ChemTracker Chemical Inventory

BioRAFT ChemTracker Inventory Module

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires that employers maintain accurate inventories of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The State of Maryland follows International Building Code (IBC) and National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) codes and standards, which limit the maximum allowable quantities of hazardous substances that can be kept in buildings. The UMB Chemical Hygiene Plan and UMB’s Policy on Hazard Communication VI-17.11(A) require that all laboratories maintain an inventory of hazardous chemicals on hand. An accurate and complete chemical inventory ensures that chemical hazards can be effectively managed and communicated to laboratory staff, visitors, and emergency responders.

To address the need for an accessible centralized chemical inventory system, the University of Maryland Baltimore has enabled the BioRAFT ChemTracker chemical inventory module. This module integrates with each laboratory’s existing BioRAFT profile and provides a variety of tools to track and reconcile hazardous chemical inventories. In addition, ChemTracker takes advantage of BioRAFT’s database of chemicals and mixtures, allowing users to easily find products from specific suppliers when entering containers into inventory.

Initial Instructions

The ChemTracker module will appear in the top row of tabs on your lab profile. Initial inventories can be uploaded in bulk using the UMB ChemTracker Import Sheet, which will be coordinated by EHS. Individual chemicals can be added, deleted, or edited within the module.

If this is your first time adding your chemical inventory to ChemTracker, fill in the Excel template below with all hazardous chemicals in your lab or under your responsibility. Required columns are headed in blue and include:

  • CAS number and Chemical Name – at least one of these must be given for each container
  • Building Name and Room number where chemical is located
  • Amount (numerical quantity, unit of measurement, and number of containers on hand)

Email your completed template to simone.houng@umaryland.edu. Your inventory will be uploaded in the next bulk import window and you will be notified when it is available in your profile.

See the FAQ below for common questions. If you do not find your answer or need further clarification, reach out to Simone.

DOWNLOAD THE UMB ChemTracker IMPORT SHEET HERE.

FAQ

Why use a centralized chemical inventory system?

ChemTracker allows UMB to meet regulatory requirements by OSHA, the NPFA, and IBC, ensuring that all labs have current chemical inventories and tracking aggregate building quantities. Knowing the types and total quantities of hazardous chemicals in each building allows us to organize more effective emergency response, enhance hazard communication and highlight higher hazard chemicals for safer storage initiatives. These are part of a proactive strategy for chemical and laboratory safety.

For labs, having a digital inventory accessible to multiple lab members decreases manual manipulation of spreadsheets and reduces loss of data when members move or leave labs. ChemTracker includes a reconciliation tool that can and should be used to update your chemical inventory on an annual basis and is accessible on mobile.

From an environmental sustainability and cost reduction standpoint, maintaining accurate inventories reduces excess ordering and helps keep track of excess chemicals in storage.

Is it mandatory to use ChemTracker for my inventory?

It is mandatory for every laboratory to maintain an inventory of hazardous chemicals. In the past, EHS may have discussed chemical inventories with your laboratory but if your inventory was reviewed by EHS, copies were not kept. Maintaining an accurate chemical inventory in ChemTracker will be mandatory for UMB labs beginning in January of 2023. Use the table below for submission deadlines based on your lab location. 

Inspection Month

Building

ChemTracker Inventory Deadline

January

BioPark I and HSF III

October 31, 2022

February

HSF I

November 30, 2022

March

MPRC and PH

December 31, 2022

April

BRB Floors B-7

January 31, 2023

May

IMET, AHB, and GRB

February 28, 2023

June

IHV

March 31, 2023

July

MSTF

April 30, 2023

August

HSF II

May 31, 2023

September

Dental School

June 30, 2023

October

BRB Floors 8-13

July 31, 2023

November

BRF, Nursing School, and CEC

August 30, 2023

December

HH and HSF III

September 31, 2023

Which items must be included in my ChemTracker inventory?

Any chemical that poses a physical, environmental, or health hazard. If the container displays one of the chemical hazard symbols, it should be listed on the inventory. This includes any amount of the following:

  • Flammable substance
  • Corrosive substance
  • Acute toxin, reproductive hazard
  • Carcinogen, mutagen or teratogen
  • Highly reactive substance (pyrophoric, water-reactive or potentially explosive)
  • Compressed gas
  • Controlled substances (as defined by the DEA Diversion Control Division)

Mixtures should also be evaluated using this scheme. If a mixture is identified as belonging to one or more of these categories, it should be included in the ChemTracker inventory. BioRAFT’s database includes many commercially available mixtures so that these can be easily added. Mixtures made in-house should have all of their components listed with approximate concentrations of hazardous components. All applicable hazard categories should be selected.

