Ohio State University Extension http://agsafety.osu.edu

Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Ohio State University Extension

Lab Safety: Chemical and Biological Labs

The purpose of this standard is to ensure employees who work in laboratories are protected from hazardous chemicals.  Chemical safety involves all phases of chemical use from procurement, storage, transportation, manipulation, decontamination and disposal.
 
The Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) development tool should be used to develop a laboratory specific plan which is required for all laboratories with hazardous substances.  Laboratory Safety training is available online or by contacting EHS at 614-292-1284.  A Chemical Exposure Monitoring Program has been developed to ensure employees are not being exposed to levels above Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs).  Medical Surveillance, due to exposures, may be necessary and is provided through University Health Services.
 
Laboratory safety inspections are conducted routinely to help determine compliance with Federal and State regulations and to promote a culture of safety.
 
Employee Responsibilities:
Before working with chemicals, personnel should familiarize themselves with the hazards and potential risks associated with them.  The chemical’s toxicological and physical hazards should be evaluated and the appropriate precautions taken to eliminate or reduce the inherent risks.  Employees should be familiar with the Chemical Hygiene Plan, know locations of Safety Data Sheets and attend appropriate training.  Unsafe conditions should be brought to the attention of the principal investigator (PI).
 
Departmental and Principal Investigator Responsibilities:
Departments and/or laboratory PIs are responsible for assigning personnel to ensure exposures are at or below PELs and implementing measures to eliminate or control workplace hazards.  This is accomplished through employee exposure determinations; development and implementation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan; development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); employee information and training; medical consultation and examination; hazard identification; use of personal protective equipment; and recordkeeping.
 
PIs are responsible to ensure the CHP is accessible to all employees; appropriate signage is used at the entrance to and within the laboratory; an evacuation map is available in each laboratory; training is provided and records maintained for the PI and all personnel; chemical inventory and safety data sheets are maintained and accessible; all containers are labeled; special procedures are developed and shared; and ensure enrollment of laboratory personnel in appropriate medical surveillance programs through Employee Health Services for employees needing medical consultations.  PIs should contact EHS for an exposure assessment when there is reason to believe employees are exposed to harmful levels of hazardous chemicals.  PIs shall ensure all Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols are followed when using hazardous chemicals during animal research.
 
Training:
Employee training must be documented and filed with the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Training includes, but is not limited to Lab Standard, Building Emergency Action Plan, lab specific SOPs and relevant EHS online training modules at www.ehs.osu.edu.
 
Resources:
 
Contacts:
If you have any questions regarding lab safety, please contact Kent McGuire at mcguire.225@osu.edu or 292-0588. You may also contact the OSU Environmental Health and Safety Office online at http://ehs.osu.edu/OccHealthSafety/default.aspx or by phone at (614) 292-1284.
 
Reviewed / Updated: 2/1/17 K. McGuire