Chemical Inventory

Western’s Central Chemical Inventory System

Why is it Necessary?

Occupational Health and Safety is committed to helping manage and reduce the risk associated with working with hazardous materials. With governmental safety standards regarding the management of these materials continuously changing, the University has implemented an online chemical inventory system, HECHMET (Higher Education Cooperative for Hazardous Materials and Equipment Tracking), in order to comply with these changes and to make future adjustments more effortless.

Why is it Valuable?

HECHMET is an online database currently being used by Western to create a university-wide chemical inventory. This central chemical inventory has the capability to:

    • Provide an inventory with real time updates and changes
      • Avoids unnecessary repurchasing of chemicals
      • Allows for intra/inter-departmental collaboration of chemicals
      • Save time by assisting researchers to quickly locate chemicals
    • Assess the present chemical hazards in a given lab and around campus
      • Produce convenient and accessible reports for emergency response teams
      • Eliminate risks by awareness of potential hazards
    • Provide unique information about each chemical
      • i.e. chemical & physical properties, storage location, expiration date and SDS information via the ChemWatch link
    • No longer a need for physical copies of SDS in labs
    • Monitor compliance
      • Determine which chemicals are outdated and should be disposed of

How was it Implemented?

For chemicals already existing in labs - The inventory implementation was completed in October 2019. All chemicals that were already in labs were added to the inventory and assigned a unique barcode.

For newly ordered chemicals – Upon arrival, the new chemical will be received at one of four receiving locations around campus. A barcode will be issued for that chemical and the lab will obtain their chemical via their normal process. If a chemical reaches a lab without a barcode attached, please contact your department’s Health and Safety representative.

Note: If the barcode is placed on the chemical packaging, please remove the barcode and attach it to the chemical container once the packaging is opened.

What is Included in the Inventory?

  • Generally stored chemicals
  • Flammable chemicals (including solvents and solids)
  • Oxidizers
  • Toxins (including dyes)
  • Corrosives
  • Gas cylinders
  • All controlled products
  • Retail product: bleach

What is Exempt?

  • Solutions/chemicals prepared on site (require Workplace Labels)
  • Non-hazardous buffers or substances (e.g. glucose, table salt)
  • Tissue culture supplies, growth media, enzymes
  • Retail products (exception: bleach)
  • Hazardous chemicals less than 1g/m

Working in a Post-Inventoried Era

The HECHMET Inventory system acts as a great tool for researchers by making chemicals much easier to locate and obtain. Each PI is given two user accounts. One account is “View Only” which is given to research groups who can view items in their inventory and also search for where they can find chemicals they do not currently have. The other user account is “Inventory Manager” which allows viewing and searching, as well as the transfer of chemicals into their appropriate locations when/if moved. (Instructions linked below).

To keep the Central Chemical Inventory System running smoothly:

PIs are required to - transfer newly received items to their appropriate sub-location in their inventory upon acquisition of said chemical. (A link to instructions for “Transferring” is below). This duty can also be assigned to a designate of the lab at the PI’s discretion.

All lab members are required to - Remove the barcode from a container once that container becomes empty.  The lab member must and affix the barcode to the “Barcode Disposal” sheet posted in the lab.

Once a month, or whenever it has been filled, the Barcode Disposal sheet must be sent to the corresponding department personnel so the used chemicals can be removed from the inventory. The chemical itself is discarded as hazardous waste as usual.

For more information, please contact Anne Marie McCusker, Health and Safety Consultant (Laboratory), at or at extension 84741.

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