Hazard Inventory

***NEW! The SFU Laboratory Hazard Inventory System is available as of May 1st, 2017.***

In collaboration between the SFU Chemical Safety Committee, IT Services and Environmental Health & Research Safety, a new online Laboratory Hazard Inventory System has been developed that allows SFU to better meet important regulatory requirements. The new system will allow labs or any area on campus with hazardous chemicals to maintain and manage their chemical inventories, and to create related hazardous materials door signage. It is therefore replacing the application previously used to create hazardous material door signage. The system also manages inventories of lasers and X-ray devices. 

Regulatory requirements

Establishing and maintaining a chemical inventory is the foundation for safe chemical segregation and storage in the laboratory. The WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Part 5, Section 5.98, says, "An inventory must be maintained which identifies all hazardous substances at the workplace in quantities that may endanger workers in an emergency including hazardous products covered by WHMIS, explosives, pesticides, radioactive materials, hazardous wastes and consumer products. The inventory must identify the nature, location and approximate quantity of all such substances, and the location of the SDSs".

Note that biohazardous and radioactive materials are tracked through separate processes and are not included in the Laboratory Hazard Inventory System.

Hazardous Material Door Signs

For laboratories and any work areas with hazardous chemicals stored or in use, the hazardous material door sign is required. These signs are generated in the inventory system, so when the door sign is due for renewal, a designated member of the lab or work area must use the inventory system to update lab or work area information and print the updated sign. For more information about the door signage program, see Signage.

Getting started

The Laboratory Hazard Inventory System is accessible online at labhazindex.its.sfu.ca for all faculty, staff and students using their usual SFU username and password.

To begin, each supervisor of a laboratory or work area (e.g. principal investigator, laboratory instructor, manager, etc.) is required to: 

1) login to the system to set up their group, 
2) add lab personnel to their group, 
3) add rooms to their group, 
4) ensure that their hazard inventory (chemicals; laser or X-ray devices) is entered into the system. 

Users may login to the system, search for their supervisor's group, and submit an electronic request to join. 

Using the Inventory System

For chemicals

Hazardous items that should be inventoried include flammables, explosives, oxidizers, corrosives, gas cylinders, and chemicals causing serious health effects.  Non-hazardous items, for example, buffers, salts, amino acids, sugars, and growth media, do not need to be included in the inventory.

Environmental Health & Research Safety recommends keeping your chemical inventory up-to-date on an ongoing basis (e.g., by ensuring all incoming items are entered in the inventory and all depleted or unwanted items are removed from the inventory in a timely fashion). Keeping your inventory up-to-date provides economical and environmental benefits: it reduces chemical waste and overpurchasing.

The Laboratory hazard system can also be used to facilitate sharing of chemicals between labs, as approved members of a lab group can search for a desired chemical elsewhere on campus, which can reduce overpurchasing and chemical waste from disposal of unused reagents. If you require only a small amount of material, use the global (all SFU or your department only) inventory searches to help you locate the chemical needed. You can then contact the lab to request some.

For laser and X-ray devices

The laboratory hazard system is also used by labs to keep an inventory of laser or X-ray generating devices. When new devices are acquired or devices are removed from the lab, the inventory should be updated by a designated member of the lab group.

Annual Review

Once an inventory is established, it must be reviewed at least annually to ensure it accurately reflects the chemicals in the lab. This review will serve as a reminder to:

  • check chemicals with limited shelf lives;
  • identify and remove expired or unwanted chemicals;
  • check the integrity of all storage vessels for cracks, aging or leaks; and
  • prevent the unnecessary purchase of chemicals which are already on hand.

If you have any questions about the SFU Laboratory Hazard Inventory System, contact Catherine Peltier in EHRS at cpeltier@sfu.ca.


User Guide

The User Guide and FAQs are also available on the system webpage.