This Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is applicable to the School of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), Facilities Services, and any other departments where hazardous chemicals are stored or handled. General requirements for safe operations using hazardous chemicals are outlined, along with procedures for emergency reporting, spill cleanup, and hazardous waste disposal.
A hardcopy of the CHP is available to each department in SET. This CHP is intended to:
- Inform faculty, staff, and students about the potential health and safety hazards resulting from chemicals and other hazardous substances on the University campus including laboratories, classrooms and workshops.
- Inform faculty, staff, and students of the precautions and preventive measures that have been established by the University to protect employees from a workplace illness or injury.
- Inform laboratory employees of the required safety rules and procedures established by this organization to meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1450 (Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories) and 29 CFR 1910.1200 (Hazard Communication Standard).
- The CHP does not attempt to address all details specific to the variety of procedures using hazardous chemicals. In addition to the Safety Guidelines described herein, departments and laboratory supervisors may develop additional Standard Operating Procedures specific to the department or lab.
Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)
- The Chemistry Department Head or designee is designated as the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) for the academic areas in set. The office of environmental health and safety will serve as the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) for the non-academic areas.
- Develop, implement, and document procedures to comply with the requirements of the CHP.
- Work with administrators and other employees to develop and implement appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices.
- Ensure that lab assistants and students know and follow the chemical hygiene rules, protective equipment is available and in working order, and that appropriate training has been provided.
- Know the current legal requirements concerning hazardous materials and regulated substances.
- Determine the required levels of protective apparel and equipment.
- Ensure that facilities and training for use of any material are adequate.
- Inform the CHO when new hazardous chemicals or hazardous procedures are introduced into the laboratory.
- Laboratory workers are defined as work-study students, laboratory assistants, and teaching assistants.
- Review Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) before working with hazardous or toxic chemicals.
- Use the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against chemical exposure.
- Plan and conduct each operation in accordance with the institutional chemical hygiene procedures.
- Develop good personal chemical hygiene habits.
- Maintain proper labeling, storage, and use of chemicals in the laboratory.
- Maintain the chemical inventory and Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) notebook. The acronym “SDS” will be used in the remainder of this document to refer to MSDS and SDS.
- Inform the CHO when new hazardous chemicals or hazardous procedures are introduced into the laboratory.
- Handle collection, storage, and disposal of excess chemicals and spent chemical materials generated within the lab(s) they oversee.
Chemical Hygiene and Laboratory Safety Responsibilities
- Department Chairs have responsibility for chemical hygiene and laboratory safety for all laboratory academic and research operations with their respective departments.
- Laboratory supervisors have laboratory specific chemical hygiene and safety responsibilities within their respective department to include:
- Ensure compliance with the CHP including PPE requirements.
- With the assistance of the CHO, provide training and guidance on the safe use of hazardous chemicals.
- Maintain a safe and organized laboratory environment.
- Perform a weekly safety self-inspection.
- Assist the CHO in maintaining a current laboratory addendum by reviewing and updating content on a regular basis.
Standard Operating Procedures
- Always know the properties of a chemical before handling by reviewing SDSs and other references to determine chemical hazards before working with that chemical.
- Utilize all necessary safeguards, including PPE, engineering controls, and emergency procedures when using any chemical.
- Know the location of safety equipment such as emergency showers, eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, spill kits, first aid kits, and telephones.
- Routes of emergency egress must be clearly indicated and unobstructed.
- Access to the laboratory is restricted to authorized personnel only.
- Working alone in the laboratory is prohibited without prior approval from the lab supervisor. Avoid chemical work or hazardous activities at night or during off-hours.
- Maintain a satisfactory level of housekeeping in all work areas. Keep aisles clear, minimize clutter on countertops, and organize workspace for safety and efficiency. Do not allow unnecessary materials and trash to accumulate.
- Handle and store glassware with care to avoid damage. Dewar flasks and other evacuated glass apparatus should be wrapped to contain fragments and contents in case of implosion. Broken or chipped glassware should not be used.
- Use break-resistant bottle carriers when transporting chemicals in glass containers that are greater than 500 milliliters. Use lab carts for multiple containers.
