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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

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Safety Procedures for the Department of Chemistry

Safety, Chemical Hygiene, Environmental Compliance

Department safety, chemical hygiene, and environmental compliance programs are coordinated by the safety manager. These programs include periodic inspections of all laboratories, shops, and other facilities; mandatory safety orientations for new members of the department and continuing training programs. A library of laboratory health and safety references can be found in 121 Baker Laboratory.

A faculty safety committee serves the department chair in an advisory capacity and proposes policies for faculty review. Each principal investigator is responsible for safety within the research group and appoints a group safety representative (GSR). The GSR conducts safety inspections of the group's facilities, acts as a liaison to the safety manager and committee and assists the PI in implementing safe practices.

Procedures and policies specific to the department can be found on the Chemistry Department Safety Blog.


Individuals working in a laboratory within the Physical Sciences Complex are required to complete Fire Safety training, Laboratory Safety, and Chemical Waste Disposal training prior to beginning work in the lab. Additional training such as Laser Safety, Electrical Safety, Radiation Safety, and Bloodborne Pathogens may be required based on anticipated use.

Individuals who will not be working in laboratories but may be exposed to chemicals in non-laboratory environments are required to complete Fire Safety training and Hazard Communication.

Those working in office areas must complete Cornell University Health & Safety Basics and Fire Safety training.

The EH&S Training Tool can be used to help determine the appropriate required and recommended training. Required training must be completed prior to beginning work involving that hazard.

Most training is available online through CU LEARN.

Surplus Chemicals

As part of the sustainability and waste minimization effort, Cornell University maintains a surplus chemical recycling program available for Cornell researchers.

*Please note, this program is not open to non-Cornell members.

If you have chemicals that you would like to donate to the surplus chemical recycling program, use the Surplus Chemical Request/Donation Form. Only donate chemicals that are in their original containers, unopened, or in very good condition with the labels intact which are likely to be used in other areas on campus.

Chemicals requests are placed using the Surplus Chemical Request/Donation Form. EH&S will respond within 3 days if the chemical is available. Chemicals will be delivered on Cornell's Ithaca campus on Wednesdays and Fridays. Arrangements can also be made to pick up the chemicals at the Environmental Health and Safety building at 201 Palm Road. If you would like to subscribe to receive a certain chemical when it becomes available, then please use the Surplus Chemical Subscription Form.

Waste Chemicals

Federal, New York State, and Cornell University regulations require that all waste chemicals generated in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology be disposed of properly. The primary responsibility for waste disposal lies with the generator of the waste. Chemicals that may be disposed of in the trash or down the drain are listed in the waste disposal section of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Properly packaged, identified and labeled waste chemicals not eligible for drain or trash disposal will be picked up by Cornell Environmental Health and Safety. Research groups generating significant quantities of waste are on a weekly pickup schedule; others should complete this form to request a pickup. Information concerning waste disposal is available from EH&S, 607-255-8200.

Contact Info


Dial 911 from a department phone or use a direct dial emergency phone.

Dial 255-1111 from a cell phone.

Primary Contact:

Keane Leitch, Safety Manager
121 Baker Laboratory

Other Department Contacts:

David Neish, Facility Manager
Flooding, Facilities Emergencies:
7:30 - 4:00 M-F:
 * 607-255-7309
All other times:
 * 607-255-5322
Olin Chemistry Research Wing, Room B76

Other University Contacts:

  • Cornell Police (Fire, Police, Ambulance): 911
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • General Safety and Fire Prevention
  • Hazardous Waste Disposal
  • Radiation Safety
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Biological Safety