1. Purpose

  1. Protect faculty, staff, and students from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in that particular laboratory.
  2. Keep potential hazardous chemical exposures to faculty, staff, and students below the OSHA permissible exposure levels (PEL) or as low as reasonably achievable.
    1. See https://www.osha.gov/annotated-pels/table-z-1 for OSHA PEL table
  3. The Chemical Hygiene Plan is a living document designed to promote the health and safety of all at all college locations.  It should be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.

2. Policy

  1. This plan implements guidelines and work practices that are capable of protecting faculty, staff and students from health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals, organisms, or materials used in the laboratories. It is the basis for the Chemical Hygiene Plan to ensure the proper implementation of controls to protect the safety and health of every faculty, staff, and student. It is to be used in conjunction with the Hazard Communication Plan. Faculty, staff, and students may be exposed to hazardous chemicals, organisms, or materials in the course of their classes and all individuals with primary duties which involve laboratory operations are required to follow the provisions of this plan.

3. Definitions

  1. Allergen: Substance causing altered body reactivity to a toxic substance in response to a first exposure.
  2. Chemical: means any substance, or mixture of substances.
  3. Chemical Hygiene Officer: means an employee who is designated by the employer, and who is qualified by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  4. Chemical Hygiene Plan: means a written program developed and implemented by the employer which sets forth procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment and work practices that are capable of protecting employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in that particular workplace.
  5. Chemical name: means the scientific designation of a chemical in accordance with the nomenclature system developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) or the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) rules of nomenclature, or a name that will clearly identify the chemical for the purpose of conducting a hazard classification.
  6. Container: means any bag, barrel, bottle, box, can, cylinder, drum, reaction vessel, storage tank, or the like that contains hazardous chemicals.
  7. Corrosive chemical: Any chemical that degrades body tissue on contact and has a pH less than 2 and greater than 12.5.
  8. Embryotoxin: A harmful agent that retards the growth, or adversely affects the development of an unborn child.
  9. Emergency: means any occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of containers or failure of control equipment which results in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous chemical in the workplace.
  10. Employee: means a worker who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals under normal operating conditions or in foreseeable emergencies.
  11. Exposure or exposed: means that an employee is subjected in the course of employment to a chemical that is a physical or health hazard, and includes potential (e.g. accidental or possible) exposure. “Subjected” in terms of health hazards includes any route of entry (e.g. inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption.)
  12. Foreseeable emergency: means any potential occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of containers, or failure of control equipment which could result in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous chemical into the workplace.
  13. Hazard class: means the nature of the physical or health hazards, e.g. flammable solid, carcinogen, oral acute toxicity.
  14. Hazard category: means the division of criteria within each hazard class. These categories compare hazard severity within a hazard class and should not be taken as a comparison of hazard categories more generally.
  15. Hazardous chemical: means any chemical which is classified as health hazard or simple asphyxiant in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard (§1910.1200)
  16. Hazard statement: means a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
  17. Health Hazard: means a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects: Acute toxicity (any route of exposure); skin corrosion or irritation; serious eye damage or eye irritation; respiratory or skin sensitization; germ cell mutagenicity; carcinogenicity; reproductive toxicity; specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure); aspiration hazard.
  18. Label: means an appropriate group of written, printed or graphic information elements concerning a hazardous chemical that is affixed to, printed on, or attached to the immediate container of a hazardous chemical, or to the outside packaging.
  19. Laboratory: means a facility where the “laboratory use of hazardous chemicals” occurs and small quantities of hazardous chemicals are used on a non-production basis.
  20. Laboratory scale: means work with substances in which the containers used for reactions, transfers, and other handling of substances are designed to be easily and safely manipulated by one person.
  21. Laboratory use of hazardous chemicals: means handling or use of such chemicals in which the following conditions are met:
    1. Chemical manipulations are carried out on a “laboratory scale;”
    2. Multiple chemical procedures or chemicals are used;
    3. The procedures involved are not part of a production process, nor in any way simulate a production process; and
    4. “Protective laboratory practices and equipment” are available and in common use to minimize the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  22. Mixture: means a combination or a solution composed of two or more substances in which they do not react.
  23. Mutagen: means chemicals that cause permanent changes in the amount or structure of the genetic material in a cell.
  24. Oxidizer: A chemical that ignites or promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire either to itself or through the release of oxygen or other gases.
  25. Oxidizing agent: Oxygen-containing material which can decompose, generating oxygen.
  26. Physical Hazard: means a chemical that is classified as posing one of the following hazardous effects: Explosive; flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids); oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas); self reactive; pyrophoric (gas. liquid, or solid); self-heating; organic peroxide; corrosive to metal; gas under pressure; in contact with water emits flammable gas; or combustible dust.
  27. Precautionary statement: means a phrase that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical, or improper storage or handling.
  28. Protective laboratory practices and equipment: means those laboratory procedures, practices and equipment accepted by laboratory health and safety experts as effective, or that the employer can show to be effective, in minimizing the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  29. Reproductive toxins: means chemicals that affect the reproductive capabilities including adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as adverse effects on the development of the offspring.
  30. Responsible party: means someone who can provide additional information on the hazardous chemical and appropriate emergency procedures, if necessary.
  31. Safety data sheet (SDS): means written or printed material concerning a hazardous chemical
  32. Select carcinogen: means any substance which meets one of the following criteria:
    1. It is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen; or
    2. It is listed under the category, “known to be carcinogens” in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP); or
    3. It is listed under Group 1 (“carcinogenic to humans”) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs (IARC); or
    4. It is listed in either Group 2A or 2B by IARC or under the category, “reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens by NTP, and causes significant tumor incidence in experimental animals in accordance with any of the following criteria:
      1. After inhalation exposure 6-7 hours per day, 5 days per week, for a significant portion of a lifetime to dosages of less than 10 mg/m³;
      2. After repeated skin application of less than 300 (mg/kg of body weight) per week; or
      3. After oral dosages of less than 50 mg/kg of body weight per day.
  33. Substance: means chemical elements and their compounds in the natural state or obtained by any production process.
  34. Teratogen: An agent or factor that causes malformation of an embryo.
  35. Water reactive: A chemical that reacts with water to release a gas that is either flammable or presents a health hazard.