- With the exception of biohazard-contaminated sharps and exposed or unguarded needles, dispose of all sharp items, including broken glass, glass pipettes, metal sharps, etc. in specially marked “Broken Glass Only” boxes.
- Never pipette or start suction by mouth; always use a pipette aid or suction bulb.
- Do not drink, eat, smoke, chew gum, or apply cosmetics in the laboratory areas where chemicals are either stored or used.
- Do not store food, cosmetics, or tobacco products in chemical use areas since chemical vapors can be absorbed by foodstuff and tobacco.
- Food is never stored in a laboratory refrigerator or freezer where samples, chemicals, or specimens might be stored.
- Do not allow trash to accumulate in any area, as it is a fire hazard and an impediment to the use of emergency equipment.
- Wash hands and arms thoroughly before leaving the lab, even if gloves have been worn.
- Sharp edged instruments, such as single edge razor blades, are to be used in retractable or protective holders.
- Compressed gas cylinders must be secured in an upright position.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- With the proper use of PPE, exposure too many laboratory hazards can be minimized or eliminated. Every laboratory worker should be familiar with the general PPE requirements in each laboratory as well as those necessary on specific procedures or operations. The SDSs of all chemicals being used should be checked to determine any special PPE requirements.
- The following are general guidelines for PPE requirements in laboratory operations. Laboratory supervisors are responsible for documenting hazard assessment for laboratory activities, including PPE.
- General Eye Protection Policy
- Safety glasses with side shields that meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard are required of all faculty, staff, laboratory workers, visitors, etc. in those areas designated as “Eye Protection Required” or “Safety Glasses Required”.
- Ordinary prescription glasses are not acceptable since they do not provide adequate protection from injury to the eyes and do not meet the ANSI standard.
- Additional eye protection may be required when carrying out more hazardous operations, such as when working with strong acids, strong bases, or other chemicals where greater protection against chemical splashes is required.
- As a minimum, proper gloves should be worn whenever the potential for exposure with corrosive or toxic materials and materials of unknown toxicity exists.
- Gloves should be selected based on the material being handled, the particular hazard involved, and their suitability, such as chemical resistance and permeability, for the operation being conducted.
- Gloves exposed to any toxic or hazardous chemical must be removed prior to handling common unprotected surfaces such as telephones, door openers, instrument controls, keyboards, etc. They should be removed before exiting the laboratory unless needed for transport of samples, chemicals, or other materials requiring hand protection.
- Laboratory Clothing
- Street clothing should be chosen to minimize exposed skin below the neck. Long pants and shirts with sleeves are strongly recommended.
- Shoes must cover the entire foot (e.g., no open toes, tops, or backs). Open-toed shoes, perforated or cloth shoes, high heels greater than one inch, platform shoes, clogs, and cloth sneakers are inappropriate footwear in the laboratories. Fabric and athletic shoes offer little to no protection from chemical spills. Leather shoes with slip-resistant soles are recommended.
- Restrain and confine long hair and loose clothing.
- Outer protective clothing, such as lab coats and aprons, is not allowed outside of the laboratory except in transient situations such as walking between laboratories or the stock room.
- Label all hazardous materials with the identity of the chemical, date of receipt, manufacturer date of expiration and open date or date of preparation. The label must also include the initials of the staff member providing the label.
- Maintain SDS specific to the manufacturer of the chemicals on hand, certificates of analysis, and traceability documentation on all chemicals.
- Store every chemical in a laboratory in a convenient, but defined storage place, and return it to that location after each use.
- Store as few chemicals as possible on bench tops where they are unprotected from exposure to fire and can be readily knocked over.
- Utilize storage trays or secondary containers to minimize the extent of spillage of material if a container breaks or leaks.
- Do not store chemicals in a laboratory fume hood.
- Keep all aisles, hallways, and stairs clear of all chemicals.
- Do not expose chemicals to heat or direct sunlight, and observe precautions regarding the proximity of incompatible substances.
- Do not bring chemicals, samples, and laboratory items into offices and other common areas.
- Keep hazardous materials in laboratories or other designated areas.
- Chemical Compatibility Information is available at the following websites.
Disposal and Spill Cleanup
- See Appendix A for Labeling of Waste Containers Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
- Appropriately segregate and label all waste containers.
- Unless contaminated, disposable gloves may be placed in the regular solid waste receptacle.
