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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
ated with disposal of waste can be reduced greatly if materials never enter the waste stream.
The committee recommends that chemical suppliers provide and promote to their customers the option of purchasing small quantities of chemicals.
The committee recommends that chemical suppliers develop a mechanism whereby laboratories can return unopened containers of chemicals.
Recommendations to Chemical Laboratories
Academic departments and industrial laboratories that use chemicals are advised to develop internal safety groups that are complementary to their institution's environmental health and safety organization and include representation from all segments of the laboratory work force. Such internal safety groups should meet regularly to discuss departmental safety and waste disposal issues and to analyze any incidents that may have occurred. To achieve maximum effectiveness in working with an institution's environmental health and safety organization to minimize risks, a departmental safety group must have the full support of the institution's administration.
The committee recommends that chemical laboratories establish their own safety groups or committees at the department level, composed of a cross section of laboratory workers, including students and support staff as well as faculty in academic laboratories.
The ability of any laboratory to operate in a manner that minimizes risks to personnel and the environment is dependent on laboratory workers who understand and carry out prudent practices for handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals. Training of laboratory personnel in safety and waste management is essential and must be followed up with an appropriate inspection system to ensure that safe practices are followed. Safety training must include discussion of chemical hazards, equipment hazards, laboratory safety and environmental systems, and the potential impact of laboratory work on these systems.
The committee recommends that any laboratory using hazardous chemicals should provide appropriate training in safety and waste management for all laboratory workers, including students in laboratory classes.
The committee recommends that laboratories using hazardous chemicals should incorporate institutionally supported laboratory and equipment inspection programs into their overall health and safety programs.