Lab Chemical Hygiene Program

The purpose of the Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Program is to inform employees of potential chemical hazards associated with working in a laboratory. The program is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) "Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories" standard (29 CFR 1910.1450), and is commonly referred to as the "Laboratory Standard."

Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP)

The Chemical Hygiene Plan is a written program stating the policies, procedures and responsibilities that protect workers from the health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals used in the workplace.

Each laboratory must complete and maintain a Chemical Hygiene Plan. A template is available from EH&S, but must be amended to be made laboratory-specific. The plan must establish procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment, and work practices that are capable of protecting employees from hazardous chemicals while performing work in the lab.  All employees must know the location of the CHP in their laboratory/work area. Additionally, the plan must be immediately accessible (i.e., not in a locked office) to all staff throughout each work shift.

The Chemical Hygiene Plan must be reviewed/updated annually by the PI or Lab supervisor/manager. Annotate the name of the reviewer and review date on the CHP Update Form (available on the EH&S Forms Page), then insert the form in the beginning of the CHP. 

Lab-Specific Training

Each PI/lab supervisor is responsible for ensuring all lab employees are appropriately trained on the hazards within their specific work environment. Training must occur at the time of initial assignment and whenever a new chemical hazard is introduced into the lab.

Worker Training Must Include, at a minimum:

1. The physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area

2. Measures workers can take to protect themselves from these chemical hazards

3. Methods and Observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical

4. Standard Operating Procedures developed specifically for the safe handling of chemicals in the work area

5. Spill response and other emergencies

The Lab Specific Documentation Checklist is the required training record which outlines the information to be discussed. It is available on the EH&S Forms page. Chemical hygiene training records must be readily available for inspection by EH&S and the location, of which, must be known by all employees. 

Chemical Inventory

An inventory of hazardous chemicals in GUMC laboratories is maintained in the EHS Assistant Database. This chemical inventory is updated by the owner of these chemicals (i.e., PI/ lab or facility manager), with oversight provided by the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) office. EHSA training modules and "Portal" are accessible via the EHS homepage. This portal allows researchers/ lab staff to manage personnel, training, multiple inventories, and inspection results.

EHSA portal access is requested by contacting EH&S via email (ehands@georgetown.edu). Please include the names of all individuals requiring access and the respective GU NetID. 

NOTE: The training modules and EHSA web interface are ONLY accessible from computers physically located at Georgetown University. 

Safety Data Sheets

In addition to Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) being a major requirement of the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), the retention of Safety Data Sheets is also a requirement of the Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450). For detailed information on Safety Data Sheets, please view our Hazard Communication/ Safety Data Sheets webpage.

Fume Hoods 

Chemical fume hoods, when used properly, are one of the most reliable engineering controls in the laboratory. They protect workers by containing vapors, dust, gases and fumes generated within the hood, and removing them from the operators breathing zone via the laboratory exhaust system.

Proper Use of Fume Hoods

  • Prior to fume hood use, become familiar with the locations of the nearest exit, emergency shower, eye-wash station and fire extinguisher. Ensure emergency equipment remains unobstructed at all times.
  • Wear at least the minimum personal protective equipment (i.e., lab coat, gloves, and closed-toe shoes). Fume hoods are by no means a replacement for protective wear and good laboratory practices.
  • Keep experimental apparatus, and sources of contaminants within the hood at a distance of at least six inches behind the sash opening to avoid disruption of airflow.
  • Avoid cross drafts at the face of the hood, as these will disturb the direction of air flow.
  • Keep the hood uncluttered; the more cluttered the hood, the more air flow disturbances. Try not to store chemicals in the hood; they should be stored in designated cabinets or on shelves. Storage of materials/ equipment in the hood should be kept to a minimum. No peroxide-forming compounds (e.g., ether) may be stored in the hood.
  • The vertical sliding sash is used to serve as a physical barrier in the event of chemical splashes within the hood. For this reason, the sash should be kept below eye level where a face velocity of 80-120 fpm is achieved. in addition, the sash must be positioned below breathing zone height to protect the user in the event that hazardous vapors escape the fume hood.
  • The use of perchloric acid is not permitted without prior approval. Contact EH&S for assistance.
  • Keep your head away from the face of the hood. Keep the sash closed when the hood is not attended.
  • The work surface of the hood should be thoroughly cleaned after completion of all experiments and immediately following a spill.
  • Remain alert to changes in airflow and be familiar with appropriate emergency procedures in the event of fume hood failure. If you suspect hood failure, stop work immediately and contact the lab/facility supervisor and/or Facilities Management (ext. 7-3432) for repair.

Chemical Waste

For Chemical Waste pickup (Medical Center & University) connect with GU's Office of Safety & Environmental Management (SEM)