The door to each laboratory utilizing hazardous equipment, toxic or flammable chemicals, and to hazardous materials storage rooms must be posted with an emergency response sign listing the nature of the hazards and name(s) and phone number(s) (work and home) of the individuals who are responsible for and/or familiar with the hazards and secured against unauthorized entry when the laboratory is unattended.
The storage and use of flammable liquids in laboratories shall comply with the applicable provisions of the National Fire Protection Association Standard 45, Fire Protection For Laboratories Using Chemicals, 1997.
Refrigerators used for the storage of flammable liquids must be designed for this purpose and labeled as such. Domestic refrigerators may not be used for flammable liquids storage and must bear a label prohibiting flammable storage. Existing domestic refrigerators modified by MU Facilities Department may continue to be used for flammable storage as long as they are properly labeled. Explosion-proof refrigerators (also referred to as intrinsically safe) are intended for use in locations where the atmosphere outside the refrigerator is, or is reasonably likely to be, explosive and are typically not required in MU laboratory environments.
Most laboratory fires are caused by ignition of flammable liquid spills or vapors that have spread from open containers near ignition sources such as hot-plates and burners. Experiments and demonstrations should be planned in advance to ensure that sufficient distance is maintained between ignition sources and exposed flammable liquids (some solvent vapors can spread 10 feet or more along a bench top or floor).
The purpose of a flammable liquid storage cabinet is to delay the ignition of stored flammable liquids during a laboratory fire. It is not intended to contain or remove harmful or foul smelling vapors from poorly capped or contaminated containers. Venting of storage cabinets can reduce the level of fire protection and is discouraged except when the contents are so volatile and foul smelling that it is absolutely necessary. Venting must be accomplished according to the manufacturer's recommendations and in compliance with building fire safety codes and with the approval of Occupational Safety and Health Services and Facilities Management. The vent covers provided with the cabinet must be maintained in place at all times except when removed for the installation of a vent system.
Storage of flammable liquids within a laboratory shall be limited to that required for the operation of the laboratory in addition to the following restrictions for laboratories and chemical storage rooms:
Chemical laboratories requiring a chemical hygiene plan and a chemical hygiene officer are those which use multiple chemical procedures or chemicals in a laboratory environment (i.e., where protective laboratory practices and equipment are available and in common use to minimize the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals). Pilot plant operations which simulate production processes are exempt.
Departments with laboratories meeting the OSHA definition of a chemical laboratory must appoint a chemical hygiene officer who will assist in the development and implementation of a written department-specific chemical hygiene plan. The chemical hygiene plan will contain procedures for procurement, storage, use, and disposal of laboratory chemicals as well as the use of emergency equipment, personal protective equipment, engineering controls, and administrative controls for student and employee protection against laboratory hazards. The chemical hygiene plan must also contain laboratory-specific standard operating procedures, SOPs, for each chemical procedure. The written laboratory-specific SOPs must include a list of chemicals in use, the required personal protective equipment to be used for each procedure, and the safe work practices for each procedure. Spill response and waste disposal procedures should also be addressed in the SOP.
The department chemical hygiene officer shall be qualified by training or experience to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the chemical hygiene plan. This should include a knowledge of the regulatory requirements for laboratory work as well as chemical safety and related industrial hygiene practices; supervisory experience; knowledge of department-specific chemical operations, inventories, hazards, purchasing and disposal practices, and safety equipment; and good written and verbal communication skills.
The labels on incoming chemical reagent containers must be maintained and a label containing the same chemical hazard information must be applied if the material is transferred into another container. Laboratory preparations must be labeled with the chemical identity of the contents, the date, and the identity of the owner. Chemical formulas are not acceptable as part of the identity description except for those that would be recognized and understood by faculty and staff outside the department. If the laboratory preparation is transferred to another location the label must also include a primary hazard warning statement. A material safety data sheet or its equivalent may be required if the material is to be shipped off campus.