- Put only ordinary waste paper into waste paper receptacles; keep separate from chemical waste. If a paper towel is used to clean up a chemical spill, treat that paper towel as if it were chemical waste, and dispose of it in the proper chemical waste container.
- Each lab area should contain a Spill Kit.
- Spill Response – Major Spill
- In the event of a spill that 1) involves the release of a type or quantity of chemical which poses an immediate risk to health, 2) involves an uncontrolled fire or explosion, or 3) involves serious personal injury, follow the steps outlined in the Emergency Information section of this Plan.
- Spill Response – Minor Spill
- In the event of a spill involving the release of a type or quantity of chemical that does not pose an immediate risk to health:
- Notify other laboratory personnel of the accident.
- Isolate the area. Close laboratory doors and evacuate the immediate area if necessary.
- Remove all ignition sources and establish exhaust ventilation. Vent vapors to outside of building only (open windows and turn on fume hood).
- Choose appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., goggles, face shield, impervious gloves, lab coat, apron or coveralls, boots, respirator) (All laboratory personnel must be properly fit tested before using a respirator). Contact EHS for more information.
- Confine and contain the spill. Cover with appropriate absorbent material. Sweep solid material into a dustpan and place in a sealed plastic container. Decontaminate the area with soap and water after cleanup and place residue in a plastic bag or another sealed plastic container. Dispose of as Chemical Waste.
Special Procedures for Handling Hazardous Chemicals
Any chemical should be assumed to be hazardous unless all of the physical and chemical properties are clearly known and appropriate references indicate the material is not hazardous. SDSs should be reviewed before using any hazardous material to identify specific hazards and guidelines for PPE, handling, storage, first aid, and spill cleanup requirements.
The definitions of hazardous materials differ between regulatory agencies (Department of Transportation [DOT] the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA]). For the purposes of this Plan, the EPA definitions as provided in the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (RCRA) are used:
The following sections outline procedures for handling hazardous chemicals safely:
- Flammable materials are liquids with a flashpoint below 100°F and vapor pressure not exceeding 40 psi and solid materials with an ignition temperature below 212°F or which burns so vigorously or persistently when ignited that it creates a serious hazard. Combustible liquids are classified as those with a flashpoint at or above 100°F; the same basic procedures should be applied when handling combustible liquids.
- Flammable liquids are stored only in approved storage cabinets. Do not store with oxidizing agents (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, nitric, per chloric, and sulfuric acids).
- Limited quantities of flammable liquids not to exceed a total of four liters may be kept in a fume hood for ongoing use during the workday, but returned to the flammable cabinet when work concludes.
- Open flames, high heat sources, and potential ignition sources are not allowed in areas where flammable chemicals are used or stored.
- Flammable liquids should not be heated with an open flame, hot plate, or un-insulated resistance heater. The preferred sources of heating are a heating mantle, steam bath, or hot water bath.
- Flammable liquids are not to be stored in domestic-type refrigerators or freezers. Only explosion proof refrigerators should be used.
- Containers should not be completely filled to allow space for liquid expansion.
- When shaking flammable liquids in closed containers, the internal pressure must be released frequently.
Corrosive Chemicals (Acids and Bases)
- A corrosive chemical, as defined by OSHA, is any chemical that causes visible destruction of or irreversible alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact. The following are general rules for handling and storing corrosive materials.
- Wear goggles, gloves, and a lab coats or apron when handling concentrated acids or alkalis.
- Transport strong acids or bases in a protective carrier. Do not handle by the neck alone; support the weight of the bottle from the bottom when handling or pouring. Where possible, use plastic containers instead of glass.
- Do not store strong acids or bases with flammable liquids or oxidizing chemicals. Corrosive chemicals are best stored in sealed containers in special ventilated cabinets.
- Per chloric acid may only be purchased, stored, or used by approval of the CHO.
- Store acetic acid as a combustible liquid and not with nitric acid, per chloric acid, or other oxidizers.
- Clearly label all acidic or basic solutions. Basic solutions should be stored in plastic rather than glass containers.
- Handle strong acids or bases in laboratory hoods with the sash lowered to provide protection to hands and face.
