Frequently Asked Questions - Lab & Chemical Safety

  • How do I label my chemical waste?

    Chemical waste containers must be labeled before you start adding waste to the container. Print the label from EHSA following these instructions.

  • What is an SDS?

    SDS stands for Safety Data Sheets, formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets. SDSs are formal documents that contains important information about the characteristics and actual or potential hazards of the product.  SDSs also include important spill and emergency response information.  It is always a good idea to review the SDS for a material or chemical before using it!

  • Can I ship my own materials?

    EHS personnel must ship your materials to ensure all regulations are adhered to. The penalties for failing to ship properly include fines for Georgia Tech and yourself, as well as possible criminal charges. For more information please visit the Chemical Shipping page.

  • What time do I need to have my shipment to EHS in order for the shipment to go out the same day?

    All shipments must be received no later than 12:00pm in order to have the shipment go out the same day.  Schedule your shipping appointment using this web form: https://ehs.gatech.edu/shipping/request

  • My fume hood is not working. What should I do?

    Contact EHS: lab-chemsafety@gatech.edu and an EHS professional will make the appropriate assessment of the next steps.

  • Who do I contact if I feel I need a respirator?

    EHS oversees the Respiratory Protection Program on campus and can determine if respiratory protection is needed.  Please see our website for more information and email us with your concerns.

  • What operating height does my sash have to be on the fume hood?

    Fume hoods should be operated with the sash at 18". Please remember to close the sash when the hood is not in use.

  • I have a full glass disposal box. Who should I contact to pick it up?

    Glass disposal boxes must be disposed of by lab personnel. Once the box is 3/4 full, tape the glass disposal lid onto the box and take the glass disposal to the appropriate waste disposal area.

  • How do I document my corrective actions for my lab inspection?

    All lab inspection corrective actions must be documented in EHSA following these instructions. If you are having any problems with EHSA, please email us with as much detail as possible.

  • Can chemicals with high toxicity be used on open benchtops?

    Chemicals with high toxicity are to only be used in properly ventilated spaces, such as a chemical fume hood.  Please contact lab-chemsafety@gatech.edu if you need a risk assessment or process evaluation completed for a highly toxic material.

  • What does PPE mean?

    PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. PPE refers to the clothing or equipment that is designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. Please see the PPE page for more information.

  • How often should I be checking the fire extinguishers in my lab?

    Fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly by lab personnel.  The reverse side of the tag should contain an area for this monthly check to be documented.  Checks include physical condition of the fire extinguisher (i.e. no visible damage to cylinder or hose); presence of the pin in the handle; a plastic tab that has not been broken (indicating that It’s been discharged); and finally, a check of the gauge (if present) to verify it is not over- or under-charged.

  • How often should I be checking the safety shower in my lab?

    Safety showers that do not have a drain must be inspected at least annually by Facilities Management. Safety showers that are drained should additionally be checked annually by lab personnel.  EHS encourages lab personnel to check these themselves as often as possible if there is equipment and personnel to do so regardless of the presence of a drain!

  • What can I wear to lab?

    Your safety in the lab starts at what you wear to lab. Below are some of the basic requirements:

    • Long hair must be tied back
    • Long pants that cover to the ankle
      • Shorts and skirts not allowed
      • Pants that are frayed or torn are not recommended.
    • Shirts that cover your torso are required
      • Crop tops are not allowed.
    • Natural fibers are recommended because they are fire resistant
    • Nylons (aka pantyhose), Leggings, Jeggings are not recommended
    • Canvas shoes, open front or back shoes, open weave shoes, ballet flats, Crocs with holes are not allowed.
      • The best shoes for lab work completely enclose the foot and can be wiped clean.
  • What do I need to bring with me to my chemical shipment appointment?

    This information can be found in detail on the Chemical Shipping page. To summarize, on the day of shipment, bring the following to EHS:

    1. Material in a secure and sealed inner container, which should be secured in secondary containment (a Ziploc bag is sufficient for small quantities)
    2. Dry Ice, if applicable
    3. Safety information, such as an SDS, if applicable
    4. All completed paperwork
  • I need to have my lab coat laundered. How do I do this and who can I call?

