Laboratories handling hazardous chemicals have to follow safety standards to avoid exposure to those chemicals above the permissible level. Both government and non-government bodies issue the safety rules. The standards issued by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should be informed to the personnel working in the laboratories.
Safety measures for containers and lab:
- The policies and procedures to follow in the hazardous chemical laboratory provided by the Chemical hygiene Plan have to be present as a written copy.
- The label on the chemical container pasted by the manufacturer should never be removed or defaced at any cost.
- If the container is not labeled, then the lab should mention the chemical identification, hazardous components, and warning. It should also contain the details of the manufacturer, like name, address, and contact number.
- The squeeze bottles and safety cans should also be labeled with a warning, and first aid information used periodically.
- Beakers and flasks should also be labeled with the composition of chemical contents. Sometimes concentrations can also be provided.
- Hazard Identification Program (HIP) sign has to be posted in the entryway of the laboratory.
- The OCRS should be provided with the number of hazardous chemicals in the inventory and their emergency contact number.
- The containers containing hazardous wastes should be appropriately labeled with their contents.
To laboratory workers:
- They should be given the standard provided by the OSHA and Chemical Hygiene Plan.
- They should be given Safety Data Sheets (SDS) containing exposure limits and signs, symptoms, and safety measures with exposure of chemicals.
- Safety storage, safe handling, and proper disposal should be given along with the location and availability of chemicals in the lab.
- Principal Investigator (PI) or the Lab Director should ensure the amount of exposure limit to the workers does not exceed the permissible level.
- The laboratory workers can also be given respiratory protection after securing with OCRS.
- Results after monitoring the exposure limit should be provided to the affected worker conducted by OCRS.
- Medical examinations have to be conducted under the Lab Standard,
- If the worker shows any signs or symptoms regard to the chemicals used in the lab.
- If the Chemical exposure monitoring indicates an excess level of exposure than the permissible level.
- Unaccepted exposure due to leak, spill, or any other event in the lab.
- Principal Investigators should train the laboratory workers regarding physical and health hazards, appearance and odor of the chemicals, way to use monitoring device and alarm, use personal protective equipment, and follow the emergency procedure provided by OCRS.
- Principal Investigators should be aware of the hazardous chemicals in the inventory, safety measures, and training the laboratory worker for every occasion.
- OCRS conducts inspections periodically to avoid unexpected events and ensure that the lab is maintained under the standards of OSHA and Chemical Hygiene Plan.
These are the primary and basic rules given by the OSHA. Apart from these, the workers should wear covered shoes, long pants, full sleeve dress, protective gear, lab coat, safety goggles, gloves, hearing protection, and other few safety items. But the harsh truth is there are only a few labs like Lizard Labs which follow all the rules. Each worker and Principal Investigator has to ensure to follow the rules given by the federal, local, and local government.