The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laboratory health standard (Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories)-CFR 1910.1450- requires employers of laboratory employees to implement exposure control programs and convey chemical health and safety information to laboratory employees working with hazardous materials. The Community College of Rhode Island comes under the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Department of Labor, which has the same provisions as OSHA. Specific provisions of the standard require:
The standard's intent is to ensure that laboratory employees are informed of the hazards of chemicals in their work area, and that appropriate work practices and procedures are in place to protect laboratory employees from chemical health and safety hazards.
The standard operating procedures (laboratory practices and engineering controls) recommended in this manual identify the safeguards to be taken when working with hazardous materials. These safeguards will protect laboratory workers and students from unsafe conditions in the vast majority of situations. There are instances, however, when the physical and chemical properties, the proposed use, the quantity used for a particular purpose or the toxicity of a substance will be such that either additional, or fewer, controls might be appropriate to protect the laboratory worker. Professional judgment is essential in the interpretation of these standard operating procedures, and individual laboratories may modify these procedures to meet their specific uses and operational needs.
This document outlines how the Community College of Rhode Island is complying with each of the elements of OSHA's Laboratory Standard. Copies of the Chemical Hygiene Plan are located in all laboratories, in the offices of the Department of Security and Safety and College Police and in the Libraries at all Campuses.
Responsibility for chemical health and safety rests at all levels including the:
The Director of Administration, who has ultimate responsibility for chemical hygiene within the College and must, along with other officials, provide continuing support for chemical safety.
Laboratory Safety Committee, which reviews and recommends policies that provide for the safe conduct of work involving hazardous chemicals and develops guidelines for reviewing and approving the use of high-risk substances in laboratories.
Department Chairs, who are responsible for chemical hygiene in each department and who have the primary responsibility for chemical hygiene in the laboratory. Each Chair is responsible for:
Laboratory Faculty and Laboratory Paraprofessionals, who are responsible for:
The laboratory paraprofessionals and faculty share responsibility for collecting, labeling and storing chemical hazardous waste properly as outlined in CCRI's Hazardous Waste Management Program, as well as informing visitors entering their laboratory of the potential hazards and the safety rules and precautions.
Chemical Safety Coordinator, who must:
For the purposes of this OSHA standard, a laboratory is defined as a facility in which hazardous chemicals (defined below) are handled or manipulated in reactions, transfers, etc. in small quantities (containers that are easily manipulated by one person) on a nonproduction basis. Typically multiple chemical procedures are used.
The OSHA Laboratory Health Standard defines a hazardous chemical as any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds which is a physical hazard or a health hazard. The standard applies to all hazardous chemicals regardless of the quantity.
A chemical is a physical hazard if there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, an explosive, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer or pyrophoric, flammable, reactive or corrosive.
A chemical is a health hazard if there is statistically significant evidence, based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. Classes of health hazards include:
A chemical is considered a carcinogen or potential carcinogen if it is listed in any of the following publications (OSHA uses the term "select" carcinogen):
A chemical is considered hazardous according to the OSHA standard, if it is listed in any of the following:
Over 600,000 chemicals are considered hazardous by the OSHA definition.
In most cases, the chemical container's original label will indicate if the chemical is hazardous. Look for keywords like caution, hazardous, toxic, dangerous, corrosive, irritant, carcinogen, etc. Containers of hazardous chemicals acquired or manufactured before 1985 may not contain appropriate hazard warnings.
If you are not sure a chemical you are using is hazardous, review it’s appropriate Safety Data Sheet for pertinent health and safety information.
Some laboratories may synthesize or develop new chemical substances on occasion, for instance, as part of a student's laboratory project. If the composition of the substance is known and will be used exclusively in the laboratory, the laboratory worker must label the substance and determine, to the best of his/her abilities, the hazardous properties (e.g. corrosive, flammable, reactive, toxic, etc.) of the substance. This can often be done by comparing the structure of the new substance with the structure of similar materials with known hazardous properties. If the chemical produced is of unknown composition, it must be assumed to be hazardous and appropriate precautions taken.
All employees or students, exposed, or potentially exposed, to hazardous chemicals while performing their laboratory duties must receive information and training regarding the standards, the Chemical Hygiene Plan and laboratory safety. Our training consists of several one-hour seminars presented by the Chemical Safety Coordinator covering the four parts of the Community College of Rhode Island Chemical Hygiene Plan. The seminars will include oral presentations, slides, audio-visual presentations, and question and answer periods. The training program is broken down as follows:
Part 1: Overview of the Chemical Hygiene Plan of the Community College of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Hazardous Substance Right-To-Know Act.
