More than 500,000 workers are employed in laboratories in the U.S. 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. Laboratory safety is governed by numerous local, state and federal regulations. Over the years, OSHA has promulgated rules and published guidance to make laboratories increasingly safe for personnel. There are several primary OSHA standards that apply to laboratories as well as other OSHA standards that apply to various aspects of laboratory activities. The Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) was created specifically for non-production laboratories.
Additional OSHA standards provide rules that protect workers in laboratories from chemical hazards as well as biological, physical and safety hazards. For those hazards that are not covered by a specific OSHA standard, OSHA often provides guidance on protecting workers from these hazards. OSHA has developed this webpage to provide workers and employers useful, up-to-date information on laboratory safety. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities and other services OSHA offers, read OSHA's Workers page.
In addition to information on OSHA standards and guidance that deal with laboratory hazards, other links are provided with information from other governmental and non-governmental agencies that deal with various aspects of laboratory safety.
Although the OSHA standards referenced on this web page deal specifically with laboratories within the jurisdiction of Federal OSHA, there are twenty-eight OSHA-approved state plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standard and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements. Contact your local or state OSHA office for further information. Additional information is on available on the OSHA-approved state plans page.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
In Focus: Ebola
- Revised Appendix A of 1910.1450
- Laboratory Safety Guidance*. OSHA Booklet.
- Laboratory Safety – OSHA Laboratory Standard*. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Chemical Hygiene Plan*. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Labeling and Transfer of Chemicals*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Chemical Fume Hoods*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Chemical Fume Hoods*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Working with Small Animals*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Biosafety Cabinets (BSCs)*. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Noise*. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Laboratories*. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Laboratory Safety – Autoclaves /Sterilizers*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Centrifuges*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Cryogens and Dry Ice*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Electrical Hazards*. OSHA QuickFacts.
- Laboratory Safety – Latex Allergy*. OSHA QuickFacts.
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.
**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.Back to Top