4. General Principles

  1. Minimize Exposure
    1. Minimize all chemical and bacterial exposure by taking precautions based on the chemical or material being worked with.
      1. Wear personal protective equipment.
      2. Use fume hoods that provide adequate ventilation to avoid inhaling vapors or microbes.
      3. Be aware of OSHA permissible exposure levels (PEL) https://www.osha.gov/annotated-pels/table-z-1
      4. Conduct periodic spot checks of lab facilities to ensure that these actions are being implemented.
      5. If the dangers of using a chemical or substance are too great, and no substitute is available, the experiment should not proceed.
    2. Initial monitoring of potential chemical exposure of laboratory participants to hazardous substances is only required if a substance is regulated by a standard which requires monitoring and if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for that substance is routinely exceeding the action level for OSHA requirements.
  2. Minimize Risk
    1. Know all hazards associated with the chemical or organism that is being used.
    2. Presume all chemicals and organisms are hazardous, even if there is no indication that a hazard exists, and take appropriate precautions.
    3. Make sure the location of all safety and emergency equipment is known.
  3. Minimize Waste
    1. Students should follow all instructions to avoid repeating parts of an experiment and generating more waste.
    2. Instructors should make all attempts to minimize waste generated by their experiments.
    3. The lab manager and lab technicians should purchase only quantities of a material that are most likely to be fully used to limit the generation of hazardous waste.
      1. Follow all waste disposal procedures listed in the Waste Disposal section.

