The HSE-gateway


Information about hazardous chemicals, safe storage of chemicals, substitution, and potentially explosive chemicals.

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Hazardous chemicals

Guidelines for the use of chemicals. Hazardous chemicals are substances or compounds that may pose a risk to health, safety or the environment. UiB therefore practices zero emissions to wastewater. No hazardous chemicals or environmentally harmful substances should be rinsed down the sink.


The use of chemicals at UiB is regulated in the Guidelines for Use and Handling of Chemicals.
All chemicals must be registered in the chemical index, this is regulated in the Guidelines for chemical inventory (NO only).
Waste management of chemicals is regulated in the Guidelines for disposal and disposal of hazardous and problematic waste, radioactive waste and explosive waste.

Examples of hazardous chemicals

Toxic substances:

Such chemicals can cause acute or chronic health effects if inhaled, swallowed or come into contact with the skin. Examples include lead, mercury, arsenic and many pesticides.

Flammable substances:

These are chemicals that can ignite easily and contribute to the spread of fires. Examples include fuels, solvents, flammable gases, and certain chemicals used in manufacturing processes.

Explosive substances:

Chemicals that may explode under certain conditions, such as at high temperatures or when exposed to impact or friction. Dynamite and gunpowder are examples of explosive substances.

Corrosive substances:

These chemicals can cause damage to materials, including metals and living tissues. Strong acids and bases are examples of corrosive substances.

Environmentally harmful substances:

Chemicals that can contaminate soil, water or air and harm ecosystems and living organisms. This can include pollutants such as heavy metals, chemical solvents and industrial waste products.

Substitution of hazardous chemicals

Substitute chemicals hazardous to health and the environment with alternatives that pose less risk.

The substitution obligation

One of the most important measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of harm to health and the environment when handling chemicals is to replace the hazardous chemicals with alternatives that pose less risk. Everyone who handles hazardous chemicals is obliged in accordance with the substitution obligation to assess whether the chemical can be replaced. In addition to reducing the risk of damage to health and the environment, the University's total costs will also be reduced by eliminating the need for fume hoods, personal protective equipment and treatment of hazardous waste. 

Help to replace hazardous chemicals

In the project "Substitution", UiB has, together with the framework agreement supplier for chemicals and relevant user environments at the University, focused on the replacement of hazardous chemicals. Many UiB employees have already received help to replace hazardous chemicals with good alternatives. A list has been drawn up of the chemicals that can be safely replaced.
On the Sigma-Aldrich website you will find information about "Greener Alternatives" and an overview of products that help reduce chemical impact on human health and reduce pollution of the environment through a sustainable prevention program. 

Substances not to be used at UiB


From August 24, 2023, all users of diisocyanates and diisocyanate-containing mixtures must have completed safe use training with approved results. It must be possible to document the training. 
A survey of different locations at UiB shows that products containing diisocyanates are used to a very small extent at UiB. The recommendation is therefore that these types of products should not be used at UiB. 
If someone nevertheless needs to use products containing diisocyanates, they must contact the Occupational Health Service by email bht@uib.no as soon as possible.
Diisocyanates are used in various sealing materials and means for surface preparation. Examples are in construction foam, grout foam, glue, paint, varnish, etc.
Diisocyanates are highly sensitizing (allergenic). Last year alone, this type of sensitization was detected in about 5,000 people in Europe. Skin-to-skin contact is the most common route of exposure, but one can also be exposed via inhalation. If you become sensitized, it can make everyday life much more difficult. Among other things, you can react allergic to the mattress you sleep on, the car you have, etc. Typical allergies can cause asthma or skin problems.


It is currently prohibited to produce, import, export, sell and use substances or mixtures containing mercury or mercury compounds. The prohibition also covers substances and mixtures for analysis and research purposes.
Mercury is a very hazardous substance. It is one of the most dangerous pollutants, and poses a threat to the environment and human health:

  • Poisoning can occur if you breathe in mercury vapour.
  • Mercury compounds can cause chronic toxic effects, even in very small concentrations. This can cause kidney damage and motor and mental disturbances as a result of damage to the central nervous system.
  • Mercury can be absorbed by both humans and animals, and it takes a long time for the mercury to be excreted by organisms. Mercury is concentrated in the food chain.
  • Mercury can cause birth defects.

Remember that energy-saving bulbs often contain mercury, so they must be disposed of as EE-waste.

Chemical storage

Chemicals should be stored according to their properties and reactivity. As little chemicals as possible should be stored in the workplace.

General information on the storage of chemicals

Chemicals that are in regular use must be stored in approved chemical cabinets in the laboratory. Chemicals that are not in daily use shall be stored in storage rooms intended for the type of chemicals in question. Chemicals must always be stored in suitable chemical packaging, preferably original packaging, and be clearly labelled in accordance with the Declaration Regulations.

Rooms in which chemicals are stored must always be locked and clearly marked with the risks associated with the room. Please note that some chemicals cannot be stored together. Some chemicals can start chemical reactions with and without the influence of the environment, for example by forming explosive peroxides, see peroxide-forming chemicals.

