Laboratory Safety

Laboratory Safety


Introduction

In this module, you will explore the following aspects of laboratory safety, and the responsible use of hazardous materials:

  1. Overview of laboratory safety at the University of New Hampshire (UNH)
  2. Use of biological materials
  3. Use of chemical materials
  4. Use of radioactive materials
  5. Managing regulated wastes

Laboratory Safety at UNH

Laboratory safety, and the use of biological, chemical, radioactive, and other hazardous materials, is integral to certain research and scholarly activities. The integrity of research and scholarly activities involving these materials includes their responsible and safe use.

UNH is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. UNH’s programs are based on health and safety standards issued by a variety of state and federal agencies.

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

At UNH, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) is responsible for assuring safe and healthful environments for all segments of the campus population. It works toward this goal through:

OEHS is also responsible for ensuring UNH’s environmental health and safety plans and programs comply with applicable local, state, and federal regulations as well as campus policies.

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

Due to the diversity of activities at UNH and the need to ensure health and safety in a variety of areas, there are specialized safety committees which meet on a regular basis to address specific areas of concern. These committees include the following:

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

The safety committees are responsible for the following with regard to their areas of concern:

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

UNH has a variety of programs and plans addressing the use of hazardous materials at the institution. The key ones are:

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

The UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan and UNH Biological Safety and Biosecurity Manual provide a framework for recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with laboratory operations.

Individuals conducting activities involving biological and/or chemical materials should review the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan prior to initiating any activity to ensure:

Laboratory Safety at UNH (cont.)

Faculty members are encouraged to create their own Individual Laboratory Safety Plan to meet specific needs in their laboratories utilizing the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan as a model. Specific information might include:

Responsibility for meeting the standards of UNH’s health and safety programs and plans is shared by administrators, faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Biological Materials

Research, instruction, and scholarly activities conducted at UNH that involve biological materials fall under the purview of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

Activities involving biological materials must be conducted according to the requirements of the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan, and the UNH Biological Safety and Biosecurity Manual.

Biological materials that are hazardous to humans, animals, or other forms of life are known as biohazards. The IBC is responsible for reviewing and approving research protocols that involve the use of biohazards.

Biological Materials (cont.)

Activities involving the following must be registered with the Biological Safety Officer and the IBC prior to initiation of the activity:

A pathogen is defined as any organism known or suspected to cause infection in humans, animals, insects, or plants.

Biological Materials (cont.)

Research involving the following must be reviewed and approved by the IBC prior to commencing:

Research involving pathogenic microorganisims and potentially infectious agents must be registered with the IBC prior to commencing.

Activities involving infectious agents and rDNA are assigned to a specific biosafety level based on the potential hazards presented. There are four biosafety levels recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each of the four biosafety levels specifies microbiological practices, laboratory facilities, and safety equipment.

The IBC may also prescribe special conditions, requirements, and restrictions necessary for safe storage, handling, or transfer.

Biological Materials (cont.)

All individuals conducting activities involving biohazards are required to participate in appropriate training as required by OEHS.

In addition, faculty are expected to provide training that addresses laboratory-specific information and requirements.

Individuals who may come in contact with human blood or other potentially infectious material are required to participate in Bloodborne Pathogens Training, a component of the UNH Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.

All doors of biosafety level 2 laboratories must be posted with the universal biohazard symbol and biosafety level. The investigator’s name, emergency contact information, and required procedures for entering and exiting the laboratory must also be included on a sign at the entrance to the laboratory.

Biological Materials (cont.)

Importation and interstate shipment of biological materials are regulated by government and non-governmental agencies. For shipment purposes, biological materials are categorized into four classes:

Each category has specific packaging, labeling, and handling requirements.

Biohazardous waste must be disposed of according to procedures specified in the UNH Biohazardous Waste Disposal Plan.

Biological materials should be secured per the UNH Biological Safety and Biosecurity Manual.

Chemical Materials

Research, instruction, and scholarly activities conducted at UNH that involve chemical materials fall under the purview of the Chemical Safety Committee (CSC).

Activities involving chemical materials must be conducted according to the requirements of the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Laboratory work involving chemicals should always be planned with safety in mind. Perform a hazard assessment for each new procedure, and utilize the hierarchy of controls:

  1. Substitute more hazardous chemical with less hazardous alternatives or eliminate hazardous chemical use altogether.
  2. Utilize engineering controls such as a chemical fume hood to protect you from exposures.
  3. Adhere to administrative controls such as written protocols and safety policies such as no food/drink in labs.
  4. Wear personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, lab coat, and appropriate laboratory attire such as covering legs and feet.

Chemical Materials (cont.)

UNH has an extensive Web-based Chemical Environmental Management System (UNHCEMS), which provides the following services:

CEMS user training is available upon request from OEHS.

Chemical Materials (cont.)

