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Hazard Communication & Laboratory Safety

September 2008

Laboratory Safety

Safety in the workplace:

Safety Accidents Emergencies

Hazards and Risk Assessment Who is Responsible for Workplace Safety

Laboratory Safety Management: Regulatory Agencies

Standards: operating principals or requirements related to many areas in addition to safety. Many safety regulations are voluntary. Regulations: operating principals required by law. Areas that have standards and regulations:
Worker safety Environmental Protection Use and Handling of Animals Regulation of Radioisotopes

Regulatory Agencies

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory. Handling and Disposal of Chemicals. National Research Council, National Academy Press. Washington, D.C. 1995
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 4th U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health. U.S. Government Printing Office 1999.

Regulatory Agencies

OSHA web site : EPA web site: Other Government Agencies that have regulatory oversight:

Department of Transportation (DOT) Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Institutional Responsibility

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Federal Hazard Communication Standard (HCS): regulates the use of hazardous materials in industrial workplaces. It focuses on the availability of information concerning employee hazard exposure and applicable safety measures. Right to Know Law.

workplace hazard identification written hazard communication plan (CHP) files of Material Data Safety Sheets for all hazardous chemicals clear labeling of all chemicals worker training for the safe use of all chemicals

Institutional Responsibility

1990 Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standards (29 CFR Part 1910) :

mandates the development of a chemical hygiene plan (CHP) for every institution. The CHP is a written manual that outlines the specific information and procedures necessary to protect workers from hazardous chemicals.

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Items that must be addressed in the CHP: General chemical safety rules and procedures Purchase, distribution, and storage of chemicals Environmental monitoring Availability of medical programs Maintenance, housekeeping, and inspection procedures Availability of protective devices and clothing Record keeping policies Training and employee information programs Chemical labeling requirement Accident and spill policies Waste disposal programs Emergency response plans Designation of safety officer

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has primary responsibility for enforcement of laws to prevent environmental contamination with hazardous chemicals.

Clean Water Act Safe Drinking Water Act Clean Air Act

Environmental Protection

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Provides a system for tracking hazardous waste, including poisonous or reactive chemicals from creation to disposal (cradle to grave)

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): designed to regulate chemicals that pose health or environmental risks. Establishes chemical inventory and record keeping requirements. Allows EPA to ban or control hazardous chemicals in commerce.

Laboratory Responsibility

Laboratory Responsibility
Institutions have policies, but these policies need to be implemented at the individual laboratory level. Commitment to risk reduction should be a clear and constant goal for all members of the laboratory group.

Laboratory Responsibility

Designation of a safety officer (committee)

safety advisor to laboratory ensure that safety procedures are documented act as a liaison with the institutions safety officers communicate policy changes to co-workers coordinate internal safety inspections ensure that equipment is properly maintained keep records of hazards and problems within the laboratory

Laboratory Responsibility

Labeling and Documentation

Lack of proper labeling is one of the most common OSHA citations against laboratories.

Labeling should provide identification to new workers and emergency personnel


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS):

A legally required technical document provided by chemical suppliers that describes the specific properties of a chemical.


No specific format. Types of information typically provided: Chemical name Chemical supplier Composition and ingredients information Potential health effects Exposure levels, with specific concentrations and times First Aid Procedures Fire fighting procedures Accidental release procedures Handling and storage procedures Recommended personnel protection Physical and chemical properties Stability and reactivity Toxicological information Environmental impact Disposal Recommendations Transportation information Regulatory information

Laboratory Responsibility
Job Safety Analysis: a detailed step by step analysis of each step in a procedure identifying hazards and outlining accident prevention strategies.


Clean Up after yourself! Balances, Centrifuges, other common equipment.

Freezers and Refrigerators

Laboratory Responsibility

Emergency Response

All Personnel should be familiar with basic emergency responses. At least one person trained in CPR and basic first aid First aid kit must be readily accessible and fully stocked All required protective devices such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and eyewash stations must be well marked and easily accessible. Emergency telephone numbers and instructions should be prominently displayed b y each phone Evacuation routes should be kept well clear of boxes and clutter.

Laboratory Responsibility

Laboratory Rooms should be labeled

Hazard Diamond System (S&M p614): rates chemicals according to their fire, reactivity, and general health hazards Scale of 0-4; 0 being non-hazardous, 4 being very hazardous Biohazard Warning signs Biosafety Levels (S&M p642)

Biosafety Levels
All associated with : Standard microbiological practices, special practices, safety equipment (primary barriers), and laboratory facilities (secondary barriers)

BSL1 : is suitable for work involving well characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the envioronment.

Biosafety Levels

BSL2: is similar to Biosafety Level 1 and is suitable for work involving agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment. BSL3: is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by the inhalation route.

