Chemical Hygiene/Exposure To Hazardous Chemicals In Laboratories
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard on
occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories (29CFR1910.1450)
covers all laboratories engaged in the laboratory use of chemicals. The
University's Chemical Hygiene Plan
is an "umbrella" document that will cover the major activities
conducted at University laboratories. Each laboratory
will need to develop procedures and protocols
for the unique equipment and chemicals and train those procedures to
affected parties. Both the Chemical Hygiene plan and unique
laboratory procedures must be accessible to anyone workig in the
laboratory setting. To request an evaluation
of your laboratory for compliance with this standard or for assistance in
developing special procedures applicable to your laboratory,
Each employee engaged in laboratory work must attend a
Laboratory Safety training
session which includes the
Chemical Hygiene Plan, emergency procedures, waste
management and other required topics.
According to Federal and State regulations, all hazardous chemicals
used in the laboratory (whether in original or stock containers)
must be labeled with:
- the name of the chemical
- identification of hazardous components
- appropriate hazard warnings: flammable, explosive, corrosive, toxic, poison, oxidizer, caustic,
irritant, carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen
- name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer,
importer, or responsible party
- date of receipt or generation of the chemical
Any substance that is regulated by a specific OSHA standard must be
labeled accordingly by the manufacturer.
Chemical labeling developed and approved by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) includes a word warning, identification of
key hazards, and statements of precautions to avoid the hazard.
Hazard warnings on labels may consist of words, pictures, symbols, or
any combination thereof.
- Word warnings are generally intended to capture immediate attention
by identifying severe hazards (such as flammable, poison, fatal if
swallowed). Word warnings may also indicate the degree of hazard.
CAUTION indicates the lowest degree of hazard. WARNING indicates an
intermediate degree of hazard. DANGER indicates the highest degree of
- Picture warnings identify classes of hazardous compounds (such as a
flaming letter "O" to indicate oxidizers or a skull and crossbones to
indicate toxic chemicals).
Chemicals may also be labeled with the National Fire Protection
Association symbol system (NFPA 704). Numbers are used to denote the
severity of hazards associated with flammability (red), reactivity
(yellow), health (blue) and other special hazards (white) on a
color-coded diamond. Higher numbers indicate more severe hazards.
0 = no unusual hazard
1 = minor hazard
2 = moderate hazard
3 = severe hazard
4 = extreme hazard
- Special hazards include OX (oxidizer), ACID, ALK (alkali), CORR
(corrosive), and W (water-reactive).
- This system is useful for alerting emergency response personnel to
hazards and also for assessing storage and emergency needs. However, it
does not adequately indicate precautionary measures or occupational
- Labels on containers of hazardous chemicals should not be defaced
- Unless being used in the same period by the same person who made the
transfer, when chemicals are transferred from an original container to a
secondary (stock) container, the new container should be labeled with
the chemical's name as well as all relevant hazard information.
Flammable Liquid Storage
- When are flammable liquid storage cabinets required?
NFPA 45 Table 2-2(a) In sprinkled laboratories, a
maximum of 10 gallons of Class I flammable liquids per 100
sq.ft. of laboratory space are allowed outside of an inside
flammable liquid storage room. Combinations of Class I, II,
and IIIA may not exceed 20 gallons. An additional 10 gallons
maximum of Class I flammable liquids may be stored in a
flammable liquid cabinet. Combinations of Class I, II, and
IIIA may not exceed 40 gallons in a flammable liquid storage
cabinet. For help in the interpretation of this guidance,
contact EHS at 6-6485 for an on-site evaluation of your
- Where can a cabinet be located?
NFPA 45 2-1: Anywhere within the laboratory unit. This means it
cannot be located in a hallway or any means of egress.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(2)(ii)(b): The quantity of flammable
liquid that may be located outside of an inside storage room or
storage cabinet in a building or in any one fire area of a building
shall not exceed:
- 25 gallons of Class IA liquids in containers.
- 120 gallons of Class IB, IC, II, or III liquids in containers.
- 660 gallons of Class IB, IC, II, or III liquids in a single
- Alternatives to
avoid flammable liquid storage in corridors:
- Move cabinet to another location.
- Do a careful inventory of what's on hand and compare it to what's
- Where allowed, swap cabinet for a less hazardous item now in the
- Move cabinet into laboratory.
- Reduce quantity of flammable liquids on-hand so a cabinet is not
- Purchase smaller quantities when ordering flammable liquids.
- Dispense flammable liquids from central location in daily use
- Store permitted quantities of flammable liquids on shelves in lab.
- Share flammable liquid cabinets among several labs.
- Find alternatives to flammable liquids.
Unattended Chemical Reactions
When a chemical reaction must remain
unattended in a laboratory for an extended period and/or
overnight, the researcher must post a sign on the door which is
observable from outside the laboratory. The sign describes
the nature of the chemical reaction and potential hazards in the
event one or more of the utilities for the building fail.
The sign must be printed on canary (pale yellow) paper for
visibility reasons and consistency with training provided to University
Police and Physical Plant staff. The sign may be removed once
the reaction is completed or from the time that it will be
attended. Click Here
for an electronic file of the unattended reaction sign.
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