Chemical Safety

For full details relating to the use of hazardous chemical substances and chemical safety management consult the following two UNSW HS sites: - Use the filter on ‘Laboratory’ for creating yellow door hazards placards

All workers (staff and research students) volunteers, contractors coursework students must ensure hazardous chemical substances are transported, stored and used in accordance with the HS332 Hazardous Chemicals Procedure


1. Purchasing Hazardous Chemicals - Jaggaer

HS316 Purchasing Guideline

All purchasing of chemicals must be performed through the Enterprise Reagent Management System – Jaggaer. Chemicals used in BEES must be delivered to the Science Store in the Lowy Building for initial barcoding. For more details regarding Jaggaer procedures see:

  • Chemicals must be scanned out from the store and scanned into the user’s laboratory or store.
  • Each laboratory area using chemicals should have access to a scanner and bar code printers are available in D26 G23, 424C and 529.
  • Prior to purchase the user must obtain a current SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and ensure appropriate Risk Management / Safe Work Procedures are available or written to cover the safe transport, use and storage of the chemical substance(s). 
  • Users of hazardous chemicals must be appropriately supervised and/or trained in chemical safety e.g. for staff Laboratory Safety Awareness for Staff (110001) and Hazardous Substances (Haz) and for students Laboratory Safety Awareness online.


2. Laboratories and work areas using and/or storing hazardous chemicals

All work areas using and storing hazardous chemical must maintain an up-to-date chemicals substances register e.g. HS603. (When your laboratory register is transferred to (uploaded) Jaggaer this register will not be required).  The nature of the potential chemical risks within an area should be identified on a yellow hazards placard on the entrance doors.

  • Laboratory supervisors must ensure all mandatory PPCE identified on the placard is worn when a person enters the work area. Note: Only PPCE items that must be worn at all times whilst within the work area should be identified on the door placard.
  • All other PPCE requirements should be identified in the Safe Work Procedure related to the laboratory procedure.
  • Laboratory supervisors should enforce the PPCE requirements for entry to the area as well as the laboratory procedures undertaken.

Chemical Storage and Labelling

All chemical substances must be segregated and stored with respect to the hazards associated with the chemical substance.

  • Currently, it is still acceptable to use the guidelines for the storage and use of Dangerous Goods i.e. storage and segregation of chemicals by DG classes, packing groups and quantities, as outlined in HS404 Storage of Dangerous Goods Guideline
  • By the end of 2016 all chemical storage and labelling will be in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System for chemical substances. It is expected that all laboratory supervisors in BEES will ensure the storage and labelling of chemical substances is compliant with the GHS by the end of 2015.
  • Supervisors must ensure that all containers of hazardous chemicals supplied to, used, or handled in the workplace are appropriately labelled (as outlined in HS429 Labelling Guideline), and that SDS’s are readily accessible to all staff and students. Appropriate labels maybe downloaded from ChemAlert.
  • Supervisors of chemical storage areas must annually complete the appropriate chemical audit checklists and provide a copy to the BEES HS Manger for School records. All corrective actions for non-compliances should be entered into myUNSW  Harm to Zero
  • All areas that have chemical storage cabinets must supply out of hours contact information to security via the Chief Warden for D26 for building emergency management

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

SDS’s must be available for all hazardous chemicals. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that SDS’s are in date (published within the last 5 years) and readily available, either as hard copy or electronically. A laboratory layout plan must be placed within the laboratory showing where SDS’s are stored. All users of hazardous chemicals should read and be familiar with the information provided by the SDS

SDS’s will specify as a minimum:

  • the chemical name and manufacturer’s contact information
  • the ingredients of the product
  • the health effects of the product
  • and first aid instructions
  • precautions to follow when using the product
  • safe handling and storage information

SDS and risk management information may be downloaded from ChemAlert.


UNSW has a licence for ChemAlert; a chemical information database which is useful for downloading SDS’s and labels for a large number of chemicals.

Chemical Spills

Spill kits for small spills (less than 500 ml) must be available in all laboratories where hazardous chemicals are stored. Spill kits for large spills are available in Rooms 507 and 449. All laboratories using hazardous chemicals should have staff and students trained to deal with chemical spills.


3. Transporting hazardous chemicals

All chemicals must be transported safely to prevent spillage, breakage and mixing of incompatibles. Dangerous Goods Class diamonds must be used when transporting Dangerous Goods in bunded containers such as crates, pails or overpacking drums.

Hazardous Materials and Chemicals Lift

No-one may travel in a lift with gas cylinders. In the Biological Sciences Building Lift No. 5 must be used to move hazardous goods between floors.

Operating Instructions

1. To call the hazardous goods lift, insert the key into the HGS key-switch on the landing, momentarily turn it to the “Call Lift” position, and then remove the key. Inside the lift the HGS light illuminates and the speaker asks occupants to leave the lift at the first opportunity.

2. When the lift arrives at your floor, with minimum delay insert the key into the key-switch inside the lift car, turn it to the “On” position, and remove the key. The lift will now remain where it is.

3. Place hazardous goods into the lift car, ensuring they are as stable as possible.

4. Return to the landing key-switch, insert the key and turn it to the “Close Door” position. Keep holding the key until the doors have fully closed. The lift will continue to remain in position, with no access possible to other users.

5. Proceed to the destination floor via the stairs or the adjacent lift.

6. Insert the key into the HGS key-switch on the landing, momentarily turn it to the “Call Lift” position, and then remove the key.

7. Once the lift arrives and the doors open, remove the hazardous goods.

8. Return to the lift car, insert the key into the key-switch, and turn it to the “Off” position. The lift will now return to normal operation. REMEMBER TO DO THIS – If you fail to do so Facilities may charge your lab group the lift maintenance callout fee.

*Note that this is a one-person operation and keys can be obtained from Rochelle Johnston (Rm 647), Chris Myers (Rm G05A) or Joanne Wilde (Rm LG09)


4. Other information

Please refer to other links on BEES Health and Safey page for specific information regarding PPCE use and chemical waste disposal.