Transporting Chemicals

On Campus

Transporting chemicals by hand (i.e., walking while carrying chemicals or pushing a hand cart with chemicals) is appropriate within buildings and between USC buildings within the boundaries of USC-controlled property or a USC campus. Laboratory personnel shall NOT leave the boundary of USC campuses while transporting hazardous materials by hand. Observing safe work-practices is essential when performing this task in order to prevent accidental releases or exposures.

The following guidelines serve as the minimum acceptable practices for transporting hazardous materials on campus. These guidelines do not apply to radioactive materials or gas cylinders.

Note: Individual academic or administrative departments may establish more stringent requirements for transportation of such materials.

  • Use robust secondary containment (e.g., bottle carriers) for transporting chemicals and ensure caps are securely tightened.
    • Ensure that the secondary containment has a lid and that it is large enough to hold the contents of the chemical container in the event of breakage.
    • NOTE: Never transport incompatible chemicals in the same secondary containment.
  • Hand carts may be used to transport hazardous materials in secondary containment. While being transported, place chemicals in a basin or tray with at least a two-inch lip to prevent items from falling and to contain any potential spill.
  • If available, use a freight elevator to transport chemicals between floors.
  • While in transit, containers must be labeled with chemical name and corresponding hazards and shall be attended at all times.
    • Individuals transporting chemicals must be familiar with the material’s hazards and should know what to do in the event of a release or spill.
  • If relocated, update the chemical inventory to reflect the new storage location of chemicals.
  • PPE shall NOT be worn for transportation of chemicals which pass through office areas, between floors, or outside a building.
    • Items which are not safe to handle without PPE are NOT permitted to exit a laboratory and may NOT be transported outside of a laboratory.
  • PPE may be left on when transporting materials between labs in the same corridor.
    • To prevent possibility of contamination spreading, either no gloves are to be worn, or only one glove, leaving one clean hand exposed.


Off Campus

Transport of hazardous materials in motor vehicles is strictly regulated by the US Department of Transport (DOT; CCR Title 49 Subtitle B Chapter I). Transport of hazardous materials by USC laboratory personnel using motor vehicles is NOT allowed, except under the limited conditions specified in 49 CCR § 173.6 “Materials of trade exceptions” (MOTs). For off-campus relocation or over-the-road transportation, contact Hazmat ( for assistance.

NOTE: The use of personal vehicles to transport chemicals is strictly prohibited.

Laboratory Relocation

Laboratory personnel shall not undertake transportation of large quantities of hazardous materials during laboratory relocation. Hazmat may be able to move hazardous materials within the boundaries of a campus, or will recommend a licensed professional vendor if quantities are large. If a relocation is planned, please contact and well before the date of the intended move, providing as much information as possible.

Mailing of Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials may NOT be sent using USC internal mail service. Sending of hazardous materials by parcel carriers (UPS, FedEx, etc.) is heavily regulated (49 CFR and other codes), including stringent documentation, packing, and labeling requirements. There may also be registration and training requirements in order to be approved by your shipping company as an originator of hazardous shipments. There may be less onerous “limited quantity” and de minimis shipping options available for small size shipments such as samples for analysis. Contact your shipping company for more information, and follow exactly all of their hazmat requirements.