Office of Emergency Management | Environment, Health & Safety | Chemical Safety |

Chemical Hygiene Guide: General

Guide Background
This Chemical Hygiene Guide provides a set of guidelines designed to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students in LSCS laboratories. This Chemical Hygiene Guide (Guide) details safe practices for working in a LSCS laboratory.

This Guide outlines the day-to-day safe work practices needed to protect faculty, staff and students from chemical hazards. This Guide is reviewed and updated as needed (at least annually) to keep it current with site laboratory facilities and work procedures. The Chief Emergency Management Officer (CEMO) working with the Director of Risk Management, the Executive Director of Facilities and senior Laboratory leadership (The Committee) will conduct the plan review.

LSCS is committed to the safety of its employees and students. Safety is the joint responsibility of LSCS, its employees and students as defined in this Guide. The Office of Emergency management is committed to providing a safe and healthy work and study environment.

Responsibilities
Responsibility for chemical hygiene and general laboratory safety resides at all levels including:

  1. Laboratory Workers and Students
  2. Laboratory Supervisors
  3. Laboratory Manager
  4. Department Heads
  5. Chief Emergency Management Officer (CEMO)
  6. Risk Management 
  7. The Laboratory Facility
    - General Laboratory Ventilation
    - Laboratory Fume Hoods
    - Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs)
    - Other Localized Ventilation Devices
    - Fire Extinguishers
    - Eye Wash Stations
    - Safety Showers 
  1. Laboratory Workers and Students
  2. Laboratory workers and students have the basic responsibility for caring for own safety. These individuals are more likely to become affected by chemicals or biohazards, and most able to control exposure to themselves and others to those hazards through the use of proper safety equipment and appropriate handling techniques. Laboratory workers and students are responsible for:
    1. Work in a manner so as not to endanger herself/himself and fellow workers and students.
    2. Follow the requirements of this Chemical Hygiene Guide.
    3. Inform faculty, coworkers and supervisor of any hazardous procedures or chemicals being used.
    4. Wear personal protective equipment as required by this Chemical Hygiene Guide or by the requirements specific to the particular laboratory as determine by department personnel.
    5. Maintain the work area in a clean and safe condition.
    6. Complete all required safety training.
    7. Reporting all accidents and incidents, unsafe practices, and unsafe conditions to the Laboratory Supervisor and if appropriate the Office of Risk Management or CEMO.
    8. Report to LSCS Risk Management (832.813.6510) and the Laboratory Supervisor any injuries or upon showing signs of chemical or biohazard exposure.
    9. Confront any unsafe behavior on the part of coworkers or students that could injure themselves or others.
    10. Report to the supervisor any recurring unsafe behavior.
    11. Ensure that visitors are aware of hazards in the laboratory and wear safety glasses as required.
  3. Laboratory Supervisors
    Any person who directly supervises a person who works in the laboratory is considered to be a laboratory supervisor. These supervisors are familiar with the work being carried out in the laboratories and are expected to be familiar with the safety conditions present. Supervisors are expected to ensure that the supervised individuals comply with the provisions of the chemical hygiene guide, and advise and work with the appropriate LSCS departments to correct any safety deficiencies in the laboratory environment. Supervisors have the following responsibilities:
    1. Ensure that appropriate eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) are worn at all times in the laboratory and that laboratory coats and gloves are used as required by the policies in this Chemical Hygiene Plan.
    2. Ensure good housekeeping to maintain safe work areas and minimize exposure of workers and students to chemical dusts and vapors.
    3. Ensure that safety equipment (fume hoods, etc.) is in good working condition.
    4. Ensure that Facilities personnel test eyewash stations on a regular basis -- weekly.
    5. Ensure Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and other reference sources on hazards, safe handling, and disposal of chemicals are available in the work areas.
    6. Ensure that laboratory workers and students are familiar with the hazards associated with the chemicals used in operations and procedures.
    7. Ensure that procedures regulating the transport, storage, use, and disposal of chemicals are followed.
    8. Inform the Laboratory Manager, Risk Management, or CEMO of possible signs or symptoms of chemical exposure experienced by an individual.
  4. Laboratory Manager (Principal Investigator)
    Laboratory Managers, also referred to as Principal Investigators (PI), set the tone for safety within their operations. PIs are are to ensure that unsafe conditions are corrected. They have the responsibility to:
