Frequently Asked Questions - Lab & Chemical Safety

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What is Chematix?

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

  • 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 fume hood.

  • 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 garbage.

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

    Email your area facilities maintenance team in order to submit a work order for the fume hood.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    Safety showers that do not have a drain must be inspected annually by Facilities Management. Safety showers that are drained must be checked annually by lab personnel.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Who do I call to pick up chemical waste?

    The EHS Hazardous Waste Office picks up all chemical waste. Here are details on how to submit a waste request.

  • 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
  • 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 bi-annually (June and December). Please see the Chematix page for more information.

  • 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.

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

    Fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly by lab personnel.

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

    Email us with the following:

    • Your lab location
    • What size barcode you need (large or small)
    • The amount of barcodes needed
  • How do I label my chemical waste?

    Chemical waste containers must be labeled before you start adding waste to the container. The label must contain the following:

    • Name and phone number of the responsible individual
    • Contents: chemical names and approximate percentages
  • 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.

  • I need to have my lab coat laundered. How do I do this and who can I call?

    G&K Services currently provides this service for campus. You can reach them at 404-349-2863 for more information, or explore their website.

  • 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.

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

    Please email us with your concerns.

  • 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".

  • 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.