- Never add water to acids or alkalis; always add a concentrated or dilute acid or base to water, a small portion at a time. Use moist paper towels to clean off any acid or alkali drips remaining on the outside of a container. Pour with the container below eye level to avoid eye injury and with the label up to avoid contaminating the label with drips.
- Neutralize spills with the proper spill kit. Alternatively, acids may be neutralized with sodium carbonate or bicarbonate; basic spills with boric or citric acid.
- Ethers/Peroxide Formers
- Ethyl ether, isopropyl ether, 1, 4-dioxane, and tetrahydrofuran are examples of low molecular weight ethers requiring special storage and disposal procedures. A complete list of organic peroxide formers can be found in Appendix B. In addition to their dangerous fire hazard, organic peroxides can form in these compounds when exposed to air. When peroxides are concentrated by evaporation of the ether, an explosion can occur. The following precautions are recommended for the handling of ethers.
- Train stockroom personnel on best management practices related to safe handling of peroxide-forming chemicals.
- Keep electronic chemical inventories current and provide all information required by the database.
- Each peroxide-forming chemical container MUST be dated when received from the manufacturer and when opened. A list of common peroxide forming chemicals can be found in the Appendix B. Class A chemicals should be tested/disposed of within 3 months of opening. Class B and C chemicals should be tested/disposed of within 12 months of opening.
- Check for the presence of peroxides before using, and quarterly while in storage (peroxide test strips are commercially available). The results of the peroxide test and the test date must be marked on the outside of the container. If the peroxide concentration is acceptable (<1 ppm), re-date the container and retest at the next scheduled test date.
- If after six months from open date, low levels (<100 ppm) of peroxide are detected, remove the peroxides or stabilize prior to disposal of the chemical as hazardous waste.
- Due to sunlight’s ability to promote formation of peroxides, all peroxidizable compounds should be stored away from heat and sunlight.
- Peroxide forming chemicals should not be refrigerated at or below the temperature at which the peroxide forming compound freezes or precipitates as these forms of peroxides are especially sensitive to shock and heat. Refrigeration does not prevent peroxide formation.
- The amount of chemical purchased and stored should be kept to an absolute minimum. Only order the amount of chemical needed for the immediate experiment.
- Before distilling any peroxide forming chemical, always test the chemical first with peroxide test strips to ensure there are no peroxides present. Never distill peroxide forming chemicals to dryness. Leave at least 10-20% still bottoms to help prevent possible explosions.
- Any container of peroxidizable chemicals that is old, deteriorated, or of unknown age or history must not be moved or disturbed. Any peroxidizable chemical with visible discoloration, crystallization, or liquid stratification must be treated as potentially explosive. Notify EHS for assistance.
- Picric Acid
- Picric acid is explosive when dry and should contain at least 10% water. Contact with metals should be avoided. Before being recapped, bottlenecks and lids should always be wiped with a moist paper towel to prevent the formation of crystals around them. Picric acid must never be allowed to reach a dry state. Never handle picric acid when dry!
Other Hazardous Chemicals
- The CHO should be aware of any of these materials that might be in use in the laboratory. Of special concern are the following:
- Avoid contact of cyanide solutions with acids that will react to produce hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid) vapor, which is potentially lethal.
- Cyanide solutions should be accumulated for off-site disposal.
- Preparation measures for work involving cyanides:
- Maintain a current inventory of hazardous chemicals stored
- Mercury should be stored in plastic, airtight containers, away from direct heat or sunlight, and at as close to ambient temperature as possible.
- Spent mercury, mercury contaminated materials, and mercury spill cleanup materials should be collected in non-breakable containers, labeled, and disposed of as lab pack wastes.
- The use of mercury thermometers is discouraged. Nontoxic and environmentally safe thermometers should replace mercury thermometers in all applications where feasible.
- Unknown chemicals
- Unknown chemicals, or those for which complete physical and chemical hazards are not known, must be assumed to be hazardous.
- Appropriate PPE, ventilation and other exposure control measures, and spill cleanup procedures should be utilized.
- Nanomaterials (< 1 micron) should be handled in appropriately ventilated areas with gloves and skin protection. Nanomaterials should be handled in liquid state if possible.