    1. Require their personnel and students to know and follow the policies and procedures in this Chemical Hygiene Guide and practice safe laboratory behavior.
    2. Appointing a Chemical Hygiene Officer for the laboratory work area
    3. Ensure that proper eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) are worn at all times in the laboratories, and that laboratory coats and gloves are used as required by the policies and procedures in this Chemical Hygiene Guide.
    4. Require that all laboratory support personnel and students attend all appropriate safety training.
    5. Ensure that the physical facilities are adequate for the work being done.
    6. Recognize and reinforce safe behavior in the workplace.
    7. Review the results of laboratory inspections and ensure that corrective actions are taken to improve laboratory safety conditions.
    8. Participate in formal and informal inspections of the work area.
  5. Department Heads
    Department Heads have the role of setting the tone for safety within their departments. They are in the best position to encourage and enforce safe behavior in their faculty and staff, and to ensure that unsafe conditions are corrected. They have the responsibility to:
    1. Require that their faculty, staff, and students know and follow the rules of their Chemical Hygiene Plan and practice safe laboratory behavior.
    2. Ensure that proper eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) are worn at all times in the laboratories and that lab coats and gloves are used as required by LSCS policies and practices.
    3. Require that staff and students members attend all appropriate safety training.
    4. Ensure that laboratory safety training is provided as needed, and that the results of such training are documented. Specialized training for certain groups will be determined in consultation with the Principal Investigator.
    5. Ensure that the physical facilities are adequate for the work being done.
    6. Recognize and reinforce safe behavior in the workplace.
    7. Review the results of laboratory inspections and ensure that corrective actions are taken to improve lab safety conditions.
  6. Chief Emergency Management Officer (CEMO)
    The responsibility of the CEMO includes:
    1. Write a LSCS a Chemical Hygiene Guide and review/revise as necessary or at least annually.
    2. Work with laboratory management, the Office of Risk Management, and the Facilities Department to assist with the development and implementation of appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices.
    3. Monitor to ensure that laboratory safety training is provided and the results of such training are documented. Specialized training for certain groups will be determined in consultation with the Principal Investigator.
    4. Provide technical guidance to the research area on matters of laboratory safety.
    5. Assist with the coordinating clean-up operations in the event of a large chemical or biological spill or if a spill reaches the environment.
    6. Work with state and local officials on matters of codes and enforcement.
    7. Organize and lead a System Safety Committee to identify safety issues and work on solutions.
    8. Monitor to ensure that laboratory inspections are conducted and the results documented.
    9. Liaison with external agencies to provide safety technical support to aid in resolving safety issues for members of the laboratory operations.
    10. Assist, when needed, in investigating accidents and consulting with the affected employee and immediate supervisor to establish accidental prevention measures.
    11. Assist with the adoption and implementation of LSCS health and safety policies.
    12. Inform LSCS Risk Management of any accidents and recommended prevention measures.
  7. Risk Management
    The responsibility of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety include:
    1. Provide technical guidance to the research area on matters of laboratory safety.
    2. Inspect laboratories to assure compliance with safety and health guidelines and regulations, and to assist with remediation of safety issues.
    3. Investigate accidents in accordance with LSCS recordkeeping criteria and recommend action to reduce the potential for recurrence.
    4. Assist with the coordinating clean-up operations in the event of a large chemical or biological spill or if a spill reaches the environment.
    5. Assist in providing training programs in laboratory safety.
    6. Work with state and local officials on matters of codes and enforcement.
    7. Assist laboratory personnel with evaluating, preventing and controlling hazards
    8. Oversee the adoption and implementation of all LSCS health and safety policies.
    9. Maintain training and audit documentation.
  8. The Laboratory Facility
    1. General Laboratory Ventilation
      A general ventilation system with air intakes and exhausts located to prevent exposure to contaminated air. The system must:
      1. Provide a source of clean air for breathing and for input to the laboratory fume hoods.
