Chemical Safe Use

Safe chemical use includes minimizing exposure to chemicals, understanding chemical hazards, safety data sheets, routes of chemical entry, chemical exposure limits, chemical exposure monitoring, toxicity, chemical labeling, general storage guidelines, transporting chemicals, and chemical segregation.

Understanding and Communicating Chemical Hazards

Proper hazard communication involves the active participation of the PI and/or Laboratory Supervisor and the CHO, who are each responsible for providing consultation and safety information to personnel working with hazardous chemicals.

List of Hazardous Substances: Every lab group is required to keep an updated copy of their chemical inventory on file, which must be made available to EHS upon request. For each hazardous substance on their inventory, specific information on any associated health or safety hazards must be made readily available to all laboratory personnel. Compressed gases need to be included in the chemical inventory.

The term “hazardous substance” refers to any chemical for which 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 individuals. Hazardous substances include, but are not limited to, those chemicals listed in the following:

Any novel chemical produced should be presumed hazardous. Chemical derivatives of known materials should be assumed to be at least as hazardous as their known parent compound. Novel compounds should be treated with extreme caution to prevent exposure. Inventory items found on the above lists are subject to the requirements outlined below.

Hazardous materials are also defined in NFPA codes and standards as chemicals or substances that are classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard.

Chemicals can be divided into physical and chemical hazards:

Physical hazards include those of fire, explosion or electric shock. Other physical hazards arise from high or low pressure, such as cylinders of compressed gases and experimental vessels, cryogenic equipment, furnaces, refrigerators and glass apparatus.

Chemical hazards are associated with health effects and may be sub-classified as acute or chronic. Acute hazards are those capable of producing prompt effects (such as burns, inflammation, or damage to eyes, lungs, or nervous system). Some chemicals are extremely dangerous in this respect and a small amount can cause death or severe injury very quickly. Other toxicological effects of chemicals may be delayed or develop only after exposure over long periods of time and are referred to as chronic hazards.

Chemical Hygene Plan - Table of Contents