    CINTAS currently provides this service for campus. You can reach them at 617-838-1208 or via email KiddM@cintas.com for more information, or explore their website.

  • Are GT Emergency Procedures required to be posted in the lab?

    GT Emergency Procedures are required to be posted on the interior of all lab exit doors. It must be filled out in its entirety. You can order the poster via EHSA, using the Barcode Request feature. This feature offers variety of lab-safety items, helping to improve the lab safety in your lab.

  • How do I reconcile my chemicals?

    Follow the instructions here in the EHSA User Handbook.

  • What lab and chemical safety trainings do I need to take and how frequently?

    The trainings that are required vary based on what materials you're working with, and all courses require a refresher periodically. See the Chemical Safety Training page for more details.

  • What is a hazardous chemical?

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines a hazardous chemical as "any chemical which is a physical or a health hazard".

  • How often do I have to reconcile my chemicals?

    Laboratories, facilities maintenance areas, and all GT areas in which chemicals are used or stored are required to reconcile chemicals semi-annually (deadlines: June and December). EHS submits the GT Campus Inventory Report to the Board of Regents shortly after (as required by Georgia law). First responders use the GT campus inventory to assess the situation in the case of an emergency.   Please see the EHSA page for more information.

  • Who do I contact to pick up chemical waste?

    The EHS Hazardous Waste Office picks up all chemical waste. Submit a waste pickup request via EHSA.

  • Can flammable materials be stored in refrigerators?

    Flammable materials can only be stored in flammable-safe refrigerators or explosion-proof refrigerators. Flammable materials cannot be stored in conventional refrigerators. Electrical sparks from a conventional refrigerator can ignite flammable vapors that build up inside.

  • I don’t have a computer with internet in my lab. How can I reconcile?

    You can use a laptop, tablet, your smartphone etc. Your school may also have laptops or tablets to loan. Reconciliation process on other devices follows the same procedural steps to working with your stationery computer.

    1. Pair the scanner with your device (if you use the EHS scanner, go to Bluetooth option and “add a new device”).
    2. Open the reconciliation EHSA page on your device.
    3. Start reconciliation process on your device like you would do on your computer. Remember about clicking in the barcode field before starting scanning.
  • Can I wear headphones in the lab?

    Headphones or earbuds are not permitted in the lab. You must be able to hear what is going on around you. Other forms of music/radio may be played in the lab but nothing requiring the use of headphones.

  • How much flammable and combustible materials can I have in my area?

    No more than 120 gallons of Class I, Class II, and Class IIIA liquids, combined, may be stored in a storage cabinet.  Of this total, no more than 60 gallons may be of Class I and Class II liquids, combined, and not more than three such cabinets may be in a single fire compartment area. (i.e., a room that is separated from other rooms/areas by fire walls). Please refer to the Lab Safety Manual, under "Flammable and Combustible Liquids" then "Flammable Storage Lockers and Refrigerators" for more information.

  • I ran out of chemical inventory barcodes. How do I get more?

    The GT inventory barcodes can be ordered via the Barcode Request feature on our EHSA. Submit the order via EHSA and your barcodes will be delivered to your lab.

  • Can I use my scanner to reconcile, or can I borrow one from EHS?

    All Voyagers used with Chematix should work with EHSA. They Voyagers do not have a very long range, so sometimes do not reach from your computer to your chemical storage area. EHS offers loaner Bluetooth scanners with a range up to 50 feet.

    All EHS scanners are loaned with a Bluetooth dongle. It works similarly to your wireless mouse, connecting the scanner to your computer. You only need a USB port. After receiving our loaner combo (scanner + Bluetooth dongle), download the software from the CD (Bluetooth dongle box), pair the scanner with a computer (follow the scanner instruction book), and start reconciling

  • What is EHSA?

    EHSA is the database used to track chemicals at Georgia Tech. Please see our EHSA page for more information.

  • How often should I be checking the eyewash in my lab?

    Eyewash units that are located on sinks must be checked weekly by lab personnel. For those not located on sinks, they must be checked annually.