Before ordering chemicals, individuals should check the chemical surplus list on the UNHCEMS website. Numbers and amounts of chemicals stored should be reduced to a minimum. Excess chemicals are very expensive to dispose of and can cause a hazard if stored too long.

All containers containing chemicals must be dated and labeled with the chemical constituents and hazard. It is recommended that the user’s name also appear on the label.

Review Safety Data Sheets for chemicals you are planning to use to familiarize yourself with the hazards of the chemicals. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are formerly referred to as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and the are available on the UNHCEMS website. SDSs provide both workers and emergency personnel with a summary of safety information about a chemical product. SDSs include information such as physical data (e.g., melting point, boiling point, flash point), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures.

Chemical Materials (cont.)

The UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan outlines special handing requirements for specific types of chemicals (e.g., flammable liquids, corrosive chemicals) and for Particularly Hazardous Chemicals (PHCs) (e.g., highly reactive chemicals, peroxidizable compounds).

All individuals conducting activities involving chemicals are required to participate in appropriate training as outlined in the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan. In addition, faculty are expected to provide training that addresses laboratory-specific information and requirements.

All doors of laboratories must be posted with a laboratory door caution sign that displays the appropriate hazardous material warning symbols and room emergency contacts. Contact OEHS to request a sign update whenever necessary.

Chemicals should be stored according to recommendations in the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan and the Safety Data Sheet(s).

Chemical Materials (cont.)

Secondary containment of chemicals is required when transporting bottles of chemicals out of the laboratory. Under no circumstances should anyone transport chemical containers in a passenger elevator without the use of secondary containers. Also, large dewars of liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids should never be transported in an occupied elevator; send the dewar alone with a sign that says "Warning: No Elevator Occupancy" and have someone waiting at the destination floor to receive the dewar.

Controlled temperature rooms such as walk-in cold rooms incubator rooms may not be used for hazardous chemical use or storage because they have no air exchange (they are air-tight) (see Controlled Temperature Room Safety). Any release of hazardous vapors or gases could be extremely dangerous. Do not use any compressed gas except compressed air, any cryogens such as dry ice or LN2, or any hazardous chemicals in these rooms.

Chemical Materials (cont.)

Hazardous material shipping regulations may apply to commercial products, chemical mixtures, and newly synthesized compounds. Shipment of any type of chemical by a commercial carrier such as FedEx or US Mail must be reviewed by OEHS and can include paint, compressed gas, batteries, magnets, formaldehyde, flammable liquids, and corrosive liquids. OEHS offers specific training for shipment of the chemicals listed below:

  1. Dry Ice
  2. Infectious and possibly infectious materials
  3. Formaldehyde solutions
  4. Flammable liquids including ethanol and methanol
  5. Small quantities (<1g) of research chemicals

For all other chemicals, OEHS can provide individual assistance and training. Contact OEHS to discuss chemical shipment needs.

Radioactive Materials

Research, instruction, and scholarly activities conducted at UNH that involve radioactive materials fall under the purview of the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC).

Activities involving radioactive materials must be conducted according to the requirements of the UNH Radiation Protection Program.

The fundamental principle of UNH’s Radiation Protection Program is that levels of radioactivity used and exposures to all sources of ionizing radiation are maintained as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

Radioactive Materials (cont.)

Before an individual can conduct activities involving radioactive materials, s/he must apply for a Radioactive Material User Permit. Only UNH faculty may become Permit Holders. The applicant must have had 40 hours of radiation safety training or its equivalent and must also complete the UNH Radiation Worker training course provided by OEHS.

Once the RSC approves the permit, the applicant is designated a Permit Holder and may commence approved activities.

Permit Holders must register all individuals who use or directly supervise use of radioactive material in their laboratories/work areas and were not listed in the original permit application.

Permit Holders are responsible for ensuring that all individuals entering their laboratories/work areas have received appropriate radiation safety training. The only exception to this rule is people passing through the area on a guided tour.

Radioactive Materials (cont.)

All individuals who actually handle sources of radiation must complete a three-hour Radiation Safety for Users training program prior to any handling.

OEHS provides Radiation Awareness training (one and a half hours) for non-radiation workers who may enter a restricted area and for students working under the direct supervision of a Permit Holder.

All trained individuals must attend annual refresher radiation safety training provided by OEHS.

It is the responsibility of the Permit Holder to directly oversee laboratory personnel and operations to ensure compliance with radiological control policies and procedure, and to ensure the security of all radioactive materials.

Radioactive Materials (cont.)

All transfers of licensed materials, either between departments or from one Permit Holder’s control to another, must have prior approval from OEHS and meet the conditions of UNH’s radioactive materials license. Methods of transfer must minimize the probability of spillage or breakage and provide adequate shielding.

All transfers/shipments of licensed material between institutions must have the approval of OEHS, and must be performed in accordance with pertinent governmental and non-governmental regulations. The receiving institution must be licensed for the material and willing to accept the liability associated with receipt and possession of the material.