5. Responsibilities

  1. College Safety Manager
    1. The designated College Safety Manager is the Chief of Police.
    2. Works with the lab manager to ensure an optimal safety environment exists in the college’s laboratories.
    3. Obtain a yearly update of the chemical and organism inventory from the lab manager.
    4. Keeps local first responders (fire, police, etc) up-to-date on the chemical inventory, contingency plan, and any changes made to either the inventory or contingency plan.
  2. Dean of Arts & Science and Science Department Chairs
    1. Support the chemical hygiene plan and chemical inventory audit.
  3. Director of Facilities
    1. Ensures that fume hoods are properly maintained and monitored.  Periodic ventilation surveys should be performed to ensure adequate air flow.
    2. Ensures fire extinguishers and other safety equipment is up to date.
  4. Chemical Hygiene Officer
    1. The Chemical Hygiene Officer is the Lab Manager.
  5. Lab Manager & Lab Technicians
    1. Ensure that everyone knows and follows the safety procedures for the specific activity taking place.
    2. Provide regular chemical safety and housekeeping inspections of each area.
      1. Ensure equipment is functioning properly.
      2. Ensure chemicals are correctly stored, labeled, and disposed of.
      3. Ensure First Aid kits are stocked with up-to-date supplies.
    3. Keep quantities of hazardous materials at a minimum.
      1. Purchase only the quantities which are most likely to be fully used and limit the generation of hazardous waste.
    4. Establish and maintain a depository of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all chemicals, organisms, and products used in the laboratory. 
    5. Keep an up-to-date inventory of all chemicals and organisms stored on site.
      1. This includes proper storage of bacteria cultures.
    6. Conduct a yearly audit of lab chemicals.  The lab manager and lab technicians are responsible for auditing each other.
    7. Supply all student workers with the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Hazard Communication Plan to review and ensure they have received adequate training for handling hazardous chemicals.
  6. Instructor
    1. Know the current requirement for regulated substances used in that laboratory.  The instructor must know the current product information on proper use, storage, handling, and disposal.
    2. Ensure that students know and follow all safety procedures for the specific activities taking place.
    3. Undergo a yearly review and training of safety protocols, and chemical and bacteria handling and storage.
    4. Inform the lab manager/lab technician if a chemical is not properly labeled.
    5. If you see something that looks to be incorrect or dangerous in your lab, notify the lab manager or lab technician immediately.
  7. Students
    1. Know and follow the safety procedures as detailed by the instructor.
    2. If you see something that looks to be incorrect or dangerous in your lab, notify the instructor.
    3. Inform the instructor if your lab partner becomes injured and assist the instructor with their care (taking them to the eye wash station, obtaining the first aid kit, etc).
    4. Assist in keeping the classroom clean and safe - this includes cleaning up small spills, wiping down balances, and keeping the working space organized.