Biosafety Levels

BSL4:is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease. Animal Biosafety Levels: when experimental animals are being used.

Personnel Responsibility

Personnel Responsibility

Ultimately it is up to you the individual laboratory worker who is responsible for his/her safety and the safety of their coworkers-after all it is you who has the most to lose, your health, eyesight, or life.

Personnel Safety Practices

Be sure that you are informed about the hazards that you encounter in the laboratory. Be aware of emergency protocols. When in doubt about a hazardous material or procedure, ask. Use personnel protective wear such as lab coats and safety glasses Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in the laboratory. Avoid practical jokes and/or horse play Use gloves when in doubt Wash your hands regularly

Personnel Safety Practices

Always wash your hands thourougly before leaving the laboratory Disinfect your workspace before starting work and when finishing Read the labels of chemicals carefully Read procedures before performing them and visualize hazardous steps Minimize use of sharp objects (needles, broken glass) and know how to dispose of them Clean up spills and pick up any dropped items immediately Label everything clearly Use a fume hood for chemicals and solvents that you can smell, has known toxic properties, or is unfamiliar to you. Record everything in your lab notebook Always report accidents, however minor.

Laboratory Safety

Text References: General Safety Guidelines: Chapter 2 Introduction to a Safe Workplace pages 19-32. Physical Hazards: Chapter 28 Working Safely in the Laboratory General Considerations & Physical Hazards pages 595-612. Chemical Hazards: Chapter 29 Working Safely with Chemicals pages 613-637. Biological Hazards: Chapter 30 Workng Safely with Biological Materials pages 639-662. Seidman and Moore, Basic Laboratory Methods for Biotechnology

Physical Hazards

Fire Bunsen Burners Autoclaves Compressed Gas Cylinders Broken Glassware Razorblades and needles Electrical Equipment Ultraviolet light

Chemical Hazards

Flammable Chemicals Reactive Chemicals Corrosive Chemicals Toxic Chemicals

See Chapter 29 Tables 29.1,2,3,5&6.

Biological Hazards

Guidelines & Regulations pertaining to Biological Hazards (Table 30.2) Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories CDC/NIH OSHA Bloodborn Pathogens Standard OSHA 29CFR1910.1030 Guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA molecules NIH Biological Safety Manual for Research involving Oncogenic viruses NCI Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals ILAR Animal Welfare USDA 9CFR parts 1,2,3

Risk assessment

Risk Assessment for Biological Agents (Table 30.1) Is this a known human or primate pathogen? What is the history of laboratory use of this organism or agent and what are the recognized risks? Has this agent been associated with a laboratory acquired infection and if so what were the health effects of that infection? Is there an effective treatment or preventative vaccine?

Biological Risk Assessment

Does this agent frequently induce sensitivity or allergies in workers? What is my potential susceptibility as a function of age, sex, or medical condition? How can I limit my exposure to the agent? What are the recommended safety precautions for this agent and are they being practiced in this laboratory? Is the estimated risk acceptable to me?

Std. Microbiological Practices

Standard Microbiological Practices (Table 30.3) Access to the laboratory should be limited to trained personnel Lab coats and Eye protection should be worn at all times Workers should wash their hands after any work with microorganisms and whenever they leave the lab Eating, drinking and smoking in the laboratory are prohibited Hand to mouth, or hand to eye contact should be avoided Mouth-pipetting of any substance in the laboratory is prohibited Steps should be taken to minimize aerosol production Work should be performed on a clean impervious bench surface with an appropriate disinfectant available Work surfaces should be decontaminated after any spill and at the end of every work session All biological materials should be properly decontaminated before disposal

Lab Assignment

Draw a floor plan of the laboratory showing lab benches, and lecture desks. Include in your drawing the following: Exit(s) Fire Extinguishers Eye Wash Stations Safety Shower Fire Extinguisher Fire Blanket Hand-washing sink Master gas shutoff Master electricity shut off First-aid kit Biohazardous waste container Sharps containers Broken glass containers Routine garbage containers Chemical disposal containers MSDS File

After observing and/or discharging a dry chemical fire extinguisher answer the following questions.

What class of fire extinguisher did you discharge or observe being discharged? Could you use this type of fire extinguisher on an electrical fire? A solvent (chemical) fire? A combustible metal fire? Outline the steps you took to operate the fire extinguisher.

Practice using a fire blanket. After using the fire blanket answer the following questions.

Are there any obstacles to using the fire blanket? How could you rearrange things so that there is unimpeded access to the fire blanket?

List 3 items of personal protective equipment available in the laboratory. a. b. c.

What items are found in the laboratory first aid kit? Hazard Analysis: Conduct a safety audit of the laboratory listing any observed safety violations. Discuss these safety violations with your laboratory partners. What steps would you suggest to remove or reduce these violations. 1.-10