BOX 2.3
Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities in a Typical Governmental Laboratory

Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)

   Is given authority by the Director of Safety Services Division to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).

   Interfaces with safety, radiological protection, quality, health, and other organizations, as requested, on chemical hygiene matters.

   Knows current policies, procedures, and legal requirements concerning use and handling of chemicals in laboratories (such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration Laboratory Standard 29 CFR § 1910.1450, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories)

   Ensures that the CHP is reviewed annually.

Divisional Chemical Hygiene Officer(s) (DCHO)

   Is appointed by division directors (line management) to assist in the development and implementation of the CHP and supplemental CHP within their respective division.

   Works with division management in implementing appropriate chemical hygiene practices. The role of the DCHO may be performed by division/facility safety officer/representatives.

   Develops appropriate addendums to the CHP as necessary, to address division-specific hazards or to meet division-specific requirements.

   Should be knowledgeable in chemical handling, use, and disposal techniques and requirements.

Laboratory Space Manager

   Maintains a laboratory-space posting for each laboratory.

   Implements laboratory access controls and monitors compliance.

   Communicates hazard and safety information, on a continuing basis, to researchers and staff using the laboratory space.

   Communicates issues concerning the laboratory space to the laboratory space group leader

   Periodically conducts walk-throughs of the laboratory space according to the division or directorate annual performance plan.

   Acts as a mentor for laboratory occupants, encouraging safe chemical hygiene practices.

   Assists in preparation of research safety summaries (RSSs) relevant to his or her assigned laboratory.

Line Management

   Ensures that the staff knows and follows the rules from the CHP and that it is fully implemented.

   Ensures that laboratory personnel and guests under their supervision receive appropriate site-Specific information and training on the hazards of the chemicals in the workplace at the time of their initial assignment.

   Ensures updates are made to RSSs and training when new chemical hazards are introduced into the workplace.

   Ensures that hazards associated with reaction intermediates and products that will be synthesized are identified and analyzed.

   Ensures that appropriate controls are established and documented in the RSS. Subject matter experts may provide assistance.

   Ensures that the staff has adequate facilities, personal protective equipment, equipment, and training to handle and use the chemicals that are currently on inventory in the laboratories.

   Ensures that the required personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and in working order and that appropriate training on the use and limitations of PPE has been provided and documented.

it can reduce the number of chemical hazards (health, physical, reactive, etc.) in the laboratory and help control the risks from hazards that cannot be eliminated. Practices that encourage the appropriate labeling and storage of chemicals can reduce the risks of mixing of incompatible chemicals and assist with regulatory compliance. From a security standpoint, order in the laboratory makes it easier to identify items out of place or missing. And finally, good housekeeping can help reduce scientific error by, for example, reducing the chances of samples becoming confused or contaminated and keeping equipment clean and in good working order. More information about housekeeping practices can be found in Chapter 6, section 6.C.3.


One of the most important components of a laboratory safety program is chemical management. Prudent chemical management includes the following processes.

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