The units must always have an overview of which chemicals are stored where, and in what quantities. Such a report can be obtained from the Chemical inventory.
Information on storage of the chemicals can be found in the Safety Data Sheet in section 7.

Inorganic and organic chemicals

Inorganic and organic chemicals must not be stored together. They may be in the same room, but must be physically separated by, for example, standing on opposite sides of the room.

Acids and bases

Acids and bases must be stored separately and not together with other chemical compounds. The ventilation system from a cabinet or room in which acids are stored must be resistant to corrosion, both ducts and fans. The type of acid vapour produced must be checked in relation to whether it is lighter and/or heavier than air.

Toxic chemicals

Store in locked cabinets and connect to ventilation if needed.

Flammable chemicals

Flammable chemicals must be stored in approved fire cabinets connected to ventilation. They must not be stored together with other chemicals. Large quantities of flammable chemicals should be stored in separate rooms that are designed in such a way that no fire or explosion can occur. This means, among other things, that luminaires, sockets, etc. must be EX-approved. The same applies to requirements for the ventilation system (ducts and fans) from a cabinet or room where flammable chemicals are stored. It is also required that the ventilation provides sufficient ventilation, that the room has a sufficient pressure-relief surface that is positioned so that it does not endanger the surroundings and that the room is fire resistant (shelves, cabinets, walls, ceiling and floor). There should be exhaust both at the floor and ceiling. It is not permitted to engage in bottling or other activities in rooms where flammable chemicals are stored.

Incompatible chemicals

The use and storage of incompatible chemicals requires serious attention.

Incompatible chemicals

A number of chemicals react very dangerously with another when mixed. One must be aware of these chemicals at all times both in terms of use, transport, storage and disposal of chemicals.
When using and storing, particular attention must be paid to these chemicals and groups of compounds, to avoid accidents and injuries to people, the environment, and materials. To aid in identification, a matrix of groups of incompatible chemicals has been prepared.
NB! Always check Safety Data Sheet chapter 10 - Stability and Reactivity before storing and working with chemicals.

Matrix of incompatible chemicals

Explosive and potentially explosive chemicals

Contains information on explosive chemicals, peroxide-forming chemicals and chemicals sensitive to heat and shock.

Explosive substances

Anyone working with this type of chemical must be aware of the chemical compounds that can be potentially explosive, either when purchased, stored over time or during use. Check whether the chemicals can be disposed of in a safe and proper manner before purchasing.
The potentially explosive compounds must be handled in such a way as to avoid the occurrence of dangerous situations. Common to all of them is that one should try to find substitute material where possible (the substitution obligation).

Read more in: The Working Environment Act § 4-5

Explosive when purchasing

Chemicals that are explosive when purchased must be handled properly and according to specific procedures.
A good method to avoid having problems with old explosive substances is to buy as little quantity as possible and not more than one needs.
The chemicals should be checked quarterly (every 3 months), to check for moisture. If they start to dry out, refill with suitable liquid (the compounds absolutely must not dry out, as the risk of explosion is imminent).
The bottles with explosive compounds must have special labels (see labelling).
Attempts should be made to find replacement material where possible (the substitution obligation). If this is not possible, those who must use such substances must learn to recognize them and to handle them properly.


The bottles with compounds that are explosive when purchased shall have special labels where it must be noted:
•    Marked EXPLOSIVE.
•    Date of receipt of goods.
•    Date first opened.
•    Signature on the one who first opened the item.
•    Date and signature of when the chemical(s) were last inspected.
•    Tags can be printed on self-sticking notes 


Explosive compounds can be delivered as hazardous waste. Please contact the waste socket for your unit prior to disposal.

Peroxide-forming chemicals

Peroxide-forming chemicals are potentially explosive and should be handled properly and according to specific routines.

List of chemicals that can form explosive peroxide

There are many compounds that have the characteristic peroxide; O-O-bond. The bulk of these substances are flammable liquids and must be handled with care. These compounds do not enter under the peroxide-forming substance. However, there are some organic and inorganic compounds that can react with oxygen in air to form potentially explosive peroxide. The most common peroxide-forming compounds are listed below (the lists are not complete).

A good method to avoid having problems with old peroxide-forming chemicals is to not buy in larger quantities than needed, and to use the solvents and substances according to the "first in, first out" principle. Peroxide and peroxide-forming compounds should be stored at the lowest possible temperature, away from light and heat. If a refrigerator is used for storage, one must be sure that the cabinet is suitable for the purpose.

Never use metal spatulas when working with peroxide. Contamination of metal can lead to explosive degradation substances. Also, remember that most peroxide-forming chemicals are volatile and easy to set on fire. Therefore, work in well-ventilated extractors and avoid ignition sources.

The bottles containing peroxide-forming substances must have special labels.


One shall try to find substitute material where possible (the duty of substitution). If this is not possible, those who must use such substances must learn to recognize the substances and to handle them properly.

Test for peroxide

Avoid distilling chemicals that contain peroxide. Always test for peroxide before distilling or vaping into peroxide-forming solvent. If test positive, remove the peroxides before use. If peroxide-forming compounds have been opened and more than one year has passed, the substance(s) should be delivered as hazardous waste.