Procedures for Select Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxins, Acutely Toxic Substances, and Chemicals of Unknown Toxicity
This section addresses identification, labeling, and use of materials in performing laboratory work with greater than 10 mg, or otherwise labeled, of any carcinogen, reproductive toxin, substance that has a high degree of acute toxicity, or a chemical whose toxic properties are unknown.
- Select carcinogen:
- Any substance defined as such in 29CFR1910.1450 and any other substance described as such in the applicable SDS or listed in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Report on Carcinogens, 11th Edition.
- Reproductive toxin:
- Any substance described as such in the California OEHHA Proposition 65 list.
- Substance with a high degree of acute toxicity:
- In general, “chemicals with a high degree of acute toxicity” include 1) “highly toxic” chemicals that have an Oral LD50 of < 50 mg/kg (rats), Skin Contact LD50 of <200 mg/kg (rabbits), Inhalation LC50 of <200 ppm (rats for 1 hours) and 2) “toxic” chemicals with acutely toxic effects or those that have an Inhalation LC50 of <2000 ppm (rats for 1 hour).
- Chemicals whose toxic properties are unknown:
- A chemical for which there is no known statistically significant study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that establishes its toxicity. NOTE: For this CHP, chemicals in these four categories will be called “toxic chemicals”.
Identification of Toxic Chemicals
- Two approaches will be used to identify those substances considered of sufficient toxicity to be classified as a toxic chemical.
- One approach is to review the SDS for each chemical on the current laboratory inventory to determine if that chemical is listed in one or more of those categories. If so, the information on the hard copy SDS will be highlighted and a notation added to the chemical listing on the inventory indicating the classification as a toxic chemical.
- To supplement this approach, chemical lists from these sources will be cross- referenced to further identify these substances.
Labeling of Toxic Chemicals
- If the manufacturers label does not identify specific hazards for toxic substances, then the hazard warnings will be added to the container.
- All toxic materials, such as those transferred to analytical standards, added to prepared reagents, or used elsewhere out of the original container, will be labeled with the necessary hazard warnings if the amount of the toxic chemical exceeds the 10 mg, or otherwise labeled, threshold.
- Storage areas will be marked and secured for toxic chemicals.
General Guidelines for Use of Toxic Chemicals
- Prior to use of any toxic substance, the SDS will be reviewed to determine special PPE, handling, and disposal procedures.
- As a minimum, the following guidelines apply to any work with 10 mg or more of toxic chemicals:
- Designated areas shall be used for all toxic chemical use.
- Only those persons trained to work with toxic chemicals will work with those chemicals in the designated areas. Appropriate training includes the Chemical Hygiene training and review of laboratory specific procedures, and thorough assessment of SDS information.
- A properly operating fume hood, glove box, or other approved system for ventilation control must be used.
- Minimum PPE requirements include chemical resistant gloves, eye protection, and covering of any potentially exposed skin surfaces.
- When possible, disposable clothing may be used if applicable.
- Provisions for immediate spill cleanup in the work area will be in place before using any toxic substance. In case of a spill, the University Police Department will be notified immediately.
- Wastes from using toxic chemicals will be prepared for waste disposal following all specific disposal procedures consistent with Federal and State regulations.
- When working with toxic chemicals, all faculty and staff will:
- Use the smallest amount of the chemical that is consistent with the requirements of the work that is to be done.
- Store particularly hazardous chemicals only in the designated area.
- Perform any necessary cleanup of the designated area when work has been completed and properly dispose of any contaminated materials.
- Specific requirements when handling chemicals classified as reproductive toxins.
- Reproductive toxins will be handled only in a fume hood or approved ventilation system with confirmed satisfactory performance.
- Gloves and other appropriate PPE will be used to prevent skin contact.
- Materials will be stored in adequately ventilated areas in an unbreakable secondary container.
- In case of spill or exposure incidents, the lab supervisor and the University Police Department will be notified. A qualified physician will be consulted if the nature and extent of exposure warrants such.
- Specific requirements may be necessary to supplement these general guidelines to reduce the potential hazards, including personal exposure, associated with using toxic chemicals.
All employees covered by this CHP will be provided with information and training to ensure that they are aware of the hazards of chemicals present in their work area. This training will be provided by the supervisor given at the time of initial assignment and prior to new assignments involving different exposure situations.
