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Health & Safety - Ordering Chemicals

Procedure for ordering chemicals

These requirements for ordering chemicals were put in place to ensure that the safe storage and safe use of chemicals are considered before the chemicals are purchased. A series of screen shots have been saved into a set of Ordering guidelines to illustrate the steps required in Opera.

  1. The cost of disposal of excess chemicals is significant. Consider how much material you actually need for your current work and order minimum quantities.
  2. Review the manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) for the chemical of interest – these will be available on the supplier website.
  3. Identify the Hazard code statements (H-codes) and Precautionary statements to ensure that you understand the hazards of the chemical and how to handle it safely.
  4. Ensure your current storage and handling facilities are sufficient to ensure safe use of the chemical (for example, staff training, availability of fume cupboards, suitable personal protective equipment).
  5. Determine the correct hazard level for ordering the chemical in Opera using the chemical categorisation tool.
  6. For each chemical ordered on Opera, input the H-codes into the comments section with a statement to indicate that you have considered the storage and control measures required for the chemical. If it is non-hazardous this should be stated in the comments section.
  7. For each chemical ordered on Opera, input the correct hazard level as determined in 5. above.
  8. Dependent upon the hazard category identified in 4 above, the order may be subject to additional approval once it has been raised on Opera.
  9. A COSHH Risk Assessment with the identified hazards and implemented control measures for the chemical need to be completed. This is a legal requirement. In addition to this a task/activity risk assessment needs to be completed to record how the chemical is being used within your work or research. Guidance on COSHH Risk Assessments can be found under Section 3.3 of risk assessments in physics. Links to COSHH templates can also be found under the same link.
  10. Once the chemical has been received it should be added to the chemical inventory for the laboratory in which it is stored. This includes addition of the Hazard codes. Your chemical inventory must be completed in the Universities template which can be found under the 'Quick Links' header here.

The staff involved in processing orders for chemicals have been instructed that unless the hazard category and the comments section have been completed on the Opera order, the order must be returned to the originator to complete these sections. This is to ensure that the process for controlling any risk becomes an integral part of the ordering procedure.