Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 09:19:23 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: David Roberts <droberts**At_Symbol_Here**DEPAUW.EDU>
Subject: Re: access to chemical stockroom
In-Reply-To: <OF0E9F4803.6B6FC3A7-ON8625781C.0047C772-8625781C.0048E6C6**At_Symbol_Here**>

Good day all,

Here we have open access to everything (most everything - a few are locked up due to regs, only I can get to them).  We don't log things, they just come, get what they need, and take it wherever they need to go.  We don't have a huge department, so if they take something I need, I can generally find it.  Also, I know what everybody is doing research wise, so I typically know which chemicals they will remove.

I use a barcode system for tracking.  When they take it without writing it down, it does change our inventory a little bit, but we usually catch it when we do a reinventory (go out in labs and scan everything in the room - not too hard really and very reliable).  We do reinventory at least once per year.  Even with a barcode scanner and every possible convenience available - our inventory is never better than 98% accurate (but it's good I feel, about as good as one can get it).

I don't have people log things on my barcode scanner, but that is a good idea (it's 3 keystrokes - changing the location from one place to another).  They might like doing that - hmm.

We have many chemicals where we only have one bottle - I feel that if somebody needs it, and I need it for labs, then it's time to order another. 

Micromanaging a chem inventory is very difficult and I'm not sure how effective it is if all have access. 

Train your dept faculty (I am one of them here) as to the importance of inventory management and they will work to help you out.  Don't get carried away with the small details - just the big picture.  Ideally, 55 gallon drums of acetone are not going down the hall (just a few liters at a time), and so it really shouldn't matter too much.

I would like things to be like a library as well - and I try to do that with re-shelving of chemicals (that is where most get lost I believe - people put them back in the wrong place).  The problem is, we aren't stocked like a library with software and scanners for all chemicals, so it's a bit more difficult.

Now, if we all are going to be meth paranoid - I don't know what to tell you.  Watch your major solvents and levels, and see where they are going (your ethers, etc...).  In my experience, little if any chemicals leave the floor (really).  Besides, you'd be surprised what can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Good luck with this


Hi all,

I know that this or a similar question has been asked before, but please allow me to ask it once again in a simplified form: For your central chemical storeroom, how is access to chemicals controlled?   (assume that the person who is picking up the chemical is wearing appropriate PPE & uses an appropriate transport container):
(a) Open Access: all faculty are allowed to enter and take what they want as long as they log the user & amount.
(b) Closed Access: no faculty are allowed to enter, and only a few individuals (e.g., trained stockroom employees) have access to the chemicals; faculty request a chemical, and that chemical(s) is either delivered or can be picked up from a check-out window.
(c) Limited Access: all faculty have "Open Access" to a subset of chemicals with "lower" hazard ratings and they can simply log out the amount taken; however, for chemicals with "higher" hazard ratings (e.g., NFPA of 3 or 4) it is "Closed Access."

Thanks.  Feel free to reply directly to me or to the list.


Dr. Patrick Ceas
312 Regents Hall of Natural Sciences
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057

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