Chemical Safety

To learn more about chemical safety, click on the following links:

It is important to know the specific hazards and safety controls for the chemicals that you are working with in the lab.

  1. Understand the Hazards of Your Chemicals
    • Read all labels
    • Read the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
    • Conduct a hazard and risk assessment
  2. Protect Yourself from These Hazards
    • Always wear proper lab attire when in the lab
    • Always wear nitrile gloves (minimum) when handling chemicals
    • Wear chemical googles when working with corrosives and safety glasses when handling other chemcials that may splash
    • Always follow all safety rules
  3. Keep Your Exposure As Low As Possible
    • Substitute chemicals with less hazardous chemical
    • Use smallest amount of chemical
    • Keep containers closed and covered
  4. Use the Fume Hood for Particularly Harzardous Chemicals [carcinogens, acutely toxic, reproductive, flammable]
    • Make sure hood is working properly before beginning work
    • Follow Fume Hood Use Procedures
  5. Keep the Clean, Clean & the Dirty, Dirty
    • Leave Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the lab
    • Don't touch common items (door knobs, faucets, phone, computer, radio) with gloves
    • Wash your hands often
    • Decontaminate work surfaces at the end of the day
  6. Take Required Training
    • Chemical Safety, Formaldehyde, Nitric Acid
  7. Store Chemicals Properly
    • Label all containers with the name of the chemical
    • Segregate chemicals by hazards
    • Always use secondary containment
    • Do not store flammable in a domestic refrigerator
  8. Dispose of Chemicals Properly
    • Do not put hazardous chemicals down the drain
    • Do not use squirt/wash bottles over the sink
    • Use Hazardous Waste Labels
    • Do not mix waste types
    • Do not allow waste to accumluate
  9. Know Where the Emergency Equipment is & How to Use It
    • Eyewash, shower, fire extinguisher, spill kit
    • Have a plan to shut down lab processes and exit the building during an alarm
  10. Report All Accidents

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Each laboratory is required to comply with the Chemical Hygiene Plan which addresses the specific hazards found in its location.

Each department that has academic or research laboratories that use hazardous chemicals must adopt the EH&S Chemical Hygiene Plan or develop their own Chemical Hygiene Plan that includes all of the elements of the OSHA Laboratory Safety Standard. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety must approve each new Chemical Hygiene Plan.

The Laboratory Safety standard (29 CFR 1910.1450 or ) requires that exposures to hazardous chemicals be maintained at or below the permissible exposure limits (PELs) specified in other OSHA standards. The Chemical Hygiene Plan includes the work practices, procedures and policies to ensure that workers are protected from potentially hazardous chemicals in use in their work area. The Chemical Hygiene Plan also includes training, medical consultation and examinations, hazard identification, respirator use and recordkeeping requirements.

Review EH&S Policy 4-2 Chemical Hygiene Plan

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