BOX 2.2
Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities in a Typical Industry Research Facility

Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)

   Qualified by training or experience to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Laboratory Standard.

   Oversees implementation and communication of the Laboratory Standard.

   Conducts appropriate audits.

   Facilitates continuous improvement of safety policies and practice.

   Acts as liaison between Environmental Health and Safety, Environmental Affairs, and laboratory management.

   Chairs and schedules meetings of chemical hygiene coordination committee (CHCC).

   Ensures that Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) and training courses are reviewed annually;

   Revises the CHP per CHCC instructions.

   Facilitates revisions of the CHP and requisite training courses.

   Approves/reviews all prior-approval chemical uses.

   Maintains minutes and other documents for CHP implementation and makes available for CHCC.

Chemical Hygiene Coordination Committee

The committee includes the CHO and representatives from business area (appointed by line management). These representatives are referred to as site chemical hygiene contacts.

   Provides opportunity for communication between plant sites.

   Facilitates continuous improvement of safety policies and practices.

   Meets at least annually to review CHP and training.

Line Management

   Completes CHP training.

   Implements the CHP including but not limited to practices and procedures for the following:

ο particularly hazardous materials,

ο prior-approval process,

ο laboratory inspections.

   Supervises CHP training by all laboratory personnel.

   Supports and enforces laboratory standards program.

   Provides ongoing ownership.

   Ensures that local safety procedures are written, training is provided, and procedures are followed.

   Designates a local chemical hygiene contact (CHC) (by site, building, division, or department).

Site/Area Chemical Hygiene Contact

   Completes CHP training.

   Serves as contact person for CHO and laboratory personnel for site/area CHP implementation.

   Represents site/area on CHCC.

3.   If the timing of the task cannot be changed and you still feel it must be accomplished during a period when the laboratory is empty, is there any other person trained in laboratory procedures who can accompany you while you work?

4.   If not, is there anyone else within the building who could act as a “buddy” to check on you periodically during the time that you feel you must work alone?

5.   If no one can accompany you and you cannot find a “buddy,” do not proceed with the work. The situation is unsafe. Speak to your supervisor or the organizational safety office to make arrangements to complete the work in a safe manner.

2.C.3 How to Avoid Routine Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals

Many chemicals and solutions routinely used in laboratories present a significant health risk when handled improperly. The Swiss physician and alchemist Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493–1541), who took the name Paracelsus later in life in homage to Celsus, a Roman physician, is known as “the father of toxicology.” Paracelsus is famous for his quote, “What is it that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison. It is the dose alone that makes a thing not a poison” (Dillon, 1994). Today, in that same spirit, trained laboratory personnel are encouraged to reduce personal risk by minimizing exposure to hazardous chemicals and by eliminating unsafe work practices in the laboratory.

The OSHA Laboratory Standard defines a hazardous chemical as one “for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed persons.” Note that this definition is not limited to toxic chemicals and includes corrosives, explosives, and other hazard classes. Routes of exposure to hazardous materials include contact with skin and eyes, inhala-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement