The laboratory chemicals found within this College are as varied as the purposes for which they are used. For this reason, general precautions for handling categories of chemicals are more appropriate than specific guidelines for each separate chemical. Nevertheless, all laboratories have available Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all chemicals used, handled and stored within the work area. They are readily available to all employees and students by contacting the Chemical Hygiene Officer or accessing on the Internet.
The Laboratory Director will supply the Chemical Hygiene Officer with a chemical inventory, which will be updated as changes occur. Further, all laboratories will post a chemical code sheet for the stock solutions and mixtures utilized within the work area. (See Appendix C)
A. Acute and Chronic Exposure
Recommendations for handling procedures for chemicals begin with the admonition that, even for substances with no known significant hazards, it is prudent to observe universal safe laboratory practices. Minimize exposure by working in a laboratory fume hood, wearing eye and hand protection, and laboratory coat or apron.
The toxicity of a substance is determined by its ability to damage or interfere with the structure or function of living tissue. An acute exposure is one that can cause damage as the result of a single or short duration exposure.
Chronic exposure is one that causes damage after repeated or long duration exposure, or becomes evident only after a long period of latency.
With any chemical, it is imperative that the Material Safety Data Sheet be consulted before it is used. The MSDS will list precautions for proper handling and limits for exposure.
Transporting hazardous chemicals from one location to another within the College can be safely accomplished when:
Central Supply will not release a hazardous substance to any laboratory that does not provide a safe and suitable means for their transport.
The correct storage of chemicals has become increasingly important to maintain a safe working environment, particularly when the number of chemicals in use increases and their toxicity becomes known.
Problems related to chemical storage can be significantly reduced by following the principles of LIMITING and SEGREGATING.
E. Designated Area
Laboratories working with carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or acutely toxic substances must establish a Designated Area. A Designated Area may be any part of a laboratory, a device such as a laboratory hood, or the entire laboratory.
The purpose of the Designated Area is to focus attention on the particularly hazardous substance that is being used and to ensure that all persons in the vicinity observe the necessary protective measures.
Designated Areas must be identified by appropriate signs, and the Laboratory Director must inform the lab occupants of the hazard and emergency procedures.
Prior approval must be obtained from the appropriate source (Chemical Hygiene Officer, Laboratory Director(s), Radiological Safety Committee, or Biohazard Committee) before laboratory procedures can be undertaken involving the following:
Prior consultation can ensure that appropriate measures are taken to establish safety protocols, minimize exposure, and establish proper waste disposal procedures.