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Environmental Health & Safety


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  2. The Chemical Hygiene Plan requires laboratory employees to know and follow laboratory rules and procedures.  In addition to the information provided in the preceding sections, the following should also be followed.

    1. General Rules for All Laboratory Work with Chemicals
    2. The following "rules" are considered "good laboratory practices" and are to be used for all laboratory work with chemicals:

      1. Equipment and Glassware
        1. Handle and store laboratory glassware with care to avoid damage.  Discard clean damaged glassware immediately in "glass waste" boxes or other approved container.
        2. Use extra care with Dewar flasks and other evacuated glass apparatus.  Check these devices before each use for cracks or damage and discard them if found.  As a precaution, these devices should be shielded or wrapped to contain chemicals and fragments should an implosion occur.
        3. Do not use equipment with damaged or frayed electrical cords, wires, or plugs.
        4. Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring. Never couple extension cords together. Never couple power strips together.  Never couple an extension cord with a power strip.
        5. Hose clamps are to be placed on all condenser water connections.
        6. For procedures where equipment such as vacuum pumps might become chemically contaminated, a prefilter such as a cold trap (finger), a scrubber, or a filtration system should be used.  The exhaust should then be vented into a chemical fume hood. Decontaminate vacuum pumps or other contaminated equipment, including glassware, in a hood before removing them from the designated area.
      2. Choice of Chemicals:  Use only those chemicals for which the quality of the available ventilation system is appropriate.
      3. Eating, Smoking, Etc.
        1. Eating, drinking, taking medications, smoking, chewing gum, applying cosmetics, or handling contact lenses in areas where laboratory chemicals are present is prohibited.  Wash hands and any potentially exposed skin before leaving the lab to conduct these activities.
        2. Food and beverages must not be stored in refrigerators, freezers or cold room used for specimens or chemical storage.  Laboratory glassware, utensils, and microwaves are not to be used for the storage, cooking or consumption of food or beverages.
        3. The handling of iPods, MP3 players, cell phones, etc., while wearing gloves is not allowed.
      4. Mouth Suction: Mouth suction for pipeting or starting a siphon is prohibited.
      5. Personal Apparel:  Severe injuries and death have been reported to have occurred to lab personnel because their hair was caught in moving lab equipment or inappropriate clothing was worn.  Although the PI/supervisor is responsible for having his/her personnel wear appropriate apparel, the University requires lab personnel, at a minimum:
        1. to confine or tie long hair and loose clothing
        2. ;
        3. not wear dangling items (laces,/strings, neckties, jewelry);
        4. utilize break-away lanyards for IDs;
        5. wear only shoes/sneakers that enclose the entire foot, preferably NOT made of a material that would readily absorb liquids;
        6. never wear high-heeled shoes, light weight shoes or slippers that do not provide protection from broken glass or hazardous materials that may be released or may be on the floor;
        7. wear lab coats over street clothes to minimize potential chemical contamination when working with chemicals;
        8. wear a flame retardant lab coat when working frequently with flammable and pyrophoric agents;
        9. wear eye and face protection as determined by the SOP or JHA; and,
        10. wear hearing protection, when required.
      6. Personal Housekeeping:  Keep the work-area clean and uncluttered.  Chemicals and equipment should be properly labeled and stored.  Clean up the work area on completion of an operation or at the end of each day.
      7. Planning:  Employees are to seek information and advice about hazards, plan appropriate protective procedures, and plan positioning of equipment before beginning any new operation/protocol.
      8. Unattended Operations:  An appropriate sign (including an emergency contact person and phone number) is to be placed on the door for any unattended operation.  Provisions for the containment of toxic substances in the event of failure of a utility service (such as cooling water) are to be made for all unattended operations.
      9. Working Alone:  Multiple personnel need not be present when using common low hazard chemicals. However, a minimum of two employees must be present for procedures using chemicals of moderate, chronic, high acute toxicity, or high hazard chemical.
    3. Work with Chemicals of Moderate Chronic or High Acute Toxicity
    4. Examples of these materials include hydrofluoric acid, diisopropylfluorophosphate, hydrogen cyanide. The following supplemental rules, in addition to those listed in A, are to be followed:

      1. Use and store these substances only in areas of restricted access with appropriate warning signs.  Always use a chemical fume hood or other containment device for procedures that could result in the generation of aerosols or vapors containing the substance. Trap released vapors to prevent their discharge into the workspace by exhausting them into the hood exhaust.
      2. Personal Protection:  Always avoid skin contact by using gloves and other protective apparel, as established by the JHA or the lab’s SOP.  Always wash hands and any potentially exposed skin immediately after working with these materials.
      3. Prevention of Spills and Accidents:  Be prepared for accidents and spills.  Assure that at least 2 people are present at all times when using a highly toxic chemical or one of unknown toxicity.  Containers of these substances are to be stored in chemically resistant trays, capable of holding 110% of the contents of the stored chemicals.  Also, work and mount apparatus on trays, or cover work and storage surfaces with removable, absorbent, plastic backed paper.  If a major spill occurs outside the hood, evacuate the area and notify Public Safety of the location of the spill, the chemicals, and the quantities involved. If hydrogen fluoride is involved in the spill, immediate first aid measures need to be taken for skin exposures.  Consult for emergency first aid procedure for HF exposures.
    5. Work with Chemicals of High Chronic Toxicity
    6. Examples of these materials include acroline, arsine, chlorine, diazomethane, diborane (gas), hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen fluoride, methyl fluorosulfonate, nickel carbonyl, nitrogen dioxide, osmium tetroxide, ozone, phosgene, sodium azide, sodium cyanide, carcinogens, and reproductive agents. Further supplemental rules to be followed, in addition to those listed previously in A & B above, include:

