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Chemical & Laboratory Safety

Chemicals are a part of just about every work environment at Arkansas State University. While actual use of chemicals outside of a laboratory is limited to a relatively small number of employees, the fact that all employees will encounter chemicals at some point makes it necessary for there to be information available to employees about the hazards associated with working around chemicals. The Hazard Communication portion of this page is intended to be a resource for anyone that works with chemicals outside of laboratories.

Laboratories have many hazards associate with them. In addition to chemical hazards there may also be biological hazards, radiation hazards and physical hazards specific to laboratories. This page has resources dedicated to helping individuals that work in laboratories understand how to manage the risk associated with working in these areas.

Chemical & General Safety in Laboratories
Requirements for laboratory safety can be found in the Chemical Hygiene Plan. More specific guidance on lab safety in general, including chemical safety, can be found in the Laboratory Safety Manual. Labs are also required to submit chemical inventories by May 1 each year using the template in the Hazard Communication section above. chem-safety

Labs using Highly Hazardous Chemicals must have lab-specific procedures for working with these materials.  Procedures must be reviewed by all lab personnel and approved by EHS. A definition of highly hazardous chemicals, including a list of chemicals that fit into the definition, is linked above.

All labs are required to participate in inspections developed by EHS. The Lab Inspection Program is designed to increase success during the inspection process.

Biological Safety
Biological safety requirements are outlined in the university Biosafety Manual. The Biosafety Manual is reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee periodically. Work with human cells and other human-derived materials is safely conducted using the guidance provided in the Exposure Control Plan (coming soon). Biosafety

The management of biological waste is also a part of biological safety. Some biological waste, such as sharps containers, is managed by using the Hazardous Waste Disposal Request Form. Waste that is managed in the lab (by autoclaving or bleaching) may need to be recorded on a log. The Biosafety Manual gives more details and training is available to explain the different types of biological waste.

Hazard Communication

The Hazard Communication Plan is a program that is intend to inform workers of the chemical hazards in the areas where they work. It is required that workers have access to Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the chemicals used in their area. A safety data sheet may be found by doing an internet search or by contacting EHS.

An inventory of chemicals for each area on campus should be submitted annually to EHS by May 1. Use the Chemical Inventory Template to get started. Chemical Compatibility

Hazardous Materials Shipping
Hazardous materials include anything that is defined by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) as a hazardous material. This includes items such as some chemicals, infectious biological agents, radioactive materials and even dry ice. All hazardous materials should be shipped in accordance with the university’s Hazardous Materials Shipping Plan and all shippers must be trained. haz-ship