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Make Time this May to Organize and Label All Chemicals

Facilities Safety

To support University of Michigan researchers in their efforts to reduce the number of mislabeled or unlabeled chemicals, the Research Academic Safety Committee (RASC) is encouraging all laboratories to set aside time during the month of May to organize and properly label chemicals and other substances being stored in their space(s).

Any expired or unneeded chemicals, reagents, or solvents should be properly disposed of. To request waste pickup or supplies, contact EHS Hazardous Materials Management at (734) 763-4568 or complete an online Waste and Supply Request Form.

The RASC is committed to supporting a safe work environment for all U-M employees and greatly appreciates the efforts of all research community members.

Chemical Secondary Labeling Resources

Many university workplaces, including laboratories and other facilities, purchase hazardous chemicals or products in large quantities, concentrates, or for mixing with other chemicals.

To use the chemical/product, it may need to be transferred from the original labeled container to a smaller or different “secondary” container (e.g., vials, flasks, bottles) for dilution, mixing, or general use. Secondary containers of chemicals and any in-house dilutions made from stock chemical bottles are required to be labeled with the following information:

  • Full chemical name (no abbreviations)
  • Concentration (e.g., percent, molarity)
  • Hazards, if known or suspected (e.g., “flammable”, “corrosive”, “irritant”)

If a hazardous chemical is transferred into a secondary container, the secondary container must be correctly labeled to ensure workers are readily aware of the contents and understand the hazards. Labels can be handwritten or printed.

Secondary container labels are NOT required if BOTH of the following apply:

  • The reagent, stock solution, and chemicals mixed for use are under the direct control of the person who transferred or prepared it; and
  • The container will be emptied during that person’s work shift.


EHS has developed templates for laboratories to make their own customized labels for use on secondary chemical containers. All templates are sized for printing on Avery 5137 2” x 4” label sheets:

EHS has a limited selection of secondary chemical container labels that laboratories can request. For more information, and to place an order, complete this Google Form. Labels will be delivered via campus mail.

In addition, the GoldFFX Safety Data Sheet Program has the capability of creating and printing various size labels for use in the laboratory.


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