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Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Policy


To establish a program for controlling and evaluating occupational exposures to hazardous chemicals in laboratories and to assure exposures are maintained at or below permissible exposure limits (PELS) or other accepted exposure levels.

  1. Scope and Application

    This policy is designed to cover all employees engaged in the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals. In general, this includes faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, visiting researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates assigned to projects in research laboratories.

  2. Administrative Aspects
    1. Development of a generic Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) as required by 29 CFR Part 1910.1450(e) shall be the responsibility of Environmental Health and Safety.
    2. A University Laboratory Safety Committee (ULSC) shall be formed to review and approve the generic CHP. This committee will have a member from each of the following colleges who are appointed by their respective Department Heads, Center/Institute Directors: ATLSS Engineering Research Center, Biochemical Sciences, Biology, Bioprocessing Institute, Center for Integrated Circuit Packaging and Technology, Center for Chemical Process Modeling and Control, Center for Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Center for Molecular Bioscience, Center for Polymer Science and Engineering, Center for Social Research, Zettlemoyer Center for Surface Studies, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Energy Research Center, College of Engineering and Applied Science, Environmental Studies Center, Industrial Engineering, Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Mathematical Biology, Emulsion Polymers Institute, Institute for Health Sciences, Institute for Thermo-Fluid Engineering and Science, Institute of Marine Studies, Materials Research Center, Institute of metal Forming, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics and Sherman Fairchild Center for Solid-State Studies. Other University departments will be added to the Committee as needed. The Director of Environmental Health and Safety or his/her designee shall serve as a member on the committee.
    3. The University Laboratory Safety Committee or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety shall conduct an annual written audit of the activities required under the generic CHP.
    4. Each Department, Center and Institute using hazardous chemicals shall tailor the generic CHP to their Department, Center, Institute and be responsible for its implementation.
    5. The chairperson for each Department, Center, Institute shall appoint a Chemical Hygiene Officer who will facilitate the requirements of the CHP. Other individuals may be appointed to assist the Chemical Hygiene Officer with the implementation of the CHP.
    6. Records of personnel exposure such as monitoring results or medical consultations shall be maintained at Environmental Health and Safety. Records shall be kept, transferred and made available to employees in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.20.
    7. Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Center/Institute Directors shall ensure that hazard assessments are conducted for each affected job category and that personal protective equipment is provided and maintained for employee use.
  3. Emergency Information

    Each year and whenever updated, Departments, Centers and Institutes shall provide Environmental Health and Safety with the name(s) and telephone numbers(s) of knowledgeable representatives who can be contacted in case of emergency.

  4. Training
    1. Departments shall develop employee and student training programs for specific chemicals in their department.
    2. EH&S will offer generic training on classes of chemicals annually (Graduate Student Orientation 2x/year) and periodically throughout the year.
    3. Each department where any employee may be exposed to hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or foreseeable emergencies shall provide, at least annually, an education program for employees using hazardous chemicals. Additional information shall be provided whenever the potential for exposure to hazardous chemicals is altered or whenever new and significant information is received by the department concerning the hazard of a chemical. New or newly assigned employees shall be provided training before working with hazardous chemicals or before working in an area containing hazardous chemicals. Training shall be the responsibility of the supervisory staff.
    4. Undergraduate and graduate students registered in courses where they may be exposed to hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or foreseeable emergencies shall be provided training before working with hazardous chemicals. Training shall be the responsibility of the instructor. The use of hazardous materials shall be directly supervised by a technically qualified individual.
    5. Students assigned to research projects shall be trained in accordance with the requirements for employees.
    6. The training program shall include the following information, as appropriate: the location of the hazardous chemicals; information on interpreting labels and Materials Safety Data Sheets and the relationship between these two methods of hazard communication; an explanation of the acute and chronic effects of the chemicals and instruction on their safe handling, including necessary protective equipment to be used and appropriate first aid treatment; and general safety instructions on handling, clean up procedures and disposal of hazardous chemicals. Generic training on classes of chemicals may be provided when numerous chemicals are involved.
  5. Right of Employees and Students
    1. Employees and students who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals shall be informed of such exposures and shall have access to the Chemical Inventory and Material Safety Data Sheets for the hazardous chemicals. In addition, employees and students shall receive training on the hazard of the chemicals and on measures they can take to protect themselves from those hazards.
For more information regarding this policy, contact Environmental Health and Safety 610-758-4251.

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