Chemical Hygiene Program

I. Purpose/Scope

The purpose of the Chemical Hygiene Plan is to provide a comprehensive program for the protection of laboratory personnel and students working in research laboratories. It is intended to protect workers from adverse health and safety hazards associated with hazardous chemicals and to ensure that exposures do not reach or exceed acceptable exposure limits. It is the intent of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) to develop Procedures and Practices to comply with Title 8, California Code of Regulations,§5191,  “Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories”.

II. Definitions

  • Action Level:  A concentration designated in Title 8, California Code of Regulations for a specific substance, calculated as an eight (8)-hour time weighted average, which initiates certain required activities such as exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.
  • Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)The CHO is an employee who is designated by the employer, and who is qualified by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Chemical Waste:  Hazardous materials which may have been used in a process or experiment and are contaminated or no longer necessary, or chemical byproducts of a process or experiment that have no further research, equipment or facilities values, which may be disposed of.
  • Hazardous MaterialAny material which poses a health and safety threat to employees and/or students or a threat to the environment as a result of improper handling or disposal methods or accidental discharge is considered hazardous.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS):  Written or printed material concerning a hazardous substance which is prepared in accordance with Title 8, CCR, section 5194(g). Employers shall have on hand, or online access to, a safety data sheet for each hazardous substance used.
  • Pyrophoric:  A substance that will ignite spontaneously in air at a temperature of 130 °F (54.4 °C) or below.
  • Permissible Exposure Level (PEL):  A Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is the maximum amount or concentration of a chemical that a worker may be exposed to under OSHA regulations.
  • Threshold Limit Value (TLV):  A TLV reflects the level of exposure that the typical worker can experience without an unreasonable risk of disease or injury.


III. Responsibilities

  • All Employees and Students Working in Research Laboratories:  Each person working with or around chemicals, having been trained, is responsible for remaining aware of the hazards associated with the materials and handling the chemicals in a safe manner.  Each person is responsible for knowing how to handle a hazardous chemical safely according to its types of hazards.  If one is unsure of a hazard or proper procedure, they should ask for assistance before using that particular chemical.
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)
    • EH&S will identify a University Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) who has responsibility for the oversight of the development, implementation, and maintenance of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).  If the University CHO position is vacant the Director of EH&S shall serve as the University CHO.
    • Advise and assist in the implementation of chemical hygiene policies and practices.  
    • Provide technical assistance to academic departments in complying with the CHP.
    • May act as the chemical hygiene coordinator for the college or department Chemical Hygiene Officer (s).
    • Provide consultation, monitoring, and training support services on matters related to laboratory safety.
    • Arrange for employee exposure monitoring (as required).
    • Assist laboratories in identifying hazardous operations, establishing safe work practices, and selecting protective equipment and other exposure controls.
    • Monitor legal requirements concerning regulated substances.
    • Provide regular, formal audits for compliance with the CHP.
    • Review chemical inventories to determine which chemicals are carcinogens.
    • Monitor proper functioning of protective equipment such as fume hoods.
    • With assistance from the Laboratory Supervisor, define the location of “Designated Areas” where Particularly Hazardous Substances and carcinogens will be used, and ensure that the inventory of these substances is properly maintained.
    • Seek methods to improve the CHP.
    • Review the CHP annually. 
  • Dean of College or Chair of Department:
    • Responsible for the CHP within college or department.
    • Designate a college or departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer.
    • Ensure that requirements related to chemical hygiene, as prescribed in the University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan, are adequately supported at the college or departmental level.
  • College/Department Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO):
    • Responsible for ensuring chemical inventories are maintained in their respective department/college area and provided to EH&S.
    • Coordinate documented Chemical Hygiene Plan/General Laboratory Safety Training for laboratory employees and students working in research laboratories within the college/department.
    • Serve as liaison with the Environmental Health & Safety Office to implement the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
    • Assist in conducting laboratory inspections to ensure compliance with existing laboratory Standard Operating Procedures/CHP.
    • Monitor the procurement, use, and disposal of chemicals in all laboratories managed.
    • Gather and/or maintain chemical manufacturers’ Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) hard copies and/or online.
    • Maintain appropriate records.
  • Laboratory Supervisor  (Professors/Laboratory Instructors/Principal Investigators):
    • Responsible for providing a chemical inventory to the CHO.
    • Ensure compliance with the CHP within their respective laboratories.
    • Ensure that work is conducted in accordance with the CHP.
    • Conduct student orientation/General Laboratory Training/Laboratory Specific Training, and document this training.
    • With assistance from the CHO and/or EH&S, determine the required protective apparel and equipment.
    • Ensure that protective equipment is available and working.
    • Ensure that SDS's are accessible (hard copies or online).
    • Ensure that action is taken to correct work practices and conditions that may result in the release of toxic chemicals.
    • Ensure that laboratory employees receive instruction and documented training in safe work practices, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and emergency procedures.
    • Investigate laboratory accidents, spills/releases, determine causes of accidents, recommend corrective action, and forward investigation reports to the EH&S Office.
  • Laboratory Employees (non-supervisory Faculty, Technicians, Laboratory Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Student Assistants, student volunteers, and any other paid University employee):
    • Understand and act in accordance with the safety requirements established by the laboratory.
    • Participate in all required training programs.
    • Understand the function and proper use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Wear and properly maintain the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to perform each task.
    • Use engineering controls and safety equipment properly and according to laboratory requirements.
    • Follow good chemical hygiene practices.
    • Read and understand health and safety Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and other program documents.
    • Report to supervisor all facts pertaining to incidents that result in injury or exposure to hazardous substances and any action or condition that may result in an accident.
  • Students Working in Research Laboratories (non-employee):
    • Understand and act in accordance with the safety requirements established by the laboratory.
    • Participate in all required training programs.
    • Understand the function and proper use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Wear and properly maintain the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to perform each task.
    • Use engineering controls and safety equipment properly and according to laboratory requirements.
    • Follow good chemical hygiene practices.
    • Read and understand health and safety Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) and other program documents.
    • Report to supervisor all facts pertaining to incidents that result in injury or exposure to hazardous substances and any action or condition that may result in an accident.