The chemicals falling under the category of peroxide diffuser should be checked with regard to formed peroxide thickening, every quarter (every 3 months) after the bottle is opened and before using the compounds. There are several methods for testing peroxide. For example, the test strips are light and convenient to use, but not as universal and sensitive as, for example, the iron thiocyanate test, and storage time is limited.

Do not test or handle peroxide-forming chemicals where: 

  • One is unsure of age
  • The bottle has been opened but not tested for two years
  • One has visible crystals or precipitates
  • A viscous oil layer is formed


The bottles containing peroxide forming substances shall have a special label in which it shall be noted:

  • Marked with PEROXIDE FORMER.
  • Date of receipt of goods.
  • Date first opened.
  • Signature on the one who first opened the item.
  • Date and signature of when the chemical(s) were last checked.
  • Tags can be printed on self-sticking notes 


Test all peroxide-forming chemicals before use and disposal. If the test is positive with respect to formed peroxide, one must determine the concentration before one can decide what to do:

  • Concentration between 0-3000 ppm (mg/l): The substance can be delivered as hazardous waste. In accordance with ADR, chemicals containing a maximum of 0.3 % peroxide can be sent - equivalent to 3000 ppm (ADR chapter
  • Cencentration above 3000 ppm - Explosive compounds: contact HSE and emergency preparedness expert group
  • Hazardous waste 

Testing of peroxide

There are several different test methods and the methods described below can be applied to most organic spray agents. There is no appropriate, simple testing procedure for determining peroxide in chemicals such as alkali metal, alkali metal, alkoxide, amide or organometals.

Iodine test of peroxide

  • Add 0.5-1.0 ml of the liquid you want to test to about the same amount of glacial acetic acid in which one has added 0.1 g of sodium iodide (NaI) or potassium iodide (CI) crystals.
  • A yellow color indicates a low concentration of peroxide in the sample.
  • A brown color indicates that there is a high concentration.
  • One should also make a blank determination.
  • Always prepare a fresh new solution with iodide/icing acetic acid before use, because it is seen that after some time the blank sample will turn brown due to air sensitivity.

Iron thiocyanate test of peroxide

  • One drop of the solution to be tested is mixed with a drop of reagent solution.
  • Pink or red colour indicates that one has peroxide present.
  • Reagent solution: 9 g iron(II) sulphate heptahydrate (FeSO4·7H2O) in 50 ml 18% hydrochloric acid (HCl). Add 0.5-1.0 g of granulated zinc (Zn) and then 5 g of sodium thiocyanate (NaSCN).

When the translucent red colour disappears, add 12 g or more of sodium thiocyanate (NaSCN) and decant the solution from unused zinc (Zn) into a clean bottle.

Titanium(IV)oxy sulphate test of peroxide

  • Take out 1 ml of sample and add 1 ml of reagent.
  • Shake and let the mixture stand for at least 2 minutes, observing the color.
  • Compare to the calibration/standard curve.
  • Reagent solution: This is a ready-made titanium(IV) oxy sulphate (TiOSO4) solution in 27-31% sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Fluka No. 89532.

See the picture below for the standard basket for peroxide. To be on the safe side when it comes to colour determination, it is recommended that the concentration does not exceed 1500 ppm. The concentration is given as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

peroxide concentration

Peroxide test strips

  • Test strips are commercially available from several chemical suppliers.
  • Use the test strips as described in the instructions for use.

Sample supplier and product number: Sigma-Aldrich: Aldrich, Quantofix no. Z249254 (0-25 mg/l). Aldrich, Quantofix No. Z101680 (0-100 mg/l).

Sensitive, heat and shock

Chemicals that are sensitive to heat and shock require special attention. Heat-initiated decomposition of some compounds can vera instantaneous. Lights, mechanical shocks, and some catalysts can also initiate an explosive reaction.

In general, compounds containing the following functional groups will be sensitive to heat and shock:

  • perchlorate, ClO4-azide, N3-
  • chlorate, ClO3-diazo, RN2
  • chlorite, ClO2-nitroso, RNO
  • nitrate, NO3-ozonide, 5-ring; -O-C-O-C-O-
  • picrat, saltar of picric acid peroxide, -O-O- (inorganic and organic)
  • acetylide, RCΞ C-bromate and iodate, XO3-

(the list is not exhaustive)

Compounds with these functional groups can be both the starting ingredient or a reaction product, but in any case special attention must be paid if one has to use these groups of substances. Replacement material should be available where possible (cf. the substitution obligation).

Some factors to help make use as safe as possible

  • Plan the experiment carefully and go through any special techniques.
  • Work in a neat and clean laboratory.
  • Use the least amount of the reagent.
  • Keep the chemical separated from other compounds with which it may react unwanted/explosively.
  • If the fabric is unstable, the minimum security will be to have a special screen on the workbench.
  • Familiarize yourself with and understand the dangers of use. If the drug has a stability problem, one must understand how sensitive it is and what needs to be done to prevent it from "going off."
  • Wear appropriate personal protective clothing (goggles, face shield, gloves, or special weather clothing if necessary).