Training records for employees (faculty, staff, and work-studies) shall be maintained by the Department Chair or designee. Meeting attendance sheets or specific training records can serve as verification of training. Training for students enrolled in classes and laboratories that are covered under this CHP will be provided by the faculty members that are assigned to teach the class. SET faculty and staff shall on a yearly basis read and review the CHP, and perform a self-evaluation of laboratory space within his/her professional jurisdiction. Training requirements apply to all new regular and agency employees assigned to activities in laboratories covered under the chemical hygiene plan. In the case of special needs, departments may seek training by third-party consultants.
Employee Training Shall Include:
- Review of this Chemical Hygiene Plan with emphasis on the specific hazards and safety protocols relevant to the University lab operations.
- Physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area.
- Signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory.
- Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical. These may include monitoring conducted by the employer, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released, etc.
- Safety measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards. Measures should include specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals such as, standard operating procedures, work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used.
- Location and availability of known reference material on the hazards, safe handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory including, but not limited to, material safety data sheets received from chemical suppliers. Awareness of all existing policies, plans, and procedures relevant to chemical hygiene, safety and compliance.
- Review of additional information contained in the OSHA Standard 29CFR1910.1450 and its appendices that is relevant to University lab operations but is not covered in the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Annual safety inspections will be performed by the CHO and/or laboratory supervisor with the purpose of identifying and correcting safety problems to prevent accidents and potential injury to faculty, staff and students. The Laboratory Safety Checklist (Appendix C) will be completed for each laboratory space inspected and retained in the CHO Office. Corrective actions will be completed in a timely manner and attached to the Inspection Report.
Control Measures to Reduce Employee Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
Laboratory Fume Hoods
- Fume hoods provide the safest open workspace when working with substances that present an airborne hazard only when used properly. To obtain optimum protection, these guidelines are to be used with fume hood operation:
- Sash position should be maintained at height certified for optimum airflow or the lowest position commensurate with the work.
- All apparatus should be located and work conducted a minimum of 6 inches inside of the sash.
- Air velocity controller (if applicable) shall operate at the velocity determined by the certification.
- When fume hoods are not in use, the sash should be closed or moved to the lowest opening setting with the controller set to the minimum position for those so equipped. Fixed volume fume hoods with individual on/off controls should be turned off with the sash closed when not in use.
- Fume hoods are not to be used for evaporating solvents.
- Fume hoods are not to be used as large scale ventilated storage areas. However, up to a 4 L aggregate total of flammable liquids such as rinse bottles or spent chemical solvents may be maintained in fume hoods for ongoing operations during the workday, but returned to the flammable cabinet when work concludes.
- Sash panes are to be kept clean and free of markings, signs, and notes written on the glass in the viewing area. Notations made on the sash glass for current activities should be removed promptly. Markings considered necessary on the sash must be on easily removable material and placed out of the normal viewing area.
- Fume hoods will be inspected every three (3) years by a certified Test and Balance firm. The science departments will work in cooperation with Facilities Service to manage the testing activity. Reports of hood inspections will be maintained in the Office of EHS & RM.
Eyewash Stations and Emergency Showers
- Faculty, staff, and students will be instructed on the location and proper use of eyewash stations and safety showers. In the academic areas, the class instructor will provide the information as part of safety orientation to students at the beginning of class. In non-academic areas, the lab supervisor will provide the information as part on initial employee orientation.
- Eyewash stations and Emergency Showers are maintained by the Facilities Department that runs a functional check of the systems on annual basis. The academic department will inspect (verify operation) of the eyewash stations at least each academic semester. Reports of malfunctions (because of inspections) are to be reported to the Facilities Department using the methods described in the Facilities Services Guide.
- Faculty, staff, and students will be instructed on the location of fire extinguishers. Training in the use of fire extinguishers is offered to faculty, staff and students on an annual basis. The Facilities Department arranges such training in the fall of each year for all Facilities personnel and all other University employees upon request.
- A fire blanket is a safety device designed to protect personnel from small incipient (starting) fires. It consists of a sheet of fire retardant material that is placed over a person in order to protect from a fire hazard. Faculty, staff, and students will be instructed on the location of a fire blanket.