      2. Not to be relied upon for protection from toxic substances released into the laboratory. The general laboratory ventilation system is not designed to protect workers and students from toxic, carcinogenic and/or flammable materials being used on the bench top. Primary control of toxic substances is afforded by use of localized exhaust devices (fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, etc.)
      3. Ensure that laboratory air is continually replaced. A minimum exchange rate of 8 to 12 room changes/hour is normally adequate ventilation if local exhaust systems such as fume hoods are used as the primary method of control.
      4. Prevent increase of concentrations to toxic substances during the working day.
      5. Direct air flow into the laboratory from non-laboratory areas and out to the exterior of the building.
      6. Be modified only by trained personnel.
      7. Following any alterations of the ventilation system, thorough testing must be done to ensure that worker protection from airborne toxic substances continues to be adequate.
      8. Ensure that general air flow is not turbulent and is relatively uniform throughout the laboratory, with no high velocity or static areas.
    2. Laboratory fume hoods
      Laboratory fume hoodsare provided for working with chemicals. All laboratory fume hoods must be adjusted to provide 100 feet per minute (fpm) face velocity with an acceptable range of 80 to 120 fpm. Fume hoods must be tested as typically used to assure that no eddy currents are carrying chemicals into workers breathing zones. LSCS will perform inspection and certification of laboratory fume hoods annually. The Facilities Department will maintain records of these inspections.
    3. Biological safety cabinets (BSCs)
      BSCs are provided in those laboratories that are currently working with biohazardous materials that may be infectious by inhalation. In general, biological safety cabinets are NOT designed for use with chemicals or radionuclides. The HEPA filters are NOT designed to “trap” chemical vapors. Therefore, cabinets that exhaust into the laboratory can discharge chemical vapors resulting in exposures to laboratory workers and others in the building. Airborne chemicals can also damage HEPA filters, gaskets, and the housing assemblies. Biosafety Cabinets are not designed with intrinsically-safe electrical components and flammable chemical vapors can result in a fire or explosion in contact with these ignition sources. Volatile organic solvents or volatile radionuclides may NOT be used in Class I or II Type A1 cabinets. Only minute quantities of these materials may be used in Class II Type B2 and Class II Type A2 biological safety cabinets and when canopy connected to the building exhaust system. An outside contractor will perform inspections and certification of these cabinets annually. The individual laboratories will maintain records of these inspections. Researchers should be trained in the use of a Biosafety Cabinet prior to working in one.
    4. Other localized ventilation devices
      Ventilated storage cabinets and point source ventilation, such as vented balance cabinets, laboratory snorkels, etc. shall be provided as needed.
    5. Fire Extinguishers
      Fire extinguishers shall be present in each laboratory and their locations marked in a highly visible manner. Access to them must NOT be blocked. The State of Texas and local Building Code determines the number, size, type and location of the extinguishers. Questions on fire extinguishers should be directed to the Facilities Department. Inspections of the extinguishers will be conducted quarterly by the Facilities Management Department. This event will be recorded on a tag on the extinguisher. If an extinguisher has been used, report this to the Facilities Department who will see that the unit is recharged.
    6. Eye Wash Stations
      Eye wash station locations will be marked in a highly visible manner and all laboratory personnel should know the location. Access to the eye wash stations must not be blocked and installed in accordance with ANSI Standard Z358.1-1998. Each week laboratory personnel should flush eyewash stations in the laboratory to ensure that the water flows clean and meets in a steady stream in the center and will record the event by initialing and dating a tag fastened to the eyewash. Semiannually an eyewash station test will be conducted by Facilities Management, which will also record the event by initialing and dating a tag fastened to the eyewash. If problems are found with the eyewash notify the Facilities Department immediately to repair or replace the unit.
    7. Safety Showers
      Safety showersare located in the laboratories within 10 seconds from a work area. These areas are clearly marked, and all laboratory personnel and students should know the location. Access to the emergency showers must not be blocked and installed in accordance with ANSI Standard Z358.1-1998. The safety showers are tested semiannually by the Facilities Department.
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