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Prudent Practices Report Brief

Prudent Practices Report Brief

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Published by earthandlife
Reflecting recent scientific developments and new regulations, this report updates National Research Council guidelines that have served as an authoritative reference for the safe use of hazardous chemicals in laboratories for almost thirty years. The guidelines are used by laboratory personnel as well as regulatory agencies worldwide concerned with safety in the workplace and environmental protection. New topics covered in this update include: emergency planning, laboratory security, green chemistry, compatible chemical storage, and the handling of nanomaterials. Moreover, there is an expanded discussion of environmental health and safety systems.
Reflecting recent scientific developments and new regulations, this report updates National Research Council guidelines that have served as an authoritative reference for the safe use of hazardous chemicals in laboratories for almost thirty years. The guidelines are used by laboratory personnel as well as regulatory agencies worldwide concerned with safety in the workplace and environmental protection. New topics covered in this update include: emergency planning, laboratory security, green chemistry, compatible chemical storage, and the handling of nanomaterials. Moreover, there is an expanded discussion of environmental health and safety systems.

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Published by: earthandlife on Mar 25, 2011
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R
esearch in chemistry laboratoriesworldwide has increased understandingof the physical and biological world andabilities to manipulate it— but with thisresearch comes the need to monitor the use of thousands of potentially dangerous chemicals toensure the safety of laboratory workers and theprotection of the environment.First published in 1981,
Prudent Practices
 is a reference on the safe handling and disposalof chemicals in the laboratory, providingguidance to laboratory personnel, and helpingto inform regulatory policy on topics such assafety in the workplaceand environmental preser-vation. The guidelineswere last updated in 1995in response to signi
cantchanges in laboratoryculture and increasedstandards of safety, health,and environmental protec-tion in laboratoryoperations.This newest editionof 
Prudent Practices
 considers technical,regulatory, and societaldevelopments that have occurred since the lastpublication, substantively expands somesections of the 1995 edition, and covers newtopics such as emergency planning, laboratorysecurity, the handling of nanomaterials, and anexpanded discussion of environmental healthand safety management systems. In the processof reviewing and modifying previous editions
Re
ecting recent scienti
c developments and new regulations, this report updates NationalResearch Council guidelines that have served as an authoritative reference for the safe use of hazardous chemicals for almost thirty years. The guidelines are used by laboratory workers,as well as regulatory agencies worldwide concerned with safety in the workplace and environ-mental protection. New topics covered in this update include: emergency planning, laboratorysecurity, green chemistry, compatible chemical storage, and the handling of nanomaterials.Moreover, there is an expanded discussion of environmental health and safety systems.
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory
of the book, the report’s authoring committeequeried subject matter experts and industrialand academic researchers and teachers todetermine the most prudent practices forlaboratory operations.
Emergency Planning
Although most laboratory personnelare prepared to handle incidental spills orminor chemical exposures, many other typesof emergencies ranging from power outagesto
oods or intentional malicious acts couldhave long-term consequences, and mayseverely impact the conti-nuity of laboratoryoperations. The updatededition of 
Prudent Practices
includes a newsection on emergencyplanning to provideguidance on managingthese emergencies. Whileemergency planningissues should be consideredon an organizational level,laboratory personnel canalso be trained to respondto large scale emergen-cies—
Prudent Practices
provides advice onpreparations to ensure the laboratory is readyfor an emergency event, as well as informationon the response and recovery stages.
Mitigation
—efforts to minimize thelikelihood that an incident will occur and tolimit the effects of an incident that doesoccur, such as creating an organizational
Credit: Maggie Bartlett , NHGRI
 