 

Which items may be excluded from my ChemTracker inventory?

Products with no chemical hazard (such as water, growth media, glucose, sucrose, starches, amino acids, glass beads) or biological materials (infectious substances, cell cultures, bacteria, select agents), or radioactive materials.

Although it is not mandatory to include these types of materials, you may use ChemTracker to keep track of them, if you wish. If you choose to track non-hazardous chemicals, biohazards, or other non-chemical hazards in your ChemTracker inventory, it is important that you do not assign them to a hazard group (such as flammable or reactive). EHS uses aggregate data from all inventories to track quantities of hazards in each building and incorrectly assigning chemical hazard categories to non-hazardous chemicals, biohazards, or other non-chemical hazards will distort this data.

What about novel compounds, unknowns and chemical waste containers?

Novel compounds that are synthesized in the laboratory should be added to the ChemTracker inventory if there are known hazards associated with them. If hazards are later identified for a chemical that was previously left out of the inventory, that compound should be added when those hazards are identified. These compounds will not be available in the BioRAFT chemical database but can be added to the inventory as “unlinked” containers and information can be manually added to the entries.

If laboratories follow good labeling practices, occurrences of unknown chemicals should be rare. However, if a container should end up without a label or an unknown compound is unintentionally synthesized during an experiment, the best options are to identify the compound or dispose of it. EHS has a process for handling unknown chemical waste, which involves working with the laboratory to identify the chemical and, if necessary, sending a sample to an analytical laboratory for identification. If a laboratory intends to keep an unknown synthesized compound for further testing, it should be treated as any other novel compound (i.e. added to the inventory when/if hazard classes are identified and updated as new information is discovered).

Chemical waste being accumulated in containers for disposal should not be included in the ChemTracker inventory. These containers should be labeled appropriately and disposed of as soon as possible when they are filled or no longer needed.

How should labs track bottles in use? Do remaining amounts need to be measured after each use?

For the purposes of the ChemTracker inventory, use the vendor supplied quantity for the container. For example, 100mL of a reagent was purchased but small quantities are used over several experiments. Do not measure the remaining quantity after each use, simply list the quantity as 100mL in ChemTracker until the reagent is gone and the bottle is removed from the inventory.

For chemicals/mixtures which are used up and replaced frequently, such as 70% ethanol, the ChemTracker inventory should list the typical amount and size of containers that are on-hand at a given time.

How often do labs need to update ChemTracker?

Chemical inventories should be updated as chemicals and hazards enter and exit the lab. EHS recommends a full inventory reconciliation once each year. The ChemTracker module has a reconciliation tool to facilitate this process.

What should I do with chemicals found during inventory reconciliation (or initial upload) that are expired or my lab no longer wants to keep?

Unwanted or expired chemicals should be submitted online as hazardous waste . Disposal of unknown hazardous waste may carry associated charges, due to the cost of identifying the waste material prior to disposal.

Who will have access to my ChemTracker inventory?

Your ChemTracker inventory will be accessible only to you, your group compliance liaison (lab manager), EHS and the Office of the Fire Marshal. Additionally, you may grant edit rights to anyone in your BioRAFT lab member list.

I have chemicals I no longer want, what should I do?

Any unwanted or unusable chemicals can be submitted for disposal through our online Chemical Waste Removal Request Form. If you have more than 8 containers for submission, reach out to Kevin Nichol and Ram Chhetri with a picture of the items together in a suitable location for pickup, with a note that you would like them removed. Please separate the items from chemicals in use, away from other hazards, and in suitable secondary containment if necessary. The Environmental Programs team will arrange for a pickup in your lab. Please be aware that bulk pickups are conducted in addition to our regular waste schedule, so there may be a week or two delay. 

In addition to online chemical waste removal submissions, EHS is launching a ChemDrive initiative to solicit in-person submission of unwanted chemicals to an EHS table set up on your research floor. Stay tuned for more information!

Wait, don't we have ChemWatch already?

You may already be familiar with ChemWatch, the safety data sheet (SDS) repository that EHS has subscribed to for many years. ChemWatch provides access to over 250,000 GHS-compliant, ChemWatch-authored SDS, with data gathered and stored from over 60 million vendor SDS. 