      1. Access:  Conduct all transfers and work with these substances in a "controlled area" - a restricted access hood, glove box, or portion of a lab designated for use of highly toxic substances for which all people with access are aware of the substances being used and necessary precautions.
      2. Non-Contamination/Decontamination:  Protect vacuum pumps against accidental contamination by using cold traps (fingers), scrubbers, or HEPA filters, and vent the exhaust into a fume hood.  Decontaminate vacuum pumps or other contaminated equipment, including glassware, in the hood before removing them from the controlled area. The controlled area must be decontaminated before normal work is resumed there.
      3. Exiting:  Upon leaving a controlled area, reusable protective equipment must be decontaminated and any disposable protective apparel discarded in an appropriately labeled waste container.  Hands and any potentially exposed skin surface must be washed thoroughly.
      4. Housekeeping:  For dry powders, use a wet mop or a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
      5. Medical Surveillance:  If using toxicologically significant quantities of such a substance on a regular basis (e.g., 3 times per week), and where a potential for exposure exists, consult a UHS Occupational Health physician at x5-4955 concerning desirability of regular medical surveillance.
      6. Records:  Users are to keep accurate records of the amounts of these substances stored and used, the dates of use, and the names of users.
      7. Signs and Labels:  Assure that the controlled area is conspicuously marked with warning and restricted access signs and that all containers of these substances are appropriately labeled with identity and warning labels.
      8. Spills:  Assure that contingency plans, equipment, and materials (spill kits) are available to minimize exposure to people and property are available.
      9. Storage:  Store containers of these chemicals only in a ventilated, limited access area in appropriately labeled, unbreakable, chemically resistant, secondary containers.
      10. Glove Boxes:  For a negative pressure glove box, ventilation rate must be at least 2 volume changes/hour and a negative air pressure at least 0.5 inches of water.  For a positive pressure glove box, thoroughly check for leaks before each use.  In either case, trap the exit gases or filter them through an HEPA filter and then release them into a fume hood.
      11. Waste and Decontamination:  Prepare a plan for the disposal of these materials prior to use.  Whenever possible; ensure that containers of contaminated waste (including washings from contaminated flasks) are transferred to the hazardous waste container for disposal through the Environmental Compliance/Hazardous Waste Unit.
    7. Animal Work with Chemicals
    8. Lab personnel work with a variety of chemicals while doing animal research.  The chemicals could include but are not limited to adjuvants, anesthetic agents, analgesic agents, antibiotics, carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive agents, skin sensitizers, specific target organ toxicants, and teratogens.  For each of these chemicals in the listed hazard groupings, appropriate work place practices must be established to work safety.  Written safety precautions are provided by the Laboratory Safety Unit for any research chemical/drug administered to an animal to provide a frame work for the safe handling of the chemical agent.  For what may be considered low or medium hazard chemical agents, the use of commonly used engineering controls, workplace practices and personal protective equipment will provide adequate protection for the users.  For those chemical agents that pose a high chronic toxicity, see the next section.

    9. Animal Work with Chemicals of High Chronic Toxicity
    10. In addition to the precautions outlined in XVII A-D, the following is required:

      1. Administration of the Toxic Substance:  Toxic substances must be administered as specified in the protocol established on the University Committee on Animal Resources (UCAR) and the written review of the Laboratory Safety Unit.
      2. Aerosol Suppression:  Establish procedures that minimize formation and dispersal of contaminated aerosols, including those from food, urine, and feces (e.g., use HEPA filtered vacuum equipment for cleaning; moisten contaminated bedding before removal from the cage, mix diets in closed containers in a hood).
      3. Personal Protection:  When working in the animal room, personnel must wear the personal protective equipment specified on the door to the room.
      4. Waste Disposal:  Soiled bedding is to be removed from the cages at ventilated cage dumping stations.  The soiled bedding for many of these agents is disposed of through incineration.  Dispose of contaminated animal tissues by incineration.
    11. Site Specific Procedures
    12. This CHP is to be used for all UofR laboratories.  Because of the variety of labs, site-specific procedures (SOP - standard operating procedures) are needed at the laboratory level.  The Appendix of the CHP provides a template for lab’s to create a SOP.  Lab specific SOPs must include the circumstances under which a particular laboratory operation, procedure, or activity requires prior approval from the PI/supervisor before being implemented.  A lab’s collection of SOPs must be placed into the laboratory’s manual for easy access by lab personnel.

      The PI/supervisor is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the SOPs and for ensuring that lab members are trained and competent – possess the experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform their tasks without injuring themselves or others.

QUESTIONS or COMMENTS? Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

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