IV. Standard Operating Procedures

  • General Rules
    • Avoid working alone in a laboratory if the procedures being conducted are hazardous.
    • Wear appropriate eye protection at all times.  Normal prescription glasses are not protective eyewear.
    • When working with flammable chemicals, be certain that there are no sources of ignition near enough to cause a fire or explosion in the event of a vapor release or liquid spill.
    • Be aware of chemical hazards as determined from the SDS and other appropriate references.
    • Appropriate protective equipment should be worn every time you work around/use chemicals. Become familiar with the types of protective equipment available and understand their use and limitations.
    • Understand appropriate procedures for emergencies, including evacuation routes, spill cleanup procedures and proper waste disposal. (CSUN Emergency Procedures).
    • Know the location and proper use of emergency equipment (i.e. fire extinguishers, eyewashes, showers, spill kits, etc.).
    • Know how and where to properly store chemicals.
    • Use proper personal hygiene practices. (See Personal Hygiene).
    • Know the proper methods of transporting chemicals within the facility.
    • Be alert to unsafe conditions and correct or report them as soon as they are detected.
    • Do not use damaged glassware.
    • Use laboratory equipment in a safe manner and only for its designated purpose.
  • Unattended Operations:
    • When possible avoid leaving operations unattended.
    • If it is necessary to do so, leave the lights on in the room, lock the door and post a notification in the room or on the door (visible from outside the room) or on the door.
    • Notification of unattended operation(s) shall include, at a minimum: the name and 24 hour telephone number of the faculty or staff member  with overall responsibility for the operation, a description of the operation, a list of materials involved, and the date and time when direct supervision of the operation will be available. 
    • Unattended  operations shall not exceed 24 continuous hours without direct supervision
    • Provide for containment of hazardous substances in the event of a utility failure (such as cooling water) to an unattended operation.
    • Provide for proper ventilation.  If possible, conduct the operation in a fume hood with the sash lowered.
  • Personal Hygiene:
    • Wash promptly whenever a chemical has contacted the skin.
    • Avoid inhalation of chemicals.
    • Do not use mouth suction to pipette anything; use only mechanical pipette devices.
    • Wash well with soap and water before leaving the facility; do not wash with solvents.
    • Do not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.
    • Do not store food in refrigerators/freezers that are designated for chemical, radiation and/or biohazard use.
  • Personal Protection & Engineering Controls:
    • Hazards associated with laboratory operations shall be eliminated through the use of engineering and administrative controls when feasible.  Personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be used only where engineering controls are not feasible.  The need for special personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, shall be evaluated by EH&S.
    • Eye protection must be worn by all persons in laboratories at all times when hazardous chemicals are being used.
    • Protective gloves must be available and resistant to the type of chemical being used.
      • Inspect gloves before each use to ensure they are in good condition.
      • Wash non-disposable gloves before removal and replace them periodically or when damaged.
    • Wear close-toed/close-heeled shoes in the laboratory, no sandals or other open toed footwear.
    • Long hair and loose clothing must be confined.
    • Any forms of jewelry, or similar embellishments, are not recommended.
    • Carefully inspect all protective equipment before using.  Do not use defective protective equipment.
    • Disposable protective clothing should not be worn outside of the laboratory work area.
    • Have an identified storage area designated for personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Housekeeping:
    • Do not store hazardous chemicals in/or near sinks without utilizing secondary containment.
    • Access to emergency equipment, electrical panels, showers, eyewashes, aisles and exits must remain clear at all times.
    • Keep all work areas, especially laboratory benches, clean and clear of clutter.
    • Chemical containers must be clearly labeled with at least the identity of the contents by common name, not chemical formula, and the hazards those contents present to users. The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) guidelines should be used whenever possible for all hazardous chemicals.
    • Wastes should be properly labeled and kept in compatible containers. (See Hazardous Waste Labels).
    • Follow accepted waste disposal procedures.
  • Labeling:
    • Chemical containers must be clearly labeled with at least the identity of the contents by common name, not chemical formula, and the hazards those contents present to users. The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) guidelines should be used whenever possible for all hazardous chemicals.
    • Wastes should be properly labeled and kept in compatible containers (See Hazardous Waste Labels).
    • Follow accepted waste disposal procedures. 

