I might possibly agree with your position if I were a working as a chemist. Your Health and Safety staff views your inventory control in a more holistic sense.
As an example, our procurement SOP required the same as you described but, that SOP was not applicable to the corporate Research and Development personnel who were not associated with our Quality Control laboratory. Being entirely unregulated, they provided an example of how badly reagent storage could become in the absence of control. After finishing one of their projects, they abandoned several cases of unused, concentrated, hydrogen peroxide beside the desk of one of our manufacturing supervisors.
Your Health and Safety Department needs to know what reagents are in the building in order to assess storage needs, segregation strategies, training needs, permit limits and emergency response exigencies. If you provide the information they request, they will be able to perform their duties effectively.
If they ask you to provide a safety data sheet for sodium chloride, humor them but, be aware that they are considering how far away they want it to be stored from the sulfuric acid, what they are going to report to the wastewater treatment facility in the event of a flood or spill and what to tell your first responders exactly what is located and what the quantity they can expect to find in the event of and emergency response.
That policy also serves to verify your sincerity when it comes to your introducing new reagents to your lab.
Our EH&S officer has decided that we have to send him the SDS for every chemical we are going to purchase so that he can review it
before we are allowed to purchase the chemical. Then, he wants us to send him the SDS that came with the chemical.
Is this a standard practice? I can see reviewing SDS for very hazardous substances, but even for chemicals sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate? I can understand his reviewing the SDS for substances we've never previously used on campus. However,
I think he'll drive himself (and us) crazy if he looks over every single SDS every time we make a purchase.
I fought to get the administration to allow us to make purchases with a credit card so we could make purchases shortly before we used chemicals in class. This procedure let us order smaller quantities and has helped us reduce our inventory, since we no
longer had to "over purchase", just to guarantee that we would have enough material for our classes should the purchasing paperwork get held up.
Please let me know what level of EH&S scrutiny of chemical purchases is considered standard practice at undergraduate academic institutions.
I look forward to your responses.
Janet Rogers, Ph.D.
230 Scotland Road
Edinboro, PA 16444