or packed as waste.
  • Make sure aisles are clear and that there is good access to all chemical storage locations.

At the time of inventory

Tell the inventory staff if you would like specifically labeled sub-locations for your materials - EH&S only requires the building and room, but we can list by shelves, cabinets, etc.
  • Chemical containers will be barcoded and returned to their original location after being entered into the Chemical Management System.
  • Containers that are damaged, unlabeled, or expired will not be entered and will be moved to the designated location for disposal.
  • Chemicals in locations that show signs of gross leakage or contamination will not be entered and the materials will be marked for disposal as waste.
  • Most chemicals in their original containers will be inventoried. Buffers, dilutions and cleaning products will not be included in the inventory.
  • You will be given a supply of preprinted barcode labels to use for chemicals purchased in the future. When you need additional labels contact EH&S at 934-2487.
During the initial inventory additional bar code labels will be distributed so that new materials can be added. For additional labels, please contact EH&S at 934-2487.

Maintaining Your Chemical Inventory

One of the most underestimated processes in labs is also one of the most critical, and that is managing an up-to-date chemical inventory system.
Once EH&S completes the initial chemical inventory, it is up to the individual laboratories to maintain it.

Features of the UAB Chemical Inventory System

  1. Search your chemical inventory by name, CAS number, barcode number
  2. Add or Edit the information for any of your chemicals in your inventory:
    • There are many optional fields that you may include information about your chemical, storage location descriptions
  3. Have immediate access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS):
    • We are working on this and will be available soon.
How to Keep an Up-to-Date Chemical Inventory?

  1. New Chemicals entering the lab
    It is the responsibility of the lab to enter each chemical coming to the lab into the database by utilizing a barcode system. Barcodes are provided by EH&S and the Chemical Inventory Instructions explains the simple and easy process of updating your inventory.
  2. Removing used/expired chemicals
    When chemicals on your inventory expire, you must remove them first from the inventory before manifesting as hazardous waste. Similarly if the bottle is completely used up, remove the item from the inventory first and dispose the bottle by following EH&S guidelines.
  3. Redistributing/sharing chemicals with other labs or moving to another location
    It makes perfect sense for labs to redistribute chemicals if a project ends or that particular chemical no longer needed (Funding agency regulations must be followed at all times when it comes to redistributing). Since a unique bar code specific to a location and PI adheres to every chemical container, it is very important not to move chemicals to another location without first deleting them from your inventory and adding to the inventory of the receiving lab. Barcodes make it easier to track inventory by taking away almost all manual input. Each chemical will be set up in the system one time. On the user end, when a chemical is going to another lab, users only have to follow instructions contained within Chemical Inventory Instruction manual.
    Lab closing/disposal
    Should your lab close or move for some reason, please do not leave any chemicals for the next person moving into the space. If you no longer want the chemicals in your chemical inventory it is required that you follow the procedure in the above paragraph, should another PI want them, or manifest the chemicals out as hazardous waste.
Chemicals Required To Be in the Inventory

All hazardous chemicals with an NFPA rating of a 2 or above need to be included in the inventory.

General rule of thumb, if a chemical has any GHS pictogram or the diamond on the chemical has a 2 in any section, it should be added to your chemical inventory.

Examples of Items Required to be in the Inventory:
  • Flammable/Combustible liquids
  • Flammable solids
  • Corrosives
  • DHS chemicals of interest (COI)
  • Diesel fuel
  • Toxic or poisonous chemicals
  • Liquefied gases
  • Gasoline and Kerosene
  • Reactive or unstable materials
  • Solvents
Examples of Items Not Required to be in the Inventory:
  • Reagent working solutions
  • Radioactive materials
  • Biological materials
  • Non-hazardous buffers
  • Growth media
  • Enzyme preparations

Proper storage of chemicals

Chemicals need to be stored according to hazard class to prevent unwanted reactions in case of fire or other emergency. Flammable liquids in quantities greater than 10 gallons must be stored in flammable storage cabinets. Acids and bases must be stored separately and oxidizers need to be stored away from organic materials that could react to cause a fire. Here are some additional links to guidelines for proper chemical storage:
Making Sense Out of Chemical Storage
EPA Chemical Segregation Chart