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Chemical Health & Safety

Surviving an OSHA/EPA/DEP Inspection

The Principal Investigator must ensure that all personnel working in his/her laboratory adhere to the following:

  • Know what to do in an emergency: dial 911 and evacuate the room/building (for major spills);

  • Know how to prevent spills of, and minimize personal exposure to, hazardous chemical reagents and wastes;

  • Know the location, and proper use of, safety and personal protective equipment, including safety glasses/goggles, eyewash, drench shower and fire extinguisher;

  • Know the name and phone no. of the University's Chemical Hygiene Officer;

  • Know the location, and general content of, the University's written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), and follow the "Minimum Guidelines for Laboratory Safety" found in Appendix D and "Chemical Waste Disposal Manual" in Appendix F of the Chemical Hygiene Plan;

  • Health and safety training requirements:
    • attend an orientation meeting within each lab (for new students and staff) on lab-specific safety practices;
    • attend required annual health and safety training sessions conducted by EH&S;
    • maintain a list of names of laboratory personnel and dates of safety training;

  • Recognize the term, "MSDS", and know:
    • what an MSDS (material safety data sheet) is;
    • where they are located for the laboratory;
    • how to access an MSDS thorough:
    • the EH&S Dept.'s Home Page -

  • Chemical reagents must be:
    • inventoried annually on a written or computerized log;
    • managed properly, e.g., containers intact and dusted, and labels affixed and legible;
    • stored by hazard category or chemical family , and not alphabetically;
    • handled and used to prevent unnecessary exposures to personnel;
    • properly labeled with the chemical name and hazards when transferred to secondary containers;

  • Containers of hazardous chemical waste must:
    • be labeled, "Hazardous Waste ", with the respective hazard warning word, if it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic;
    • have the contents itemized by % composition; use COMPLETE CHEMICAL NAMES, not formulae, structures or abbreviations;
    • have tightly fitting caps which are only removed to make additions;
    • hold compatible chemicals;
    • be stored by hazard category, and segregated from incompatible chemicals;
    • be stored off the floor and in a secure location;

  • Follow a closure policy initiated whenever a student or staff permanently leaves the lab. This should include an inspection of the assigned laboratory space to ensure that all chemicals are properly identified and labeled

Note: Unmanaged (old) chemical stocks are considered "abandoned chemicals", and thus" hazardous waste" by CT DEP and the US EPA. Chemical reagents which appear old, dusty and seldom-used can result in large fines for the University. A current inventory and intact, legible labels are the best defense against fines when storing chemical reagents.

Issued 9/96 Department of Environmental Health and Safety, UConn, Storrs, CT


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