Working with or around chemicals in a laboratory setting may present serious hazards to employee physical safety and health. However, these hazards can be reduced and controlled by following a few simple steps. Safety procedures for lab work are documented in a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.1450). A Chemical Hygiene Plan is a written document stating the policies, procedures, and responsibilities that protect employees from the health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This training session addresses the provisions of this plan, including the information and procedures that will protect employees while working in the laboratory.
Why “Chemical Hygiene Plan” Matters:
The chemical hazard and preventive procedures training program called for in the CHP is designed to ensure that all personnel are adequately informed about the hazards of work in the laboratory, preventive measures and safe work procedures, and how to respond if an incident or accident occurs.
For example, every laboratory worker should know the locations and operations of emergency equipment such as eyewash stations and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Workers should be trained on all procedures they are asked to perform.
Regular emergency response or evacuation drills should be implemented.
First-aid instruction should be available and encouraged.
Accurate information concerning chemical hygiene should be readily available to laboratory personnel, who should be trained in how to use these information resources.
The chemical hazard training and education program should be a regular, continuing activity—not simply an annual presentation.
Some of the key points of this course:
- It is up to all trained personnel to know the provisions of the CHP and to put the CHP into action.
- Employees must know how to access information on the safe handling of chemicals and get others to do so.
- By taking responsibility and getting others to do so, a culture of safety at the facility and throughout the organization is cultivated.
- The CHP is a working document that is regularly reviewed; input is always needed.