Transporting Chemicals

Procedures for Transporting Chemicals

Anyone moving chemicals through public spaces such as corridors or elevators must follow these procedures to avoid spills and ensure the safety of others.

  • Individuals transporting chemicals through public spaces must be familiar with the material’s hazards and know what to do in the event of a release or spill. Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) are a good source for this information. Materials that are unstable, explosive, or extremely or acutely hazardous should not be moved without first contacting the Chemical Management Center.
  • Hazardous chemicals must be attended to at all times while being transported. Never leave chemicals unattended in public spaces.
  • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Safety glasses and lab coats are two items of PPE that should be worn if hazardous chemicals might splash on skin or eyes if spilled during transport. Have impermeable gloves ready in a pocket.
  • Note that it is not appropriate to wear gloves in public spaces.
  • Chemicals must be transported in break-resistant or approved secondary containers that are capable of containing all materials in the event of breakage or spill. Approved secondary containers are defined as commercially available bottle carriers made of rubber, metal, or plastic, with carrying handle(s).

Another acceptable secondary containment is a cart with leak resistant lips on all four sides. If using a cart without leak resistant lips, the chemicals should be placed in plastic bins or shipping boxes with padded packing material.

  • When transporting compressed gas cylinders, the cylinder must be strapped in a suitable hand truck and the valve must be protected with a cover cap.
  • Contact the Chemical Management Center if you have questions about what type of secondary containment is appropriate for your chemicals.
  • Do not carry containers by hand. Use bottle carriers or carts with secondary containment.
  • Sturdy carts with secondary containment should be used for transporting multiple, large, or heavy containers.
  • The Chemical Management freight elevators should be used for moving chemicals between floors. If freight elevators are not available, use a passenger elevator that is not crowded. Stairs should be used only if elevators are not available.
  • Chemical inventories should be updated to reflect the relocation of chemicals.