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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
cation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan. Users of this appendix should consult "Prudent Practices" for a more extended presentation and justification for each recommendation.
"Prudent Practices" deals with both safety and chemical hazards while the laboratory standard is concerned primarily with chemical hazards. Therefore, only those recommendations directed primarily toward control of toxic exposures are cited in this appendix, with the term "chemical hygiene" being substituted for the word "safety." However, since conditions producing or threatening physical injury often pose toxic risks as well, page references concerning major categories of safety hazards in the laboratory are given in section F.
The recommendations from "Prudent Practices" have been paraphrased, combined, or otherwise reorganized, and headings have been added. However, their sense has not been changed.
Corresponding Sections of the Standard and This Appendix
The following table is given for the convenience of those who are developing a Chemical Hygiene Plan which will satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e) of the standard. It indicates those sections of this appendix which are most pertinent to each of the sections of paragraph (e) and related paragraphs.
Paragraph and topic in laboratory standard
Relevant appendix section
(e)(3)(i) Standard operating procedures for handling toxic chemicals.
C, D, E
(e)(3)(ii) Criteria to be used for implementation of measures to reduce exposures.
(e)(3)(iii) Fume hood performance.
(e)(3)(iv) Employee information and training (including emergency procedures).
(e)(3)(v) Requirements for prior approval of laboratory activities.
(e)(3)(vi) Medical consultation and medical examinations.
(e)(3)(vii) Chemical hygiene responsibilities.
(e)(3)(viii) Special precautions for work with particularly hazardous substances.
E2, E3, E4
In this appendix, those recommendations directed primarily at administrators and supervisors are given in sections A-D. Those recommendations of primary concern to employees who are actually handling laboratory chemicals are given in section E. (References to page numbers in "Prudent Practices" are given in parentheses.)
A. General Principles for Work with Laboratory Chemicals
In addition to the more detailed recommendations listed below in sections B-E, "Prudent Practices" expresses certain general principles, including the following:
It is prudent to minimize all chemical exposures. Because few laboratory chemicals are without hazards, general precautions for handling all laboratory chemicals should be adopted, rather than specific guidelines for particular chemicals (2,10). Skin contact with chemicals should be avoided as a cardinal rule (198).
Avoid underestimation of risk. Even for substances of no known significant hazard, exposure should be minimized; for work with substances which present special hazards, special precautions should be taken (10, 37, 38). One should assume that any mixture will be more toxic than its most toxic component (30, 103) and that all substances of unknown toxicity are toxic (3, 34).
Provide adequate ventilation. The best way to prevent exposure to airborne substances is to prevent their escape into the working atmosphere by use of hoods and other ventilation devices (32, 198).
Institute a chemical hygiene program. A mandatory chemical hygiene program designed to minimize exposures is needed; it should be a regular, continuing effort, not merely a standby or short-term activity (6,11). Its recommendations should be followed in academic teaching laboratories as well as by full-time laboratory workers (13).
Observe the PELs, TLVs. The Permissible Exposure Limits of OSHA and the Threshold Limit Values of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists should not be exceeded (13).
B. Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities
Responsibility for chemical hygiene rests at all levels (6, 11, 21) including the:
Chief executive officer, who has ultimate responsibility for chemical hygiene within the institution and must, with other administrators, provide continuing support for institutional chemical hygiene (7, 11).
Supervisor of the department or other administrative unit, who is responsible for chemical hygiene in that unit (7).