What are the Requirements of the OSHA Laboratory Standard?
Under the OSHA Laboratory Standard, employers must designate a Chemical Hygiene Officer, and have a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). Employers must actively verify that the plan remains effective. The CHP must contain a series of required components. These include:
- Provisions for employee training;
- Chemical exposure monitoring, where appropriate;
- Medical consultation after exposure occurs;
- Criteria for the selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Use of engineering controls that protect workers, by removing hazardous conditions, or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard (examples of engineering controls include local exhaust ventilation to capture and remove airborne emissions); and
- Special precautions for particularly hazardous chemicals.
Under the OSHA laboratory standard, the CHP must be tailored to reflect the specific chemical hazards present in the laboratory where the CHP is to be used. Specific hazardous laboratory chemicals include:
- Oxidizers (e.g., sodium nitrate, sodium iodate);
- Oxidizing acids (e.g., nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide);
- Flammable liquids (e.g., methanol, ethanol);
- Basic flammable liquids (e.g., triethylamine, diethylamine);
- Inorganic bases (e.g., metal hydroxides such as sodium and potassium hydroxide);
- Organic bases (e.g., amines such as ethanolamine or tributylamine);
- Acidic flammable liquids (e.g., acetic acid, formic acid);
- Organic acids (e.g., butyric acid, pentanoic acid);
- Inorganic acids (e.g., hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid);
- Toxic metal salts (e.g., silver chloride, cadmium sulfate);
- Cyanides (e.g., sodium cyanide, potassium cyanide);
- Sulfides (e.g., lead sulfides, iron sulfides);
- Pyrophorics (e.g., methyllithium, diethylzinc); and
- Water-reactives (e.g., alkali metals such as sodium, lithium, and potassium).
In terms of training, laboratory personnel must receive training regarding the OSHA laboratory standard, the Chemical Hygiene Plan, and other laboratory safety practices, including exposure detection, physical and health hazards associated with chemicals, and protective measures.