Intra and Inter-Building Laboratory Hazardous Substances Transportation Procedure


Daily campus laboratory operations often require the movement of hazardous materials and waste through public access ways.  Strict policy governs anyone moving laboratory hazardous materials and waste through spaces such as corridors, elevators, and public campus streets and sidewalks.

Hazardous materials include chemical, biological, radioactive and physical materials which present a risk to people or property from their inherent nature. Materials presenting a physical hazard are primarily comprised of compressed gas cylinders that have contents under pressure or extreme temperatures. 

Explosives and pyrophoric chemicals also present physical hazards.

In general, hazardous waste is similar to hazardous material, except that it is no longer serves a useful purpose on campus and it is ready to be properly disposed.


Hazard material – are products that are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property when transported by air, rail, ground, or sea.

Hazardous waste – a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.

Hazard substance – Includes hazardous material and/or waste.

The movement of waste and materials on campus is defined in two ways:

Intra-building – Transportation which take place inside the same building. When hazardous substances can be transported between adjacent buildings without going outside, it is considered intra-building transport. This is usually accomplished using a cart or up to two hand-held safety totes as shown.

Inter-building – Transportation that requires movement between two, non-connected University buildings. These moves generally require a university-owned golf cart vehicle

High-Risk Chemicals

Some hazardous materials and waste present very high levels of risk. The following classes of chemicals may not be transported outside of laboratories by anyone except the campus Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO), Environmental Health Safety (EHS), and lab technicians.

  • Explosives
  • Pyrophoric Chemicals
  • Water Reactive Chemicals
  • Shock Sensitive Material
  • Radioactive Material

Contact the CHO or EHS if you discover any potentially explosive or unstable materials. These include but are not limited to:

  • Expired peroxide formers with visible signs of peroxide formation (needle like structures or crystals around lid or inside the container)
  • Explosives or flammable solids that are explosive when dry including picric acid and 2, -4 dinitrophenyl hydrazine
  • Nitrocellulose
  • Any compound that is considered reactive or explosive due to exposure to air, light, shock, friction, or heat
  • Leaking containers of any hazardous material

Permissions to Transport

Within buildings, staff, faculty, and lab technicians may transport hazardous materials and hazardous waste. Lab technicians may also transport hazardous waste within buildings. Only the campus Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) and EHS staff may transport hazardous materials and waste between buildings (inter-building) which includes transportation of waste from buildings to the main hazardous waste storage area, located at Central Plant. Shipping & Receiving department are allowed to transport hazardous materials between buildings and around campus. Students are not permitted to transport hazardous material or waste outside of their working laboratories. The following table describes permissions to transport by job classification.

Permissions to Transport Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste


Class of Material/WasteSpecific Staff/FacultyStaff/FacultyLab TechsS&REHS/CHO
Hazardous materials intra-buildingXXXXX
Hazardous materials inter-buildingXXX
Hazardous waste intra-buildingXXXX
Hazardous waste inter-buildingX

X = indicates that transport may be performed

Required Training

All staff handling hazardous substances are required to complete and remain current with all required laboratory safety training. This includes completion of initial training and all required refresher courses.

All employees must be fully aware of the hazards of the materials they are transporting. This includes reviewing Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), if necessary, prior to transport.

Selection of Appropriate Secondary Containment for Transfer

When transporting substances through public spaces it is critical that secondary containment is used. The purpose of the secondary containment is to prevent spills and exposures during transport.

The selected container should meet all the following criteria:

  • Easily cleanable
  • Can be closed (if biohazardous)
  • Chemically compatible
  • Volume is equal to 110% or greater of the hazardous material or waste transported

Utilize carts when possible to reduce the chances of dropping material. Cart use does not negate the requirement for use of a secondary container. Carts used for inter-building transport should also be shock resistant to road surfaces.

Moving the Materials/Waste

The following requirements apply to the movement of hazardous materials and waste inter-building and intra-building:

  • Secondary containment is required.
  • Never leave materials unattended at any time.
  • Gloved hands are not to contact any surface outside of the lab. Secondary containers should be decontaminated by laboratory personnel as necessary prior to movement to pre-empt the need for gloves.
  • When using an elevator, advice other passengers of the presence of hazardous substances prior to their entering the elevator.

Moving the Materials/Waste by Vehicle

Transport by vehicle is limited to a total of 15 gallons of liquid and 50 pounds of solid materials in a cart. Leaking, damaged, or open containers are not permitted for transport. Only EHS or the CSUDH hazardous waste vendor may pick these containers up from the source location.

All loose containers of hazardous materials for vehicle transport must be segregated and packed upright into boxes, in one layer, with cushioning. Incompatibles must be separated. Buckets and other sturdy individual containers can be transported as-is as long as they in sound condition. Material must be loaded in the vehicle away from incompatible materials, upright, and in a manner that prevents them from tipping over.

Prior to moving material choose a route that minimizes risk to others. Considerations to make include not passing through break areas or where students are present.

Requirements for Compressed and Liquefied Gas

When transporting compressed gas cylinders, the cylinder must be chained to a suitable gas cylinder hand truck and the valve must be protected with a cover cap. Gas cylinders must never be left unattended. When transporting cylinders or tanks in an elevator, additional passengers are prohibited.

Requirements for Biohazardous Waste

Biohazardous waste must be transported in double red bags held in rigid, closed, leak-proof containers with biohazard labels on the top and side. Biohazardous waste must be under direct control of the responsible laboratory until it is removed by CSUDH biohazardous waste vendor. Hand carrying bags or bags on open carts are strictly prohibited.