In contract, ChemTracker is a chemical inventory management tool built into BioRAFT and linked to your lab profile. 

How to Use ChemTracker

ChemTracker inventory page overview

 

  1. After logging into BioRAFT, expand the menu item for your lab or group and select View Lab Profile.


  2. Click on the ChemTracker tab to open the group’s Inventory.


  3. Links to the following tools/pages can be found:

    View Inventory- see a list of your chemicals by container, which can be filtered with Advanced Filters.

    Add Inventory- add new containers one by one.

    Totals- shows total quantities present, based on chemical identity or hazard class.

    Bulk Edit- used for editing properties of many containers at once (e.g., changing the storage location of chemicals during a lab relocation).

    Reconciliation- used for periodically comparing the inventory with actual on-hand containers to ensure ChemTracker is up to date.

 

Adding Chemicals to ChemTracker

  1. If you are adding many containers or performing an initial inventory, reach out to EHS at ehsaudits@umaryland.edu to submit an Excel template for bulk upload. For individual containers, continue as below.

  2. From your lab’s profile, click on ChemTracker, then on Add Inventory.


  3. Type the chemical name, CAS number, or product description into the chemical search bar and select the appropriate listing. ChemTracker will suggest chemicals or mixtures that are already in the database. If you do not see your particular chemical or mixture suggested, choose “None of the above."



  4. Select the lab/group and storage location

  5. Fill out the container information. Multiple identical containers can be added at the same time by increasing the Container Count. You can expand the tab “Additional Details.” The Unique Container ID can be left blank and will be auto-generated by ChemTracker unless the lab prefers to use a specific identifier from a bar code/RFID or other system. If used, custom ID numbers must still be unique to all other tracked inventory.

  6. Additional details for the containers may be entered if available but are not required.

  7. When finished, select Submit to finish adding the containers to the inventory.

Performing an inventory reconciliation

  1. From your lab’s profile, click on ChemTracker, then on Reconciliation then Start a New Reconciliation.



  2. Select the building and space to be reconciled and click Submit to see a list of applicable containers. If applicable, lab(s) and/or specific location(s) can also be specified for reconciliation. Labs should generally select the “Use Checklist” method. Only labs using custom barcodes or RFID tags to track their containers should select the “Enter Container IDs” method.



  3. Containers which are still in use or storage should be marked as “Found” and will be retained in the ChemTracker inventory. Determine which containers on the list are present and mark them as “Found.” Once you have completed your review of a space, click Next. The example below shows that three 1L bottles of 70% Ethanol and one 4L bottle of 95% Ethanol were found during this reconciliation.



  4. This next page will show you which containers were not found in the previous step. You can now remove them from your ChemTracker inventory by selecting them here and clicking Next

  5. Select which containers should be removed from the ChemTracker inventory (generally, all containers which were not found) and confirm by clicking Next



  6. Finalize the inventory reconciliation on the next page to apply the updates. Your ChemTracker inventory will now be automatically updated for only the items that were found during reconciliation.

How do I edit the state of a chemical listing? (solid/liquid/gas)?

For chemicals linked to the chemical database, the physical state is built into the database itself and therefore cannot be changed. Instead, choose another chemical from the database, or add it as an unlinked chemical to add the physical state manually. If you cannot alter the state of your listed chemical, please contact EHS. 

How do I edit just one item (not bulk editing)?

Single containers can be edited by navigating to “View Inventory” within the “ChemTracker” section for their lab, then scrolling to the right and clicking the “edit” link next to the container.  There is also an icon (square with an arrow) in the top right corner of the inventory table that pops out the page in order to view more columns in one view.

Can we make the specific location note visible by default?

Unfortunately, the specific location note is only visible once you expand the advanced options, it cannot be viewed by default. 

How do I assign hazard groups to unlinked chemicals?

For chemicals linked to the database, hazard groups are also built into the chemical database per chemical type.  For unlinked chemicals, only EHS ChemTracker administrators can edit this information.

How do I move a chemical from one location to another?

To move a single container, click the “Edit” link for the container from the “View Inventory” page, then select the updated space within the “Location (space)” field.  To move multiple containers at once, use the “Bulk Edit” tool to select multiple containers, scroll to the bottom right and click the “Edit selected containers” button, then choose the updated room from the drop-down.  The Lab level or EHS level reconciliation tool may also be used to bulk update the location of many containers at once.