Managing Regulated Wastes

OEHS is responsible for ensuring that all regulated wastes are managed in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations.

OEHS staff provide technical assistance and guidance to faculty, staff, and students on proper handling, storage, and disposal of wastes generated from research, teaching, maintenance, and construction activities.

Safe, efficient, and environmentally sound management of regulated wastes from generation to disposal is of primary importance to UNH.

Managing Regulated Wastes (cont.)

Regulated wastes are categorized as follows:

UNH has developed a Hazardous Waste Management Plan to stipulate how the institution will properly manage hazardous (chemical) waste.

Managing Regulated Wastes (cont.)

Disposal requests for hazardous (chemical) waste are handled by OEHS and can be made either through the UNHCEMS website or by contacting OEHS.

All individuals who generate or handle hazardous waste at UNH must participate in on-line Hazardous Waste Management Training. Contact OEHS to enroll in this training.

Managing Regulated Wastes (cont.)

Information regarding the management of biohazardous waste is in the UNH Chemical Hygiene Plan. Contact OEHS for information on training.

Disposal requests for biohazardous waste are handled by OEHS. Requestors need to provide information on the type, amount, and location of the waste, department and contact name/phone number of waste generator.

Managing Regulated Wastes (cont.)

Procedures for proper management of radioactive waste are part of the UNH Radiation Protection Program. Contact OEHS for information on training.

Disposal requests for radioactive waste are handled by OEHS. Requestors must provide OEHS with information on the type (radionuclide and state - solid or liquid), amount, activity, and location of the waste, and contact name/phone number of radioactive waste generator.

Managing Regulated Wastes (cont.)

UNH Information Technology manages disposal of scrap electronics for UNH. Scrap electronics include CPUs, monitors, televisions, keyboards, photocopiers, printers, various types of laboratory analytical devices, or other electronic devices that contain a circuit board.

Scrap electronics must first be approved for disposal by the UNH Purchasing department. After completing the Request to Scrap Form and approval by Purchasing, Purchasing notifies the person requesting disposal.

Review Scenario 1

Scenario: Tom is a new PhD student at UNH. The work at on his master’s thesis which he did at another institution involved radioactive materials, but his faculty advisor at UNH does not use radioactive materials. Tom wants to get started on his research as soon as possible during his first semester, and is trying to figure out what he should do next. Which of the following statements are correct (check all that apply)?
Incorrect.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Incorrect.
Incorrect.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
You have selected all of the correct statements.

Review Scenario 2 - Questions 1 & 2

Scenario: Grace is an undergraduate student at UNH who is interested in studying researching performance differences among female track athletes. She works with her faculty advisor to design a study where female track athletes will keep diaries of their daily activities, including nutrition, and will come to the lab each week for 10 weeks so Grace can draw blood, ask for a urine samples, and take other measurements (e.g., blood pressure). Which of the following statements are true?

1. Grace will have to complete Bloodborne Pathogens Training because she will be handling human blood.

Correct.
Incorrect.

2. Human blood is a potentially infectious agent so the blood draw activity in the study she is proposing only needs to be registered with the Biological Safety Officer and the IBC before starting.

Correct.
Incorrect.

Review Scenario 2 - Questions 3 & 4

Scenario: Grace is an undergraduate student at UNH who is interested in studying researching performance differences among female track athletes. She works with her faculty advisor to design a study where female track athletes will keep diaries of their daily activities, including nutrition, and will come to the lab each week for 10 weeks so Grace can draw blood, ask for a urine samples, and take other measurements (e.g., blood pressure). Which of the following statements are true?

3. Human blood is a potentially infectious agent but not necessarily pathogenic so contacting the IBC about this work is not required.

Incorrect.
Correct.

4. Grace’s faculty advisor should provide Grace with training specific to the laboratory and laboratory requirements before she starts the study.

Correct.
Incorrect.

Review Scenario 3

Scenario: Sally is a new master’s student at UNH. After her orientation to the lab by a fifth year doctoral student, she is given some administrative tasks to complete as she has not completed all the required OEHS training. These tasks include helping to update the inventory of chemicals in the lab and ordering some chemicals. Which of the following statements are correct (check all that apply)?
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Incorrect.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Incorrect.
You have selected all of the correct statements.

Review Scenario 4

Scenario: Jim is a technician at UNH and works in a relatively large lab. At the beginning of the Fall semester, Jim’s supervisor asks him to train the new graduate students who are entering the lab about disposal of regulated waste generated in the lab. Jim considers what he needs to address in his training. Which of the following statements are correct (check all that apply)?
Incorrect.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Incorrect.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
Correct. However, another answer exists.
You have selected all of the correct statements.

Congratulations!

Once you have finished all of the review questions click ’Certify Completion’.

Certify Completion