Part 2: Standard Operating Procedures for Working with Chemicals.
Part 3: Specific Health and Safety Information for Working with Chemicals.
Part 4: Chemical Toxicology.
The training and information will be provided when an employee is initially assigned to a laboratory where hazardous chemicals are present, and also prior to assignments involving new hazardous chemicals and/or new laboratory work procedures.
The training and information program will describe the:
When an employee is to perform a non-routine task presenting hazards for which he or she has not already been trained, the employee's supervisor will be responsible for discussing with the employee the hazards of the task and any special measures (e.g. personal protective equipment or engineering controls) that should be used to protect the employee.
Every laboratory worker should know the location and proper use of available protective clothing and equipment, and emergency equipment/procedures. Information on protective clothing and equipment is contained in Section 2.3 of this manual.
There are numerous sources of chemical safety information. These sources include:
The Library at each campus maintains reference materials addressing chemical health and safety issues under the designation Chemical Hygiene Plan Reference Literature. The references include chemical workplace exposure standards, OSHA'S Laboratory Safety Standard, Rhode Island Chapter 28-21, the Hazardous Substance Right-To-Know Act and other laboratory safety references. Material safety data sheets received from suppliers are available in the security offices at the Knight, Flanagan, Providence and Newport Campuses, and also in the SDS Stations mounted on the walls outside of rooms where the chemicals are being used.
All containers of chemicals, which could pose a physical or health hazard to an exposed employee or student, must have a label attached. Labels on purchased hazardous chemicals must include:
Most labels will provide you with additional safety information to help you protect yourself while working with this substance. This includes protective measures to be used when handling the material, clothing that should be worn, first aid instructions, storage information and procedures to follow in the event of a fire, leak or spill.
If you find a container with no label, report it to your laboratory paraprofessional. You should also report labels that are torn or illegible so that the label can be replaced immediately. Existing labels on new containers of hazardous chemicals should never be removed or defaced, except when empty! If you use secondary working containers that will take more than one work shift or laboratory period to empty, or if there is a chance that someone else will handle the container before you finish it, you must label it. This is part of your responsibility to help protect co-workers and students.
Read the label each time you use a newly purchased chemical. It is possible the manufacturer may have added new hazard information or reformulated the product since your last purchase, and thus altered the potential hazards you face while working with the product.
All employees involved in unpacking chemicals are responsible for inspecting each incoming container to ensure that it is labeled with the information outlined above. The Chemical Safety Coordinator or Laboratory Paraprofessional must be notified if containers do not have proper labels.
A Safety Data Sheet, often referred to by its acronym SDS, is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical which describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. Information included in a Safety Data Sheet aids in the selection of safe products, helps employers, employees and students understand the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to respond effectively to exposure situations.
Since the OSHA globally harmonized standard, SDS's are now required to be standardized in a 16 part format.
All Safety Data Sheets should include the following information, available at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/HazComm_QuickCard_SafetyData.html, or otherwise available more expansively in Appendix D of 1910.1200.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new SDSs to be in a uniform, standardized format.
Prominent signs of the following types should be posted in each laboratory:
Regular environmental or employee exposure monitoring of airborne concentrations is not usually warranted or practical in laboratories because chemicals are typically used for relatively short time periods and in small quantities. However sampling may be appropriate when a highly toxic substance is used regularly (three or more separate handling sessions per week), used for an extended period of time (greater than 3 to 4 hours at a time) or used in especially large quantities. Notify the Chemical Safety Coordinator if you are using a highly toxic substance in this manner.
The exposures to laboratory employees who suspect and report that they have been over overexposed to a toxic chemical in the laboratory, or are displaying symptoms of overexposure to toxic chemicals, will also be assessed. The assessment will initially be qualitative and, based upon the professional judgment of the Chemical Safety Coordinator, may be followed up by specific quantitative monitoring. A memo, or report, documenting the assessment will be sent to the employees involved and their supervisors or Department Chairs within fifteen days of receipt of the results. A copy will be stored in a central exposure records file maintained by the Department of Security and Safety and College Police. Individual concerns about excessive exposures occurring in the laboratory should be brought to the attention of your supervisor, Department Chair, or the Chemical Safety Coordinator immediately.