Chemical Spill Kits
- Chemical Spill kits are located in the Chemistry and Biology Stockrooms and specific labs that are identified as high volume or have risk chemicals. Personnel using spill kits should be trained on safe use and disposal of materials generated from spill. All chemical spills will be reported to the lab supervisor immediately to allow for replenishment of spill kit contents.
Mercury Spill Kits
- At least one Mercury Spill Kit is available in each department of SET and is located in an area accessible to all faculty, staff, and employees. Personnel using spill kits should be trained on safe use and disposal of materials generated from spill. All mercury spills will be reported to the lab supervisor or department chair immediately to allow for replenishment of spill kit contents.
Chemical Inventory and Material Safety Data Sheets
Refer to the Hazard Communication Plan located in St. Mary’s Gateway for guidance on the changes and updates to the Hazard Communication Standard based on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The updates standardize hazard information and improve safety through improved hazard classification, labelling, and safety data sheets when handling, storing, or otherwise working with hazardous chemicals.
- Laboratory personnel must obtain the SDS from the chemical manufacturer, supplier or distributor from which they are purchased. NOTE: Generic chemical information sheets can only be used as temporary information pending receipt of the complete SDS.
- An electronic chemical inventory list (CIL) will be maintained for each department, laboratory, or chemical storage area. The CIL shall be review, updated, and approved by the lab supervisors or Department Chairs of academic areas; and the management of other non-academic departments that stores the hazardous chemical.
Prior Approval for Specific Laboratory Operations
Certain laboratory procedures or the use of certain chemicals that present a serious chemical hazard (see list below) require prior approval by the CHO and Department Chair before work can begin. The written work plan must specify and address all federal, state and local regulatory requirements. This plan will include funding source for all equipment and procedures required for the work. All facility modifications must be planned and executed within the guidelines of the Facilities Services Guide. Examples include:
- Work with select carcinogens
- Work with reproductive hazards
- Work with neurotoxins
- Work with unknown chemicals (produced as result of experiment)
- Work using new procedures
- Work with hazardous chemicals such as benzene, cyanide, dinitrobenzene, ethylene oxide, mercury,
Emergency Procedures and Equipment
- 29 CFR 1910.38 – Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Prevention Plans. See Employee Action Plan.
- 29 CFR 1910.120 (p) and (q) – Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (developed in response to SARA Title III).
- Dial ext.1911 from a campus phone or 210-431-1911 from a personal phone for all emergencies requiring medical, fire, or spill response at any time. This number is used both during working hours, and after hours, on weekends, and on holidays.
- If ext.1911 is not accessible or functional, 9-911 from a campus phone or 911 from a personal phone may be dialed directly. A faculty, staff or student should make sure that emergency responders are met on campus to provide escort to the emergency location.
- The St. Mary’s University Police should be notified as soon as possible after emergency help has been summoned. Dial ext.1911 from a campus phone or 210-431-1911 from a personal phone for all emergencies.
- All faculty, staff, and students must evacuate a building when:
- A fire alarm signal is heard.
- An evacuation announcement is made over the paging or Emergency Notification System (ENS).
- Alerted by faculty or staff members.
- Personnel authorized to determine an “all clear” condition and allow building reentry include an authorized staff member from the St. Mary’s University Police Department. A Fire Department official from a responding emergency unit may also issue the “all clear” designation. Faculty, staff, and students will be verbally informed of the “all clear” signal.
- Quickly determine if the fire can be extinguished with the nearest portable fire extinguisher.
- If small and controllable, use the appropriate fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
- Immediately activate the fire alarm system if the fire is not controllable.
- Dial ext.1911 from a campus phone or 210-431-1911 from a personal phone to report a major fire from a safe location.
- Dial ext.1911 from a campus phone or 210-431-1911 from a personal phone for all major medical emergencies.
- In case of inhalation exposure, move the victim to fresh air.
- For external exposure, flush the affected area with copious amounts of water at the nearest safety shower or eyewash.
- Obtain a medical evaluation to determine if additional treatment is required. An SDS for the chemical(s) exposed should accompany the victim for any emergency treatment.
- Small, limited area chemical spills:
- Use the appropriate spill kit or sorbent material to contain and cleanup the spilled material after donning any additional PPE required. Properly dispose of the cleanup material according to the SDS or other acceptable guidelines.
