Procuring Hazardous Chemicals

Laboratory personnel who receive hazardous materials for research or instructional purposes must be aware of George Mason University and government regulations regarding the type and quantity of materials they are permitted to receive; and must receive appropriate hazard communication training. Compliance requirements for acquiring and working with hazardous material depend on the type of material and its potential hazard. Access to certain material may require the recipient to apply for a permit, license, or registration.  George Mason University requires a Material Transfer Agreement, MTA, be in place when acquiring or transferring materials to or from another institution or investigator. Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs, OSP, for more information.

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Ordering Hazardous Materials

Before a chemical is ordered, consider

  • Properties of the chemical
  • Storage requirements
  • Security requirements
  • Anticipated usage

Chemicals should only be ordered in quantities that can be safely and securely stored and used within 18 months of receipt.

Prohibitions, special authorizations, permits, and other restrictions must also be considered.

Tax-Free Alcohol

For more information, click Tax-Free alcohol

Controlled Substances and Listed Chemicals

For more information, click Controlled Substances and Listed Chemicals

Receiving Hazardous Materials

All hazardous materials shipped to George Mason University from a vendor or transferred from another institution must be packaged and transported in accordance with requirements set forth by DOT or International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

  1. Examine packages before they are accepted. Any packages that are improperly labeled; contain prohibited materials; or show signs of damage, tampering, or leakage should not be accepted. The hazardous materials transporter should be directed to remain onsite with the package and EHS should be contacted.
  1. Unknown or suspicious packages should be reported to University Police.
  1. Packages that contain hazardous materials must meet specific labeling requirements that convey the hazards associated with the package contents and appropriate handling procedures. DOT has established symbols (DOT placards) that represent various classes of hazardous materials.

Under most circumstances, these symbols must appear on packages containing hazardous material along with the complete chemical name, United Nations (UN) number, and a packing list (if the package contains multiple items). Exceptions to labeling requirements are made for certain hazardous materials packages, based upon the quantity of hazardous material being shipped. It is possible that a package could contain a small amount of hazardous material without a hazard class label. For this reason, all packages that contain chemicals should be handled as if they contain hazardous materials.

  1. Once a package is accepted, it should remain in the original packaging and be kept in a secure area until delivered to the laboratory or storage area. Hazardous materials should be labeled with the delivery date as soon as they are opened and an SDS for the chemical should be placed in the SDS Library if not already present.
  1. Store the chemical container is accordance with Chemical Segregation and Storage requirements.
  1. Update the laboratory’s chemical inventory in accordance with the Chemical Inventory procedures.
  1. Personnel must review the SDS and receive laboratory specific training prior to use of the chemical.

Chemicals Requiring Special Consideration

Organic peroxides, reactive materials, peroxide-forming compounds, and chemicals that pose an inhalation hazard should be ordered in quantities that can be used within three-to-six months. Upon receipt, these chemicals must be immediately transferred to an appropriate storage area.

Damaged and Leaking Packages

If a hazardous materials transporter attempts to deliver a leaking package

  • Reject the package and contact EHS
  • The hazardous materials transporter should remain on premises until the package has been properly repacked and the spill, if one should occur, is properly contained and cleaned.
  • Federal regulations mandate that hazardous materials transporters may not accept or ship a container that is leaking or does not meet specific federal regulations regarding hazardous materials packaging. The transporter or product manufacturer will bear the financial responsibility for cleaning up a spill and repackaging the material. If university personnel accept the material, George Mason University will bear all liabilities associated with chemical exposure, spill, and emergencies related to the leaking container.

If a transporter attempts to leave George Mason University with a leaking hazardous materials container

  • Contact EHS immediately to report the incident.
  • If possible, record any identifying information; the driver’s name, company, vehicle information (license plate number and state of issue) and direction of travel.