Chemical Safety

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120719_Campus_SummerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has responsibility for workplace regulations designed to prevent injuries and protect the health of workers. Research laboratories are unique workplaces.  In order to address the worker protection needs in these facilities OSHA developed a specific standard, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories (29 CFR 1910.1450). This standard, often referred to as the OSHA Laboratory Standard, imposes many requirements, including developing a written Chemical Hygiene Plan. The complete Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) for all university laboratories consists of three parts: The University of Alabama Chemical Hygiene Plan, a laboratory-specific CHP, and the Standard Operating Procedures specific for your work practices.

The UA CHEMICAL HYGIENE PLAN covers the basic requirements for most laboratory areas. Each lab is expected to develop a customized CHP that addresses risk and hazard controls for their areas. Guidance for how this is to be done is included in the manual. It is essential that this be done by someone who is completely familiar with the work and work area covered, and who has read and understood the CHP and its requirements. Assistance is always available from the Chemical Hygiene Officer (Marcy Huey) and the Chemical Safety Manager (Andrea Davidson) at EHS.

Chemical Hygiene Program Information

Work with hazardous chemicals requires the review and approval of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) before work begins.  SOPs and SOP templates are available at Standard Operating Procedures.

Information about training and the training course request can be found at Training. 

Information about ordering chemicals or other items can be found in Ordering Information.

To submit a completed SOP, click here.

Research and teaching labs sometimes need to dispose of chemical materials.  The UA CHP provides instructions on how to dispose of these items.  Further information on chemical disposal can be found in the Chemical Disposal Guidelines.  Unwanted chemicals require an Unwanted Chemical Label.

Shipping of chemical materials of any type is potentially subject to DOT and/or IATA regulations.  Please review our Shipping Information.

Laboratory Decommissioning guidelines and equipment/room tags are posted at Forms and Supporting Documents.  Before anyone else can move into a lab room, all lab spaces MUST be decommissioned (by the exiting Lab PI or Research Group) anytime you relinquish control the space for any reason.

Helpful Chemical Hygiene and Laboratory Safety Links

  • ChemView: Health and safety data on chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredient List: The Safer Chemical Ingredients List contains chemicals that meet the criteria of the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program
  • Evaluations of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: As evaluated in IARC Monographs
  • Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) and Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)
  • Less is Better: Guide to Minimizing Waste in Laboratories, 2002 version of the popular ACS publication
  • Teratogens: from Purdue University, based on Sax 9th ed. “Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials”
  • Compressed Gas Safety from AirGas
  • Compressed Gas Association safety resources
  • National Library of Medicine Environmental Health & Toxicology
  • Here’s a link to a website that gives you health hazard information on hundreds of commonly used chemicals.  Just click on the name of the chemical you are concerned with to see detailed industrial hygiene information on that chemical , including:
    • General description  (CAS, RTECS, NIOSH)
    • Exposure limits  (OSHA, ACGIH, NIOSH)
    • Health factors  (carcinogen, IDLH, symptoms, target organs, & other      references)
    • Monitoring methods  (e.g. sampling media, air volume, flow      rates, wipe sampling, bulk sampling, etc.) used by      OSHA .  It lists the detailed sampling methods that the OSHA      Salt Lake Technical Center (SLTC) instructs their Industrial Hygienists to      follow when sampling for airborne contaminants.