6. Safety Rules

  1. General
    1. Used equipment, chemicals, and supplies should not be left on bench tops or in fume hoods.  Return used apparatus to designated storage area.
    2. Keep all equipment, supplies, chemicals, etc. away from the bench edge.
    3. Lab class size should not exceed 24 students to enable the instructor to give appropriate attention to each student and reduce the risk of injury during lab.
    4. Do not eat or smoke in the laboratory or use laboratory glassware as containers for foods or beverages.
      1. Do not store food in laboratory refrigerators.
    5. Follow all safety instructions carefully as provided by each instructor.
    6. Do not work alone in the laboratory.
    7. Perform only authorized experiments. Instructors who are responsible for experiments must inform others in the immediate area of any potential hazards.
    8. Never leave an open flame unattended.  Make sure all flames and hot plates are extinguished or turned off at the end of class. 
      1. If the room must be evacuated for any reason (tornado warning, fire drill, etc) extinguish all flames and turn off all hot plates.
    9. Immediately report all accidents and unusual occurrences.
    10. All lab participants should be aware of the location of SDS and should have access to SDS during the lab.
    11. Horseplay cannot be tolerated in any laboratory, science classroom, or where any chemicals or organisms are stored and/or used. 
    12. Location signs for safety showers, eyewash stations, first aid kits, and other safety equipment, exits, and storage areas should be posted.
    13. Warning signs designating restricted areas or hazardous chemicals/equipment should also be posted.
    14. Do not smell or taste any chemicals unless it is part of the lab exercise and the instructor has announced it is safe to do so.
    15. Do not pipette by mouth.
    16. Any outside party wishing to rent a lab room must adhere to the Chemical Hygiene Plan, Hazard Communication Plan, and the Lab Room Rental Guidelines.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    1. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided in all classrooms where it is needed and worn when appropriate by instructors, students, and any visitors.
      1. This can include gloves, goggles, aprons, face shields, etc.
      2. Use PPE that is designated for the task being performed.
      3. PPE is available for any Service Dog attending a science class.
    2. Students and instructors should dress appropriately for the work to be conducted that day - whether it is a science experiment, automotive work, or art projects.
      1. Closed toed shoes, long hair tied back, and refraining from wearing baggy clothing are all examples of appropriate attire that should be worn when working with hazardous or potentially hazardous material.
    3. When working with chemicals, students should avoid wearing contact lenses as this will impede any efforts to rinse the eyes if a chemical splash occurs.
  3. Building Maintenance & Safety
    1. Building mechanical and fire safety systems must be operable and provide a high level of protection to building occupants and equipment.
    2. Buildings must be equipped with appropriate safety equipment such as showers, eye wash stations, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits.
    3. Ventilation
      1. Adequate ventilation must be provided.  The best way to prevent exposure to airborne substances is to prevent mists, fumes, gases, etc. from getting into the working atmosphere or a person’s breathing zone in unsafe concentrations by use of hoods, exhaust, fans, or other ventilation.
      2. General air flow in the classroom should be maintained to promote comfort and air exchange.  In the context of an art class that is using paints, oils, or another material that produces an odor, this could mean opening the classroom door or window to allow air exchange.
      3. All work involving hazardous chemicals should be performed under the fume hood.
      4. Fume hoods should be monitored to ensure they are functioning properly and checked on a regular basis.
      5. Do not use a fume hood if it is not functioning properly.
  4. Training
    1. All science staff (lab manager, lab technicians, etc) must complete hazardous waste management and safety training with a licensed, reputable company (in the past Lion Technology has been used).
      1. Refresher training should be taken no more than 5 years after the completion of the original training.
    2. Science staff should update science faculty on new safety protocols, requirements, and any changes to lab procedures or protocols on a yearly basis.
    3. Students should be trained at the beginning of every science class in proper lab protocol and safety by their instructors.
  5. Equipment
    1. Only use equipment for the purpose it was intended.
    2. Clean all equipment after use and store appropriately.
    3. If any equipment looks to be damaged, chipped (in the case of glassware), or is not functioning properly, discontinue use immediately and set equipment aside to be inspected by the lab technician.
  6. Chemicals
    1. Do not store chemicals in the fume hood or on top of a flammable cabinet.
    2. Clean up dropped or spilled material immediately.  Place all waste in appropriate waste containers. 
    3. Chemical spills should be neutralized and cleaned up immediately.
      1. Chemical spill kits should be available under the sink in each lab.
    4. Keep compressed gas cylinders secured by using a chain, strap, or stand to prevent tipping or falling.
      1. Identify the contents with a legible label.
      2. Do not expose to temperatures above 125°F or 51.7°C.
      3. Use a cart to move.
      4. Do not lubricate, modify or tamper with the cylinder valve.
    5. It is Germanna policy to neither accept donated chemicals from outside sources nor donate chemicals to outside sources.
  7. Organisms
    1. Follow established safety protocols when handling living organisms.
    2. Be respectful of dead organisms used for dissection or observation.
    3. Bacteria should be disposed of in autoclave bags located in each classroom after use.
      1. All bacteria and materials that have come in contact with bacteria should be autoclaved after use.
  8. Housekeeping
    1. Keep aisles, walkways, and exit doorways clear, dry, and free of obstruction.
      1. Backpacks should be stored at the perimeter of the room, not in aisles, to avoid tripping/entanglements that can cause accidents.
    2. Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed when not in use.
    3. Equipment and supplies should not block access to fire extinguishers, safety showers, eyewash fountains, or other emergency equipment.
    4. All students are required to read and sign a safety contract at the beginning of each semester.

