Laboratory Safety


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Hazard Communication

& Laboratory Safety

September 2008

Laboratory Safety

Safety in the workplace:




Hazards and Risk Assessment

Who is Responsible for Workplace Safety

Laboratory Safety Management:

Regulatory Agencies

operating principals or requirements
related to many areas in addition to safety. Many
safety regulations are voluntary.


operating principals required by law.

Areas that have standards and regulations:

Worker safety

Environmental Protection

Use and Handling of Animals

Regulation of Radioisotopes

Regulatory Agencies

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory. Handling
and Disposal of Chemicals.
National Research
Council, National Academy Press. Washington,
D.C. 1995

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical
Laboratories 4th U.S.
Department of Health and
Human Services, Public Health Service Centers
for Disease Control and National Institutes of
Health. U.S. Government Printing Office 1999.

Regulatory Agencies

OSHA web site :

EPA web site:

Other Government Agencies

that have regulatory oversight:

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

OSHA (Occupational Safety

and Health Administration)

Federal Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)
regulates the use of hazardous materials in industrial
workplaces. It focuses on the availability of information
concerning employee hazard exposure and applicable
safety measures.
Right to Know Law.

workplace hazard identification

written hazard communication plan (CHP)

files of Material Data Safety Sheets for all hazardous chemicals

clear labeling of all chemicals

worker training for the safe use of all chemicals

Institutional Responsibility

Institutional Responsibility

1990 Occupational Exposure to
Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
Standards (29 CFR Part 1910) :

mandates the development of a chemical
hygiene plan (CHP) for every institution.
The CHP is a written manual that outlines
the specific information and procedures
necessary to protect workers from hazardous

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Items that must be addressed in the CHP:

General chemical safety rules and procedures

Purchase, distribution, and storage of chemicals

Environmental monitoring

Availability of medical programs

Maintenance, housekeeping, and inspection procedures

Availability of protective devices and clothing

Record keeping policies

Training and employee information programs

Chemical labeling requirement

Accident and spill policies

Waste disposal programs

Emergency response plans

Designation of safety officer

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has
primary responsibility for enforcement of laws to
prevent environmental contamination with
hazardous chemicals.

Clean Water Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

Clean Air Act

Environmental Protection

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act


Provides a system for tracking hazardous waste,
including poisonous or reactive chemicals from creation
to disposal (cradle to grave)

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): designed to
regulate chemicals that pose health or environmental

Establishes chemical inventory and record keeping
requirements. Allows EPA to ban or control
hazardous chemicals in commerce.

Laboratory Responsibility

Laboratory Responsibility

Institutions have policies, but these policies
need to be implemented at the individual
laboratory level.

Commitment to risk reduction should be a
clear and constant goal for all members of
the laboratory group.

Laboratory Responsibility

Designation of a safety officer (committee)

safety advisor to laboratory

ensure that safety procedures are documented

act as a liaison with the institutions safety officers

communicate policy changes to co

coordinate internal safety inspections

ensure that equipment is properly maintained

keep records of hazards and problems within the

Laboratory Responsibility

Labeling and Documentation

Lack of proper labeling is one of the most
common OSHA citations against laboratories.

Labeling should provide identification to new workers
and emergency personnel


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS):

A legally required technical document
provided by chemical suppliers that
describes the specific properties of a


No specific format.

Types of information typically provided:

Chemical name

Chemical supplier

Composition and ingredients information

Potential health effects

Exposure levels, with specific concentrations and times

First Aid Procedures

Fire fighting procedures

Accidental release procedures

Handling and storage procedures

Recommended personnel protection

Physical and chemical properties

Stability and reactivity

Toxicological information

Environmental impact

Disposal Recommendations

Transportation information

Regulatory information

Laboratory Responsibility

Job Safety Analysis:

a detailed step by step analysis
of each step in a procedure identifying hazards
and outlining accident prevention strategies.


Clean Up after yourself!

Balances, Centrifuges, other common

Freezers and Refrigerators

Laboratory Responsibility

Emergency Response

All Personnel should be familiar with basic emergency

At least one person trained in CPR and basic first aid

First aid kit must be readily accessible and fully stocked

All required protective devices such as fire extinguishers,
fire blankets, and eyewash stations must be well marked
and easily accessible.

Emergency telephone numbers and instructions should be
prominently displayed b y each phone

Evacuation routes should be kept well clear of boxes and

Laboratory Responsibility

Laboratory Rooms should be labeled

Hazard Diamond System (S&M p614):
chemicals according to their fire, reactivity, and general
health hazards

Scale of 0
4; 0 being non
hazardous, 4 being very

Biohazard Warning signs

Biosafety Levels (S&M p642)

Biosafety Levels

All associated with : Standard
microbiological practices, special
practices, safety equipment
(primary barriers), and
laboratory facilities (secondary


: “is suitable for work involving well
characterized agents not known to consistently
cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of
minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel
and the envioronment.”

Biosafety Levels

: “is similar to Biosafety Level 1 and is suitable for
work involving agents of moderate potential hazard to
personnel and the environment.”

