Implementing the University Chemical Hygiene Plan

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) has developed a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) for the university. The Chemical Hygiene Plan describes the university’s policies and procedures for handling chemicals in laboratories. The Chemical Hygiene Plan is the central component of the University of Nevada, Reno laboratory safety program and is required by state and federal regulations. The following steps describe the responsibilities of individual laboratories in implementing the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

  1. Training – Ensure all laboratory workers (faculty, staff, and student employees working in research labs or stockrooms) have received Chemical Hygiene Training.
    • General training: EH&S conducts general laboratory safety training at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters, and by request for groups. This training covers OSHA laboratory safety requirements, and general chemical laboratory safety principles.
    • Laboratory specific training: Supplement general training with any specific training necessary to work safely in your particular laboratory. Conduct on-going training when new hazards are introduced into the laboratory. Be sure to document all training (topics, dates received, person trained, instructor, and signatures)
      note: Personnel who have documented evidence that they have received chemical hygiene training at another institution do not need to repeat the training; however, laboratory specific training may be still be required.
  2. Chemical Hygiene Plan – Ensure that the University Chemical Hygiene Plan is available to laboratory workers (preferably in the laboratory), and that personnel are familiar with the CHP.
  3. Chemical Inventory – Maintain an inventory of chemicals present in your laboratory. EH&S initiated this effort by performing a campus-wide inventory in 1998. EH&S is unable to perform this task on an on-going basis and laboratories are asked to maintain their own chemical inventories.
  4. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – Develop SOPs that cover hazards present in your laboratory (this is where the chemical inventory comes in handy). Target SOPs for hazards considered to be the highest risk, including use of “particularly hazardous substances” (carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and chemicals that have high acute toxicity), frequently performed procedures, and chemicals that are used frequently or in relatively large amounts. These laboratory specific SOPs do not need to duplicate the more general SOPs contained in the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  5. Implementation – Operate your laboratory in accordance with the Chemical Hygiene Plan and your own laboratory specific SOPs. The Chemical Hygiene Plan is actually just a component of good laboratory management, and most laboratorians discover that laboratory work actually becomes more efficient (as well as safer) as a result of implementing the CHP. Specific implementation items include:
    • Chemical labeling and storage
    • Hazardous waste storage and disposal
    • Proper use of laboratory hoods
    • Use of safety eyewear, gloves, and other protective equipment
    • Laboratory organization