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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Chemical Management

TRU has joined an ever-growing number of universities across Canada in adopting the HECHMET system for hazardous materials management.

This system is based on Vertére’s chemical inventory management module and will ensure that TRU has up-to-date inventories that are easily accessible while providing valuable information for regulatory reporting and incident response.

The purpose of this initiative is to comply with the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act and BC Occupational Health and Safety regulations to reduce the overall risk associated with using, handling, and storing chemical products or agents.

Any laboratory or department without an up-to-date chemical inventory and associated Safety Data Sheets is in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and BC OHS Regulations. The TRU community also has access to MSDSOnline to help manage SDSs and chemical labelling on campus.

What is HECHMET?

HECHMET (Higher Education Cooperative for Hazardous Material and Equipment Tracking) is a consortium of Canadian universities using Vertére Inventory Manager (VIM) software, a modular, web-based enterprise application used to track chemicals and other materials within the university’s working environment. Hazardous chemicals are tagged with a unique barcode label that cross-references to:

  • Storage location
  • Principal Investigator (PI) or Responsible Person - person responsible for the item/inventory
  • Chemical properties and information
  • SDS-related information through MSDSOnline – not integrated into HECHMET
  • Other information (e.g., information is secured using Access Levels assigned to HECHMET users)
  • The chemical inventory system allows the TRU to effectively:
  • Track chemicals from receipt to disposal using barcode labels
  • Monitor the locations and types of hazardous materials present
  • Provide valuable information to First Responders and or regulators as required
  • Facilitate appropriate disposal
  • Comply with regulatory requirements
  • Encourage informed sharing among colleagues to reduce waste and cost


Initial inventory set-up: User and location trees have been created within the HECHMET inventory by OSEM. The Science department responsible person, with the support of OSEM, will come to research labs during a predetermined period, add barcode labels to the chemicals stored in the lab and enter the chemicals into your lab-specific inventory, and assign them to the researcher who will become the PI. General departmental inventories will be added into the system by location through the Responsible Person for the departmental inventory (Lab Tech(s)) with the support of OSEM. Inventory addition will start in the summer of 2022 with Chemistry and once the department is on-boarded and functional all subsequent departments and labs will be added, one at a time.

Ongoing inventory maintenance

Refer to the Chemical Inventory Management System Program here, for required maintenance and responsibility breakdowns by department and roles.

All chemicals will be received by the warehouse and initially entered into the system, assigned as per the purchase requisition. Most chemicals will be delivered to the Chemical Storage Facility (CSF) for general departmental use and as required for some researchers. Other researchers or departments may have their chemicals delivered to their Lab, Studio or Shop directly. Warehouse will assign all chemicals to their respective delivery locations, which will automatically assign them to that inventories Responsible Person (RP) or Principle Investigator (PI). As each inventory is added into the system a new location branch and assigned person will be added to the system. OSEM will work with departments to set up their inventories and ensure the RP/PI know their responsibilities and how to use the system.

What is included in the inventory?

  • Flammable/combustible liquids
  • Flammable solids
  • Oxidizers
  • Organic peroxides
  • Toxins/poisons (e.g. biological toxins, dyes, adhesives)
  • Corrosives
  • Controlled products and substances
  • Working dilutions/compounds for labs/research prepared on site (optional)

What is NOT included in the inventory?

  • Stains and dyes for making microscope slides
  • Non-hazardous buffers
  • Tissue culture supplies
  • Biological growth media (e.g. agar)
  • Enzyme preparations
  • Products available for retail purchase (e.g. household cleaners, paint thinner)
  • Hazardous chemicals under 1 g or 1 ml in weight or volume (unless requested by a department/PI/RP)
  • Radioactive materials
  • Biohazardous materials
  • Non-hazardous/non-regulated substances (e.g. glucose, sodium bicarbonate)

How to order chemicals to ensure your inventory is accurate

All-new chemicals shipped to your department will be bar-coded and entered into the TRU Vertére Chemical Inventory Management System. Designated staff members in the Warehouse will barcode the chemical and enter it into the system to the appropriate lab (or storage location i.e. CSF), which will automatically assign the primary investigator (i.e. researcher). All this work will be done for you and will ensure the accuracy of your inventory and allow for the process efficiency.

When purchasing chemicals, it is very important that you include the lab or storage location (i.e. CSF) location to which the chemicals will be going (room number and building) as all lab locations have been assigned to PI’s in the chemical inventory system. Doing so will assist the bar-coding individual in assigning a chemical to the appropriate location and person.

If you receive a chemical that does not have a barcode on it, please contact the designated person in your department (or OSEM) so that chemical can be bar-coded and entered it into the system.

Additional information

While the chemical inventory offers various advantages to the entire University community, users are also able to use it to:

  • Search by chemical name, location, room
  • Note if a chemical is running low so that more can be ordered
  • Export or print search results for future reference
  • Perform quick and accurate physical inventory reconciliation of their inventories
  • Provides comprehensive inventory control and security to better inform cost, budgeting and usage management

All principal investigators will be provided with a unique username and password via email. A general user account will be created per department and research lab to allow those that need it access to view the chemical inventory. The general user account is appropriate for general faculty members who are not PI/RP and students.

Resources to use HECHMET

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