“is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching,
research, or production facilities in which work is done
with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause
serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of
exposure by the inhalation route.”

Biosafety Levels

”is required for work with dangerous and exotic
agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol
transmitted laboratory infections and life

Animal Biosafety Levels: when experimental animals are
being used.

Personnel Responsibility

Personnel Responsibility

Ultimately it is up to you the individual
laboratory worker who is responsible for
his/her safety and the safety of their
after all it is you who has the
most to lose, your health, eyesight, or life.

Personnel Safety Practices

Be sure that you are informed about the hazards that
you encounter in the laboratory.

Be aware of emergency protocols.

When in doubt about a hazardous material or
procedure, ask.

Use personnel protective wear such as lab coats and
safety glasses

Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in the

Avoid practical jokes and/or horse play

Use gloves when in doubt

Wash your hands regularly

Personnel Safety Practices

Always wash your hands thourougly before leaving the

Disinfect your workspace before starting work and when

Read the labels of chemicals carefully

Read procedures before performing them and visualize
hazardous steps

Minimize use of sharp objects (needles, broken glass) and
know how to dispose of them

Clean up spills and pick up any dropped items immediately

Label everything clearly

Use a fume hood for chemicals and solvents that you can
smell, has known toxic properties, or is unfamiliar to you.

Record everything in your lab notebook

Always report accidents, however minor.

Laboratory Safety

Text References:

General Safety Guidelines: Chapter 2 “Introduction to a
Safe Workplace” pages 19
32. Physical Hazards: Chapter
28 “Working Safely in the Laboratory General
Considerations & Physical Hazards” pages 595

Chemical Hazards: Chapter 29 “ Working Safely with
Chemicals” pages 613

Biological Hazards: Chapter 30 “Workng Safely with
Biological Materials” pages 639

Seidman and Moore, Basic Laboratory Methods for

Physical Hazards


Bunsen Burners


Compressed Gas Cylinders

Broken Glassware

Razorblades and needles

Electrical Equipment

Ultraviolet light

Chemical Hazards

Flammable Chemicals

Reactive Chemicals

Corrosive Chemicals

Toxic Chemicals

See Chapter 29 Tables 29.1,2,3,5&6.

Biological Hazards

Guidelines & Regulations pertaining to Biological
Hazards (Table 30.2)

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical


OSHA Bloodborn Pathogens Standard


Guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA


Biological Safety Manual for Research involving
Oncogenic viruses


Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals


Animal Welfare

USDA 9CFR parts 1,2,3

Risk assessment

Risk Assessment for Biological Agents (Table 30.1)

Is this a known human or primate pathogen?

What is the history of laboratory use of this organism or
agent and what are the recognized risks?

Has this agent been associated with a laboratory acquired
infection and if so what were the health effects of that

Is there an effective treatment or preventative vaccine?

Biological Risk Assessment

Does this agent frequently induce
sensitivity or allergies in workers?

What is my potential susceptibility as a
function of age, sex, or medical condition?

How can I limit my exposure to the agent?

What are the recommended safety
precautions for this agent and are they
being practiced in this laboratory?

Is the estimated risk acceptable to me?

Std. Microbiological Practices

Standard Microbiological Practices (Table 30.3)

Access to the laboratory should be limited to trained personnel

Lab coats and Eye protection should be worn at all times

Workers should wash their hands after any work with microorganisms and
whenever they leave the lab

Eating, drinking and smoking in the laboratory are prohibited

Hand to mouth, or hand to eye contact should be avoided

pipetting of any substance in the laboratory is prohibited

Steps should be taken to minimize aerosol production

Work should be performed on a clean impervious bench surface with an
appropriate disinfectant available

Work surfaces should be decontaminated after any spill and at the end of
every work session

All biological materials should be properly decontaminated before

Lab Assignment

Draw a floor plan of the laboratory showing lab benches, and lecture desks.
Include in your drawing the following:


Fire Extinguishers

Eye Wash Stations

Safety Shower

Fire Extinguisher

Fire Blanket

washing sink

Master gas shutoff

Master electricity shut off

aid kit

Biohazardous waste container

Sharps containers

Broken glass containers

Routine garbage containers

Chemical disposal containers


After observing and/or discharging a dry
chemical fire extinguisher answer the
following questions.

What class of fire extinguisher did you
discharge or observe being discharged?

Could you use this type of fire extinguisher on
an electrical fire? A solvent (chemical) fire? A
combustible metal fire?

Outline the steps you took to operate the fire

Practice using a fire blanket. After using
the fire blanket answer the following

Are there any obstacles to using the fire

How could you rearrange things so that there
is unimpeded access to the fire blanket?

List 3 items of personal protective
equipment available in the laboratory.




What items are found in the laboratory

first aid kit?

Hazard Analysis:

Conduct a safety audit of the laboratory listing
any observed safety violations. Discuss these
safety violations with your laboratory partners.

What steps would you suggest to remove or
reduce these violations.