It is the responsibility of the person who receives an incoming chemical shipment to retain any material safety data sheets that are included and to forward a copy to the Chemical Stores facility for placement in the archives. Each department may decide how and where material safety data sheets will be made available to students and employees as long as they are available whenever students or employees are on site. The Chemical Stores archive does not meet the requirement for availability, and therefore, may not be referenced on the required OSHA workplace notification poster, available from OSHS.
Fume hoods are a critical component of the total safety and health protection system provided to students and employees working with hazardous materials and serve to protect the rest of the building occupants as well. However, a fume hood is only effective if it is designed, installed, maintained, and used properly. Fume hood users share responsibility for ensuring that the hoods are properly maintained by notifying the laboratory supervisor or department chair whenever a fume hood is not functioning properly. The fume hood user is also responsible for properly utilizing the hood. The following guidelines should be considered:
Laboratory chemicals may not be delivered directly to an individual's office. All deliveries must be made to an area staffed during University operating hours by personnel who have been trained in accordance with the MU Hazard Communication Plan and the Department of Transportation requirements. The delivery area and process must also provide for adequate security to prevent unauthorized access to the chemicals.
The MU Purchasing Department procurement card policy forbids their use for laboratory chemical purchases.
When laboratory chemicals are purchased on blanket purchase orders, it is the responsibility of the person placing the order to forward a copy of the material safety data sheet to Occupational Safety and Health Services for archiving.
Work involving equipment or materials regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, is overseen by the MU Radiation Safety Committee and the Radiation Safety Officer, RSO, in the Occupational Safety and Health Services Department. Requirements and procedures for the purchase, use, storage, and disposal of these materials is described in the MU Radiation Safety Manual. Only employees specifically named in the MU radioactive materials license may purchase these materials and each purchase must be approved by the RSO in advance. Faculty and staff wishing to engage in research involving radioactive materials should contact the RSO for information and assistance in obtaining any necessary approvals.
The installation and use of equipment which generates ionizing radiation is regulated by the Radiation Section of the West Virginia Bureau of Health Systems. Radioactive materials used as radiation sources in such equipment are also regulated by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality if they are not regulated by the NRC. The MU Radiation Safety Committee and RSO also oversee the use of these devices. Faculty and staff intending to purchase equipment that produces ionizing radiation, for example, x-ray diffraction machines, scanning electron microscopes, gas chromatographs, etc., must first contact the RSO for information about registration, operation, and training.
Each department utilizing laser equipment is responsible for ensuring that the equipment is classified and labeled according to the requirements of the Federal Laser Product Performance Standard: Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations; Part 1000; [parts: 1040.10 and 1040.11]. Depending on the power output classification of the laser(s) in use, the department may need to designate a laser safety officer, LSO, to oversee the installation, use, and maintenance of equipment as well as the training of personnel. The University written Laser Safety Guide contains important information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on laser safety.
All activities involving the use of recombinant DNA/RNA must receive prior approval of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Work involving infectious agents generally requiring Biosafety Level 2 or 3 practices must receive prior approval of the Biological Safety Committee. Activities requiring Biosafety Level 4 practices are forbidden at this time.
Activities involving the use of human body fluids, cell lines, and unfixed tissues require training and implementation of a written bloodborne infectious diseases exposure control plan.
Activities involving the use of nonhuman primate body fluids, cell lines, and unfixed tissues require training and documentation.
Activities that generate Medical Waste (sharps and potential or known human pathogens including zoonotic) require training and site registration with the West Virginia Department of Health. Decontaminated biohazardous waste may not be placed in the regular trash without removal of all biohazard labels and markings. Overpacking or covering a biohazard label are not acceptable.
Activities involving the release of plants or organisms into the environment require completion of a USDA permit application.
Shipments of hazardous materials such as explosives, compressed gases, flammable solids and liquids, oxidizers, toxic and infectious materials, radioactive materials, corrosive substances, and environmental pollutants are regulated by the Department of Transportation, DOT, regardless of quantity. Employees who offer such materials for shipment as well as those responsible for receiving shipments must be trained in accordance with DOT regulations. Contact Occupational Safety and Health Services for information and assistance with training and shipments of materials that could potentially be regulated.