- Chemical spills that require laboratory evacuation:
- Activate any emergency ventilation system such as the emergency setting on VAV (variable air volume) fume hood controls.
- Make note of the chemical(s) and quantity spilled, and obtain an SDS if possible.
- Evacuate the lab and continue with the appropriate emergency notification described in Section 11.
- In case of ventilation failure of fume hoods, glove boxes, or other engineering control, the following steps should be taken to reduce migration of vapors and subsequent staff exposure.
- Use caution to close or contain open vapor sources in the failed ventilation device if safely done.
- Lower the sash on fume hoods or take other steps to reduce air exchange between the ventilation system and the laboratory environment.
- Activate any supplement ventilation system to remove vapors or fumes from the laboratory environment.
- Evacuate the area and promptly notify the St. Mary’s University Police.
Emergency Eyewashes and Showers
- Emergency eyewashes and showers are located in those areas where corrosive chemicals are handled to provide immediate first aid treatment of chemical splashes.
- Access to emergency eyewashes and showers must be kept clear of all obstacles, even temporary ones.
- Locate the nearest emergency eyewash and shower in each laboratory area. Faculty, staff and students should familiarize themselves with the simple operation of these devices and the location such that they could be accessed with their eyes closed, if necessary.
- In case of injury or accident in a laboratory involving a student, call the university police and report as emergency (210-431-1911) or non-emergency (210-436-3330), whatever is appropriate. For injury or accident in a laboratory involving a student worker, graduate assistant, faculty or staff, if an emergency, call University Police Department and follow the emergency procedure. If a non- emergency injury to a student worker, graduate assistant, faculty or staff, then the injured worker or supervisor must complete the first report of injury and submit to the Human Resources Office as required. Review of all lab accidents resulting in an injury will involve Human Resources, University Safety Officer, Chemical Hygiene Officer, and Department Chair.
- Whenever an employee develops signs and symptoms associated with a hazardous chemical to which they may have been exposed, the employee shall be provided an opportunity to receive appropriate medical examination. The employee shall contact their supervisor, the University Police Department and the Human Resources Department to initiate the medical program. A copy of the SDS sheet must accompany the employee to the medical provider.
- Whenever an event takes place in the work area, such as a spill, leak, explosion, or other occurrence resulting in the likelihood of a hazardous exposure, the affected employee shall be provided an opportunity for a medical consultation. This consultation will be to determine the need for a medical examination.
- All medical examinations and consultations should be performed by a member of the Texas Mutual Insurance network, if possible. Contact Human Resources for locations of medical facilities in the network.
- The injured employee will provide the following information to the physician and the University Police Department:
- Identity of the hazardous chemical to which the employee may have been exposed.
- A description of the conditions of the exposure including exposure date if available.
- A description of signs and symptoms of exposure that the employee is experiencing (if any).
Natural Gas (Ng) / Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Shut-Off Procedure
- If an odor of natural gas is detected; (1) immediately inform all personnel in the lab; (2) shut off any bench gas valves that are easily accessible; (3) open a window; and (4) evacuate the lab.
- Find nearest NG / HVAC Shutdown switch on the floor of the lab where the natural gas was detected, lift the safety cover and press the push button switch.
- An NG / HVAC shutdown switch is installed by the north and south stairwells on each floor of Garni Science Hall and Moody Life Science. Each building has a total of six shutoff switches. The switches simultaneously shutoff the natural gas and the HVAC system of the building in which it was activated.
- Take the stairs to the first floor and exit through nearest door to the designated congregation area.
- While activating the switch automatically notifies University Police and Facilities, it is recommended to also call University Police as soon as it is safe to do so at 431-1911 (cell phone) or ext.1911 (campus phone).
NOTE: Activating a shutdown switch in one of the two buildings does not affect the NG or HVAC operations of the other building.
- Do not re-enter the building until authorized to do so by the University Police.
Available in the Administration and Finance Office:
Appendix A: Labeling Waste Containers SOP
Appendix B: Neutralization Of Acid/Base Hazardous Waste
Appendix C: Organic Peroxide-Forming Compounds
Appendix D: Safety Inspection Checklist