Achieve Best Practices Chemical Inventory Purchasing in 8 Steps

Where’s your favorite place to shop? In today’s digital age, many people now answer that question with their favorite online store. We live in a time when we can find a product while lounging in the comfort of our own homes. We can run a quick price comparison to find deals and read reviews from a sample of strangers. There are the go-to giants and the incredibly specialized retailers. It’s now possible to order practically anything online and also do our due diligence in consumer research.

It’s not hard to imagine that making product information available online has transformed different industries. The wealth of information online means businesses have more power over their inventory choices than ever. Laboratory managers have an important responsibility to vet their purchases following safety and legal regulations. Here is a checklist from a ChemSW best practices white paper.


8 Best Practice Steps to  Chemical Inventory Purchasing
adapted from ChemSW White Paper How to Survive a Chemical Management Audit

1) Before you order, evaluate the hazards associate with any chemical that could put employees at risk. Also be sure to consider the risks associated with all activities concerning the chemical. Chemical users and purchasers should work as a team to make safe inventory choices and follow safety procedures.

2) Also before clicking buy, search for substitute materials that are less hazardous or have less of an environmental impact. This life-saving and nature-preserving step is made much easier in the world of the Internet where we can find resources to make informed decisions. For example, the EPA website hosts the TRI Pollution Prevention reports, in which companies outline their solutions to industry pollution problems.


3) Determine all of a chemical’s hazards when it is ordered. If the safe operating procedures are researched before the chemical comes on site, then you’ll have time to give employees advance notice and training, if necessary. This leads to the next step…

4) Provide information to everyone on the team who will receive, store, transport, use and dispose of the chemical. Information is power! Employees at each step in the workflow will need an update about chemicals joining the mix.


5) Follow all regulatory restrictions and in-house rules. This is a huge undertaking, but luckily you have many resources to help with safety and regulatory compliance, such as our own ChemSW software solutions and regulatory agency websites.

6) Get your hands on the most current manufacturer’s MSDS (or SDS,) sheets for all chemicals.

7) Provide employees with the MSDS (or SDS) sheets for all new purchases.

8) Did you know that un-denatured alcohol is tax-free alcohol?  It sure is! Submit applications to purchase tax-free alcohol to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. This is a quick way to save the lab some money, so make sure you’re getting all of the tax exemptions possible.

This checklist puts employee safety first by focusing on information and prevention. Accident avoidance also saves valuable research, property and money. ChemSW loves safety and we want to share our experiences with inventory best practices.

This checklist and more are available in the white paper “How to Survive a Chemical Management Audit,” available on our website. Please check out our site for more information on our products and services.


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