7. Procedures

  1. Procurement, storage, inventory
    1. Procurement
      1. Before ordering a new chemical, check the inventory to be certain ordering is necessary. 
      2. Order the smallest quantity possible.  If the chemical is used very frequently for labs (acetone, Benedict’s solution, etc), a larger amount may be ordered.
    2. Storage
      1. Hazardous chemicals should be segregated in an area with proper ventilation, containment, and emergency equipment available. Containers should be examined regularly for deterioration or other abnormal features.
      2. All chemicals should be stored according to the Flinn storage method.
        1. Identify the contents with a legible label that includes: date received, date opened and/or date solution was prepared, initials of the preparer, and storage code.  Attach any applicable flammable or corrosive warning tape to the bottle.
      3. No chemical bottle should have two labels.  If a chemical bottle is going to be repurposed the original label must be removed before the second label is attached.
        1. If a secondary bottle is used to store a chemical, the secondary bottle must be labeled with all appropriate storage information.
      4. Some chemicals require special precautions when storing them.
        1. Exposure to heat or direct sunlight should be avoided.
        2. Acids should be segregated from bases and active metals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. Nitric acid should be stored in a dedicated space, away from other acids, inside a dedicated acid cabinet.
        3. Store flammables only in approved safety cans or cabinets. Segregate from oxidizers and keep away from sources of ignition.
        4. Store oxidizers in a cool, dry place away from combustible materials.
        5. Store water reactive chemicals in a designated cool, dry place away from flammables. Post signs warning not to fight fire with water.
        6. Store pyrophorics in a cool dry place in airtight containers.
      5. Chemical hazard signs should be posted outside the rooms where chemicals are stored.
      6. Storage areas/chemical cabinets should be locked if employees will be absent for extended periods of time.
    3. Inventory
      1. A yearly audit of the chemical inventory should be conducted by the lab manager and lab technicians.  There should be no inconsistencies between the chemical inventory log and the chemicals that are on the lab shelves.  The inventory should include the quantities of each chemical and the number of containers that quantity is stored in.
        1. Chemicals should be culled on a regular basis to dispose of items that are no longer used, needed, or have expired.
      2. Responsibilities regarding the chemical audit for the lab manager and technicians are outlined in those respective sections and should be complied with.
  2. Planning laboratory experiments
    1. When designing new experiments, instructors should keep in mind:
      1. The chemicals that will be used, and whether a less hazardous chemical can be substituted.
      2. How often the experiment will be conducted should also be taken into account (every semester, every other semester) as this will influence the amount that will need to be ordered.
      3. Consider all reactions, possible side reactions, and products as well as the hazards that all of the above will produce so that proper safety equipment and procedures can be implemented.
      4. Consider the disposal process for any waste produced by the experiment.
  3. Waste disposal
    1. Germanna Community College is classified as a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) meaning:
      1. GCC produces less than 100 kg of non-acute waste/month.
      2. GCC produces less than 1 kg of acute waste/month.
    2. Waste is not to be evaporated in fume hoods.  Proper disposal of chemicals involves either:
      1. Neutralizing acids and bases to be poured down the drain.
      2. Pouring the waste into containers with compatible chemicals, storing the containers in the satellite site, and recording the waste on the waste disposal sheet.
    3. Instructors should put all beakers of waste in the designated fume hood for disposal by the lab technician after class.
    4. Paper and electronic copies of the chemical waste stored in the satellite site should be kept up to date.
    5. The Director of Facilities is the point of contact for the waste removal and disposal company.  He or she should be notified when waste pick-up is needed.

8. Accidents

  1. In the event of an accident in which a student is injured, attend to the injured student first.  This could include getting them to an eye wash station, under the safety shower, or any other type of first aid care.
  2. While the student is attending to their injury, look up the SDS for the chemical involved in the accident.
    1. Follow the instructions on the SDS sheet that correspond to the injury.
  3. Lab partners should be active participants in assisting their injured partner - whether it is helping the student to a washing station, monitoring their behavior, or informing the instructor of the chemicals that were being used at the time of the accident.
  4. Notification should also be immediately made to the College Police, who will then respond to take a report and assess the need to call 9-1-1 for EMS.
    1. Pursuant to State Risk Management Policy and OSHA guideline, the College Police must investigate the accident/injury and complete a report; information specific to the incident must be provided.
      1. This can include: identity and amount of chemical used, an SDS, as well as details and causative factors of how the exposure occurred.
      2. College Police must be called for all accidents – even minor injuries, like cuts, that only require a bandage as the form of medical treatment.

9. Spills

  1. Spills are classified as follows:
    1. Small spill: < 300 mL
    2. Medium spill: 300 mL - 5L
    3. Large spill: > 5L
  2. For small and medium spills, use the spill kits and clean-up procedure located under the lab sink.
    1. All materials used to clean up spills (paper towels, spill kit absorbents, etc) are considered hazardous waste.  Place clean-up materials in a separate bag, label it as “hazardous waste” and note the chemicals that were cleaned up.  Please notify lab technicians when a spill occurs so that they can dispose of clean-up materials appropriately.
  3. For large spills (> 5L) lab technicians must be notified.  Please evacuate the classroom so the lab techs can evaluate the situation.  College Police may need to be notified to respond as well as assess if an evacuation is in order or outside help may be required depending on the chemical spilled.

10. References

  1. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1450 Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories
  2. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard communication
  3. College of William & Mary, Chemical Hygiene Plan
  4. Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories 8th edition, American Chemical Society Joint Board-Council Committee on Chemical Safety
  5. EPA Introduction to Hazardous Waste Identification (40 CFR Parts 261) Training Manual, September 2005

Make a difference in the lives of students.

Keep up-to-date with our newsletter.