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Chemical Inventory

Maintaining documents for hazardous chemicals is required by OSHA.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6

Hazard Placard IconAny substance listed in the following documents will be considered a health or physical hazard

  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, "Toxic and Hazardous Substances"
  • The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
  • Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents in The Work Environment
  • The National Toxicology Program (NTP), and Annual Report on Carcinogens
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancers (IARC) monographs

Every hazardous substance present in the workplace will be listed on the Hazardous Chemicals Inventory. The identity of a substance that appears on the Hazardous Chemical inventory will be the same as that on the manufacturer's label, in-house label, and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

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Hazardous Chemical Inventory

OSHA mandates in 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Hazard Communications Standard) a chemical inventory must be performed and updated and kept current. The chemical inventory is a list of hazardous chemicals known to be present in the workplace. The chemicals should be listed in such a way, using appropriate identification, so they may be referenced on the subject’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). All chemicals that are listed in the inventory must also have a readily available MSDS, accessible to any employee who may come into contact with said chemical.

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Some Example Types of Chemicals & Classifications

  • Adhesives and Sealants
  • Herbicide and Fertilizers
  • Paints and Varnishes
  • Acids (lead acid batteries)
  • Waxes
  • Construction Materials
  • Oils, Greases and Lubricants
  • Refrigerants
  • Water Treatment Chemicals
  • Compressed Gases
  • Fuels
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Cleaners, Degreasers and Strippers
Some Potential Hazards and Examples


Description of Hazard



Chemicals that can cause a reversible inflammation of your nasal passages, tear ducts or skin. Irritants are chemicals that are usually classified as corrosives in concentrated form.

Ammonia, degreasers, solvents, nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen chloride


Affect certain individuals by means of an allergic reaction after repeated exposure. The same chemical can have no adverse reaction in others. A chemical is only considered a sensitizer, if it causes a reaction in a substantial portion of exposed people.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons, Formaldehyde, and Chromium compound


Harsh substances that cause visible destruction of the skin and eyes on contact, and internal organs if swallowed or inhaled.

Laundry Detergent, Floor Stripper, Graffiti Remover, Rust Remover, Acids and Bases


Affect your health by causing an abnormal multiplication of cells that tend to infiltrate others tissues and spread. Cancer is a chronic health problem that can take many years to develop.

Asbestos and Benzene

 Systemic Poisons

Chemicals that cause an adverse health effect to a specific target organ. They can enter the body through any of the four pathways: inhalation, absorption, puncture and ingestion. Once in the bloodstream they travel to the specific organ and compromise it’s health, as well as the health of the individual.

Mercury, Lead, Organic Solvents, Acids and Asbestos


A chemical in a sold, liquid, or gaseous state that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Flammables burn at close to room temperature, so safe procedures must always be followed.

Spray Paint, NAPTHA, Alcohol, Propane, Phosphorous, and many Powdered Metals

Combustible Liquids

A chemical in a liquid state that has a flashpoint at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit but below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they do not burn as readily as flammables, they are prevalent in almost any work setting. So safe precautions must always be used.

All Organic Chemicals are Combustible

Compressed Gases

Are stored in cylinders under significant pressure. Regardless of the gas inside the cylinder, any gas under pressure posses an inherent physical hazard.

Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Acetylene and Oxygen


Dangerous Chemicals that can explode or burn under conditions that are safe for most substances. Due to inherent in stability they are known as “nervous chemicals”.

EXPLOSIVES- a specific type of reactive that causes a sudden release of pressure, gas and heat when subjected to sudden shock, pressure or high temperature.

OXIDIZERS- type of reactive that contains a large percentage of oxygen. They can cause other substances, like flammables, to burn more readily.


Explosives - Picric Acid, TNT, Black Powder, Nitroglycerine and Antimony Metal

Oxidizers - Chlorine


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Some Common Locations of Chemicals


  • Art Studios, Attics, Automotive Repair Shops
  • Basements, Ceramics and Pottery Facilities, Clean Rooms
  • Conservation and Preservation Labs, Cosmetology, Dark Rooms
  • Elevator Rooms, Green Houses, Horticulture
  • HVAC/Mechanical Rooms, Janitorial Closets, Kitchens
  • Laboratories, Laundry Rooms, Machine Shops
  • Paint Shops, Print Shops, Shipping and Receiving
  • Brine Rooms, Storage Sheds, Swimming Pool Filter Rooms
  • Wood Shops

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Training and Personal Protective Equipment Required for Performing the Chemical Inventory

The individual performing the chemical inventory should be properly trained in hazard communication.

The following PPE should be worn at a minimum while performing the inventory in an effort to protect against accidental exposures:

  • Silver Shield Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Lab Coat
  • Closed Toe Shoes

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Procedures for Performing the Chemical Inventory

  • Read instructions carefully.
  • Please print in BLUE or BLACK ink if completing inventory by hand. Another option is to utilize a laptop so information may be typed into excel while completing the inventory.
  • The inspection should begin in the most obvious places for chemicals, many of these are laboratories and industrial and technology program settings (refer to above list for other common locations).
  • The inspection should pay particular attention to chemicals that are stored in the greatest quantities and those that are most toxic in nature (do not overlook large fuel storage tanks, for example).
  • Moving of any containers should always be done with caution. All containers should be inspected for leakage, crystallization, pressure build up or any other type of potential failure. Do not disturb any container that shows any of these signs.
  • Any container that is not labeled, easily identifiable or damaged should be flagged and disposed of properly as soon as possible.
  • A Chemical Inventory Form is located on the campus shared drive. » View example of CVCC Chemical Inventory Form.

The following information should be recorded on the downloaded Chemical Inventory Form

  • Enter college name, campus, date of the inventory update, and your name.
  • Location—Building (and room number if you wish but not required) where the chemical is located.
  • Product Name/Chemical Name -- name of the product on the label, must match the MSDS.
  • Manufacturer’s Name—manufacturer’s name is necessary to obtain and locate the proper MSDS.
  • Quantity—estimate or if known the maximum quantity on hand any one time during the year, not annual usage.
  • MSDS—Y or N to indicate the presence of an MSDS for the chemical.
  • The following are optional depending on your particular chemical hygiene plan:
    • Extremely Hazardous Substance --Y or N if container label identifies an extremely hazardous substance   
    • Carcinogen --Y or N if container has a carcinogen listed on the label   
    • CAS # -- Chemical Abstract Service Number   
    • Container Type and Size   
    • Liquid or Solid   
    • Type – Type of container. Print the code letter for the construction and material of the container
Code Type of Storage Container
A Above ground tank
B Below ground tank
C Tank inside building
D Steel drum
E Plastic or non-metallic drum
F Can
G Carboy
H Silo
I Fiber drum
J Bag
K Box
L Cylinder
M Glass bottles or jugs
N Plastic bottles or jugs
O Tote bin
P Tank wagon
Q Rail car
R Other

Next: » Material Safety Data Sheets