Improving Laboratory Safety One Chemical At A Time

University of Delaware Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and the research community at UD have stepped up their commitment to laboratory safety with a new method to track, monitor and inventory all of the research chemicals on campus.

Anyone who has ever worked in a research lab with an inventory of chemicals may also know the frustration of searching Excel documents to locate a specific chemical or ordering a chemical without remembering to first look up the critical safety information.

Those days are now in the past, with new technology that enables users to look up materials by chemical structure or even functional group.

In October 2017, EHS began the initiative to inventory all the research chemicals on campus, and to accomplish this task it rolled out a new chemical inventory program, uniquely named ChemInventory. Since October, the implementation of the new program has been going strong; to date, it has helped more than 215 principal investigators.

How did the labs find time to input that many chemicals? Actually, they did not have to. To aid in this effort, with the support of UD’s central administration, EHS has dedicated a team of chemical inventory specialists to do the hard work of inventorying and labeling with barcodes all the chemicals. The specialists work closely with each lab to understand any requirements before entering a laboratory space or sensitive area, and because there is no requirement for the lab members to participate in the initial inventory process, there is no downtime for the researchers.

ChemInventory has many features that will help labs function with less downtime, less money wasted on chemical purchases and improved chemical hazard recognition. Any UD department or laboratory interested in learning more about the program should contact the EHS office at to schedule a demonstration. As the rollout continues through the University, EHS will be contacting labs directly for scheduling and time availability. Those who wish to add their department to the list sooner should to contact the EHS office either by email or calling 302-831-8475.