Handling and Storage Guidelines

Health Hazards and Toxic Chemicals and Unknown Toxicity

  • Designated area(s) for use of particularly hazardous substances must be formally established by developing SOPs and posting appropriate signage.
    • This designated area(s) may be an entire laboratory, a specific work bench, or a chemical fume hood.
  • When particularly hazardous substances are in use, access to the designated area shall be limited to personnel following appropriate procedures and who are trained in working with these chemicals.
  •  Access to areas where particularly hazardous substances are used or stored must be controlled by trained employees.
    • Working quantities of particularly hazardous substances should be kept as small as practical and their use should be physically contained as much as possible, usually within a laboratory fume hood or glove box.
    • It is the responsibility of each PI, or their designee, to train and authorize their staff for these operations and to maintain documentation of this training and authorization.
  •  Signage is required for all containers, designated work areas and storage locations. Sign wording must state the following, or similar, as appropriate for the specific chemical hazard: “DANGER, CANCER HAZARD - SUSPECT AGENT” “DANGER, CANCER HAZARD - REGULATED CARCINOGEN” “DANGER, REPRODUCTIVE TOXIN” “DANGER, ACUTE TOXIN” Entrances to designated work areas and storage locations must include signage, “AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY”, in addition to the above specific hazard warning wording.


  • It is important to recognize that some substances involved in research laboratories are new compounds and have not been subjected to testing for carcinogenicity.
  • When carcinogens are used in a laboratory, access to the laboratory will be clearly restricted to personnel trained in safe handling of highly toxic material.
  • Access and use of highly toxic substances and carcinogens shall be controlled and monitored.
  •  Instructors and graduate students using these materials shall record the amounts used, date and persons working with the materials.
  •  A separate inventory list of carcinogens, suspected carcinogens, reproductive toxins and highly toxic substances is recommended.
  • it is particularly important to review and effectively apply engineering and administrative safety controls as the regulatory requirements for laboratories that may exceed long term (8 hour) or short-term (15 minutes) threshold values for these chemicals are very extensive.
  • Any spill, release of, or suspected exposure to a carcinogen must be reported to RMS immediately.

Since there are additional regulations for the use, handling, and storage of carcinogens, the PI and/or Laboratory Supervisor should be notified immediately if there are any changes.

Chemical Hygene Plan - Table of Contents