CHAPTER 8

CHEMICAL SAFETY

1.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR CHEMICAL SAFETY

 

1.1  UTMB Administration

1.2  Chemical Safety Committee

    1.2.1  Scope

    1.2.2  Mission

    1.2.3  Responsibilities of Chemical Safety Committee

1.3  Environmental Health & Safety

1.4  Department Head/Principal Investigator

1.5  Staff/Students/Other Chemical Handlers

1.6  Environmental Toxicology Laboratory


1.0       Roles & Responsibilities for Chemical Safety

A wide variety of chemicals are used at UTMB in research, clinical and academic areas.  If chemicals are used, stored and disposed of in a safe manner, the potential hazards involved can be greatly reduced.  General information and precautions will be presented in this chapter.  Detailed information on safe handling of specific chemicals can be obtained from Environmental Health & Safety – Biological and Chemical Safety (extension 21781).

 

1.1       UTMB Administration

·  Provides facilities and equipment for the safe use and storage of hazardous chemicals

· Establishes mechanisms for dissemination and implementation of policies for the safe use and storage of hazardous chemicals

 

1.2       Chemical Safety Committee

1.2.1       Scope

The scope of the Chemical Safety Committee encompasses all UTMB chemical safety issues except those addressed by pharmaceutical safety and efficacy when administered to patients and research subjects.

1.2.2       Mission

The mission of the Chemical Safety Committee is to support the University’s fundamental objectives of teaching, research and healthcare delivery by promoting the safe use, management and control of chemicals as well as assuring that all activities involving these agents are in compliance with the applicable guidelines, standards, codes and regulations.

1.2.3       Responsibilities of Chemical Safety Committee

· Approve applications for work being conducted in the Environmental Toxicology Laboratory (ETL)

· Establish and maintain the UTMB list of high risk hazardous chemicals

· Review safety plans for the use and storage of high risk hazardous chemicals to:

a)      ensure that unreasonable risks to personnel, property or the environment do not exist

b)   verify the adequacy of technical procedures to minimize occupational exposures

c)   review the qualifications of the applicants undertaking the proposed research and make recommendations, if appropriate

d)   approve, recommend change to, or deny the intended use of the chemical as proposed in the High Risk Hazardous Chemical Safety Plan

· Develop policies, procedures and guidelines as necessary for the use of all other hazardous chemicals and related activities, including:

· Develop institutional chemical safety policies and procedures

· Maintain/review policies and procedures

· Identify problem areas

· Monitor effectiveness of policies and compliance with UTMB Chemical Safety Policies

· Assure safety of students, employees, visitors, volunteers, patients, environment and community

· Recommend facility modifications

· Monitor chemical disposal procedures

· Report and advise university administration on chemical safety issues

· Communicate to address:

-          Chemicals requiring chemical safety review,

-          Individual responsibilities with respect to chemical safety, and;

-          Chemical issues prompted by public awareness/media coverage.

 

1.3       Environmental Health & Safety

· Provide training in general laboratory safety for all employees

· Collect and disseminate information about health and safety hazards

· Assist in the development of techniques and training programs for specialized purposes

· Provide consultation and technical information for chemical agents

· Review proposals and protocols for the use of high risk hazardous chemicals (if it is required, EHS-B&C will submit these proposals to the Chemical Safety Committee with recommendations)

· Present chemical safety seminars upon request

· Consult with Project Management personnel in evaluating design parameters to effectively reduce chemical exposure

· Monitor the work environment for potentially hazardous exposure to chemicals and recommend medical surveillance, procedural changes, or other methods to minimize exposure

· Provide annual ventilation surveys of chemical fume hoods

· Coordinate the repair of exhaust motors to protect laboratory and FOAM personnel from exposure to hazardous agents

· Report accidents to the proper authorities and work with those groups in the investigation of such accidents

· Provide assistance in the collection and disposal of hazardous materials

· Provide technical expertise and assistance for the cleanup of major chemical spills

· Document compliance with responsibilities listed above

 

1.4       Department Head/Principal Investigator

· Prepare written chemical safety guidelines for each laboratory/work area covering routine work, spill and accident procedures, and post these prominently in the work area

· File a chemical inventory with EHS B&C listing all chemicals present in the laboratory/work area

· Submit the initial Safety Plan required for High Risk Hazardous Chemicals, as well as the annual review/update and a renewal every 3 years if work with the agent continues

· Provide training and supervision to ensure personnel have appropriate knowledge and experience to handle chemicals safely including how to access MSDSs for the chemicals they work with

· Review work practices to ensure that safe handling guidelines are implemented properly

· Encourage employees to report any changes or suspected changes in their health status

· Appoint a Hazard Communication Act (HCA) trainer  for their lab/work area and ensure all personnel are trained in the hazards of the chemicals they work with

· Advise EHS B&C of any significant changes in the use of high risk hazardous chemical agents

 

1.5       Staff/Students/Other Chemical Handlers

· Aid in the development of safe work procedures/working environments

· Observe the policies and guidelines for chemical safety as they apply to their specific work assignment and laboratory area

· Participate in applicable Occupational Health programs/medical surveillance

· Report to their supervisors any work-related change or suspected work-related change in health status

· Report all spills and accidents to their supervisor

 

1.6       Environmental Toxicology Laboratory

The Environmental Toxicology Lab (ETL) is a core facility designed for experimental research projects focusing on airborne exposures to toxic agents.  The ETL is located on the 2nd floor of Ewing Hall in the Preventive Medicine and Community Health Department.  The lab facilities allow for both in vitro and in vivo experiments.  Application for use of the facilities is made through the Chemical Safety Committee.  Contact EHS B&C for assistance in gaining access to this facility.

Environmental Toxicology Lab management will:

· Review applications for use of the facility together with the Chemical Safety Committee (the ETL Manager is a member of the Chemical Safety Committee)

· Make recommendations to the Chemical Safety Committee regarding applications for use of the ETL

· Establish and maintain safe working procedures for the ETL

· Maintain all equipment and facilities in the ETL

· Safely conduct and manage experiments for personnel requesting use of the ETL