Hazard Recognition and Solutions
The laboratory environment can be a hazardous place to work. Laboratory workers are exposed to numerous potential hazards including chemical, biological, physical and radioactive hazards, as well as, musculoskeletal stresses. Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to injury. The following references provide links to indices of occupational hazards associated with laboratories.
- Laboratory Safety Guidance [490 KB PDF*, 52 pages]. OSHA Booklet.
- Hazard Communication. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Hospital eTool: Laboratory.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Environmental Management Programs & Initiatives. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Employers are required to develop and carry out a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) that addresses all aspects of the Laboratory standard. A CHP is a "written program stating the policies, procedures, and responsibilities that serve to protect employees from the health hazards associated with the hazardous chemicals used in that particular workplace.” The CHP contains work practices, procedures, and policies that provide a safe and healthy environment. There are numerous chemical hygiene plans available on the Internet. Most of these are from colleges, universities, and governmental facilities (the information included under the tab “Other Resources” contains several examples of CHPs) that are available through the Internet).
- Laboratory Safety – OSHA Laboratory Standard [366 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Chemical Fume Hoods [150 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Chemical Hygiene Plan [366 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Labeling and Transfer of Chemicals [144 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards. Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards National Academy of Sciences, (2011). Provides an authoritative reference on the handling and disposal of chemicals at the laboratory level. It is an update of the document which provided a basis for Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.1450. Portions of the document are available online.
- School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-107, (2006, October).
- Chemical Hygiene Plan [189 KB PDF, 34 pages]. The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign (UIUC), (2007, July).
- Chemical Hygiene Plan. The University of Vermont (UVM), (2001, November).
- Hazardous and Toxic Substances OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
Sampling Methods - Chemicals
- Chemical Sampling Information. OSHA, (1999, January 14). Presents, in concise form, data on a large number of chemical substances that may be encountered in industrial hygiene investigations. Basic reference for industrial hygienists engaged in OSHA field activity.
- NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods, 4th Edition. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-113, (1994, August). NMAM is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed. These methods have been developed or adapted by NIOSH or its partners and have been evaluated according to established experimental protocols and performance criteria. NMAM also includes chapters on quality assurance, sampling, portable instrumentation, etc.
- Dermal Exposure. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Most chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin and can cause other health effects and/or contribute to the dose absorbed by inhalation of the chemical from the air. Many studies indicate that absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being noticed by the worker. In many cases, skin is a more significant route of exposure than the lung. This is particularly true for non-volatile chemicals which are relatively toxic and which remain on work surfaces for long periods of time.
- California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5199 - Aerosol Transmissible Diseases. Cal-OSHA’s ATD standard protects laboratory workers, as well as, healthcare workers, emergency responders, and many others from exposure to droplet and airborne transmissible diseases when engaged in the performance of their duties.
- Laboratory Safety – Biosafety Cabinets (BSCs) [367 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Working with Small Animals [151 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), 5th Edition. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS Publication No. (CDC) 21-1112 (Revised 2009, December).
- Biological Safety: Principles and Practices, 4th Edition. Fleming DO Hunt DL (eds) 4th ed. ASM Press; 2006: 622 pages. Covers the epidemiology of laboratory-associated infections.
- Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan. Oklahoma State University (OSU), Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), (2007, December). The OSHA standard requires a written exposure control plan. This site offers an example plan that can be tailored to your facility.
- Biological Agents. OSHA Safety and Health Topics page.
- Laboratory Safety – Noise [365 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Laboratories [369 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Autoclaves /Sterilizers [449 KB PDF*, 1 page]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Centrifuges [135 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Cryogens and Dry Ice [147 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Electrical Hazards [130 KB PDF*, 1 page]. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Latex Allergy [1 MB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA QuickFacts.
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
*These files are provided for downloading.