The College will provide employees who work with hazardous chemicals an opportunity to receive medical attention, including any follow-up examinations which the examining physician determines to be necessary, whenever an employee:
Individuals with life threatening emergencies should call the Campus Security Office to have an ambulance summoned. Security can be reached at 825-2109 (Knight Campus), 333-7035 (Flanagan Campus),455-6050 (Providence Campus) or 851-1620 (Newport Campus). All accidents resulting in injuries which require medical treatment (including first aid) should be reported immediately to Security. The injured employee may seek treatment at a emergency room, at the Pawtucket or Warwick location of OH + R or at his/her own physician.
Where medical consultations or examinations are provided the examining physician shall be provided with the following information:
Every laboratory ventilation hood used for the control of air contaminants shall be tested twice yearly to assure that adequate airflow is being maintained to provide continued protection against employee over-exposure. The Maintenance Departments, under the direction of the College Engineer, is responsible for performing this testing. Laboratory hood airflow shall be considered adequate when the average face velocity equals 100 feet/minute (±20%) with the hood sash at a working height (15 to 20 inches).Other local exhaust ventilation, such as instrument vents, will also be tested.
The College attempts to minimize employee and student respiratory exposure to potentially hazardous chemical substances through engineering methods (such as local exhaust ventilation) or administrative control. It is recognized, however, that for certain situations or operations, the use of these controls may not be feasible or practical. Under these circumstances or while such controls are being instituted, or in emergency situations, the use of personal respiratory protective equipment may be necessary. A sound and effective program is essential to assure that the personnel using such equipment are adequately protected.
The College has adopted a written Respiratory Protection Program for using respirators. This plan outlines organizational responsibilities for the following respirator program components: exposure assessment; respirator selection; medical approval and surveillance; fit testing; user training; inspection/repair; cleaning/disinfection; and storage. Each of these program components is required by OSHA's respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) in all situations where respirators are used. If you are using a respirator and are not included in the respirator protection program, or have questions concerning the use of respirators or any of the program components; contact your supervisor or the Chemical Safety Coordinator.
All exposure assessments and occupational medical consultation/examination reports will be confidential and maintained by the Personnel Department a secure area in accordance with OSHA's medical records rule (29 CFR 1910.20). Individuals may obtain copies or read their reports contacting the Personnel Office.
Under some circumstances, a particular chemical substance and associated laboratory operation, procedure or activity may be considered sufficiently hazardous to require prior approval from the Chemical Safety Coordinator before work begins. This approval process will ensure that safeguards are properly set up and that personnel and students are adequately trained in the procedure. The chemical substances listed in Appendix A require prior approval before beginning work.
Carefully read the label before using a chemical. The manufacturer's or supplier's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will provide special handling information. Be aware of the potential hazards existing in the laboratory and the appropriate safety precautions. Know the location and proper use of emergency equipment, the appropriate procedures for responding to emergencies, and the proper methods for storage, transport and disposal of chemicals within the facility.
Students and student helpers may never work alone in a laboratory. Faculty and Laboratory Paraprofessionals should not work alone in the laboratory unless absolutely necessary. If you must work alone or in the evening, let someone else know and have them periodically check on you.
Label all secondary chemical containers with appropriate identification and hazardous information (see Section I, Container Labeling).
Use only those chemicals for which you have the appropriate exposure controls (such as a chemical fume hood) and administrative programs/procedures (training, restricted access, etc.). Always use adequate ventilation with chemicals. Operations using large quantities (500 milliliters or more) of volatile substances with workplace standards at or below 50 ppm should be performed in a chemical fume hood.
Use hazardous chemicals and all laboratory equipment only as directed or for their intended purpose.
Inspect equipment or apparatus for damage before adding a hazardous chemical. Do not use damaged equipment.
Inspect personal protective apparel and equipment for integrity or proper functioning before use.
Malfunctioning laboratory equipment (hood) should be labeled or tagged "out of service" so that others will not inadvertently use it before repairs are made.
Handle and store laboratory glassware with care. Do not use damaged glassware. Use extra care with Dewar flasks and other evacuated glass apparatus; shield or wrap them to contain chemicals or fragments should implosion occur.
Do not dispense more of a hazardous chemical than is needed for immediate use.