Chemical Hygiene Plan that will ensure thesafe storage of materials, or installing a sprin-kler system.
Preparedness
—the process of developing plansfor managing an emergency and taking action toensure that the laboratory is ready to handle anemergency, such as ensuring that adequatesupplies are available, providing appropriatetraining for laboratory personnel, and preparinga communications plan.
Response
—efforts to manage the emergencyas it occurs, instituting a chain of command,possibly including outside responders as wellas laboratory staff.
Recovery
—actions taken to restore the laboratoryand affected areas to a point where the functionsof the laboratory may be carried out safely.The four phases are interconnected: effectivemitigation efforts reduce the impact of the emer-gency and ease the response and recovery stages;good planning in the preparedness stage makes theresponse and recovery less complicated; and lessonslearned during an emergency may lead to furthermitigation and preparedness efforts during therecovery phase.
Laboratory Security
The updated
Prudent Practices
includes the
rstdiscussion of laboratory security. A laboratorysecurity system helps to mitigate a number of risksincluding the theft of chemicals which could be sold,or used to manufacture weapons or illicit substances;threats from activist groups; or the accidental releaseof or exposure to hazardous materials. Furthermore,a good laboratory security system can increaseoverall safety for laboratory personnel and the public,improve emergency preparedness by assisting withpreplanning, and ultimately lower the organization’sliability and insurance premiums. The updatedguidelines offer several security plans and advicefor training laboratory members to ensure that allpersonnel understand the security measures in placeand how to use them.
The Importance of Green Chemistry
Green chemistry is the philosophy of designingexperiments, products, and processes to reduce orto eliminate the use and generation of hazardoussubstances, and to minimize accidents, injuries, andexposures to personnel. Principles of green chem-istry are considered for the
rst time in the newedition of 
Prudent Practices
as guidelines for thesafe management of laboratory chemicals.Though not always directly applicable to labora-tory safety, some of the principles of green chemistryencourage practices that can result in a safer labora-tory environment. For example, one principle iswaste prevention—planning experiments carefully toselect procedures that minimize the quantities of hazardous chemicals used and the amount of hazardous chemicals that must be discarded at theend of the experiment. Green chemistry principlesare consistent with ordering chemicals in smallcontainers, even though it may be less expensive tobuy in bulk quantities. Small containers are easier tohandle than larger ones, reducing the risk of acci-dents and the exposure of laboratory personnel tohazardous materials. Because smaller containers takeup less storage space it is easier to store them prop-erly, for example in a well-ventilated areaor in a locked cabinet. Furthermore, smallquantities of chemicals are more likely tobe used up quickly, reducing the likelihoodof decomposition of reactive compoundsover time and the subsequent costlydisposal of the chemical.
Storage According to Compatibility
The storage requirements for stock-rooms and laboratories vary widelydepending on factors such as the level of expertise of the employees and the level of security of the facility. Furthermore, manylocal, state and federal regulations havespeci
c requirements that affect the
Box 1. The Culture of Safety
A key focus of 
Prudent Practices
is the importance of establishingand nurturing a “culture of safety”—an environment in whichsafe laboratory practice is standard. Since the last edition of theguidelines, signi
cant progress toward this goal has been made.Safety and training programs, often coordinated through anof 
ce of environmental health and safety, have been implementedto monitor the handling of chemicals from the time they areordered until their disposal, and to train laboratory personnel insafe work practices. The careful consideration of habitual risk assessment, experiment planning, and preparing for worst-casescenarios is now as much a part of scienti
c education as learningthe theoretical background of experiments or the step-by-stepprotocols for performing them in a professional manner.
 
storage and handling of chemicals. For example,radioactive materials, consumable alcohol, explo-sives, and hazardous wastes have requirementsranging from locked cabinets to speci
ed wastecontainers and regulated areas.
Prudent Practices
provides a list of generalstorage considerations, such as storing volatiletoxic or odoriferous chemicals in ventilated cabinetsand ensuring shelves have a lip to preventcontainers from sliding off. In addition, the mostrecent update to
Prudent Practices
recommendsstoring containers of incompatible chemicalsseparately, to reduce the risk of mixing in case of accidental breakage,
re, earthquake, or response toa laboratory emergency. Even when containers aretightly closed, the mingling of vapors that mayescape from containers of incompatible chemicalscan cause reactions that degrade labels, shelves,cabinets, and containers themselves.To make it easier to identify and separateincompatible chemicals, a detailed classi
cationsystem for the storage of chemicals is provided inthis report. The system classi
es chemicals into11 compatible storage groups, and recommends thateach group should be separated by secondarycontainment, such as plastic trays, or stored in itsown storage cabinet. According to this system,separate storage is most important for chemicals instorage group B, which include compatible pyro-phoric chemicals (those that ignite on contact withair), and water-reactive chemicals (those that reacton contact with water), and chemicals in storagegroup X, which are incompatible with all otherstorage groups. A compact disc accompanying the
Prudent Practices
book includes a spreadsheet of hundreds of chemicals that are listed according tothese storage groups.
Working with Nanoparticles
For the
rst time
Prudent Practices
includesguidelines for working with nanoparticles, re
ectingthe growing use of these materials in chemical
Figure 1.
Compatible storage group classi
cation system.
Used with permission from Stanford University.

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