V. Chemical Procurement       

Refer to the Chemical Procurement Program

VI. Prior Approval

  • Prior approval will need to be obtained from, including but not limited to: the Lab Supervisor, department CHO, EH&S, the appropriate advisory committee (i.e. Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), Biological Safety Committee (BSC), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (AICUC), Standing Advisory Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (SACPHS), or the Department Safety Coordinator for laboratory activities which present specific/foreseeable hazards to employees. Such activities include off-hours work, sole occupancy of a building, particularly hazardous operations and unattended operations.  In addition, EH&S should be contacted prior to operations::
    • That will likely exceed the Cal/OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits .
    • That will entail working with explosives, extremely reactive chemicals, extremely toxic chemicals, or large quantities of materials that could potentially be released into the environment.

VII. Waste Disposal

  • Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures:
    • Do not mix incompatible materials.
    • Package waste in a sealed container made of a chemically compatible material and store in a cool, dry location.
    • All waste containers must be properly labeled with the California State University, Northridge Hazardous Waste Label.
    • It is the responsibility of the waste generator to schedule a waste pickup with EH&S.
      • The waste generator must submit a completed Hazardous Waste Transfer Form to EH&S prior to the waste pickup (mail drop 8284).  The inventory must include chemical/waste name, amount of waste to be disposed of, preparation date and hazard class of the hazardous waste.
    • Secure waste materials against tampering by unauthorized individuals.
    • For additional hazardous waste disposal information, refer to the California State University, Northridge Hazardous Waste Management Program.

VIII. Minor/Major Spills

  • Minor Chemical Spill:
    • A minor chemical spill is one that laboratory workers can safely handle with the resources locally available and where there is no potential risk of health hazards (i.e. fire, explosion, or chemical exposure).
    • The following minor chemical spill procedures should be used by knowledgeable and experienced laboratory workers only:
      • If the spilled material is flammable, turn off all ignition and heat sources.
      • Alert people in the immediate area, and adjoining spaces, of the spill.
      • Notify a supervisor immediately.
      • Confine the spill to a small area.
      • Neutralize or absorb the spilled chemical with the proper clean up equipment/materials.
      • Ensure that the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn during the cleanup (consult the SDS).
  • Major Chemical Spill:

Only personnel who have been properly trained are authorized to contain and clean up a major hazardous chemical spill. The University has internal resources for responding to hazardous materials incidents. These following steps can be taken, if safe to do so, to help minimize the impact of the spill:

    •  Evacuate spill area, and all affected workers, and close doors to the affected area.
    •  If the spilled material is flammable, turn off all ignition and heat sources (only if safe).
    •  Send someone to call 911 (from a safe location) and report the conditions to the police dispatcher.
    •  Notify department office.
    • Notify the EH&S office.

For additional information, refer to the University’s Hazardous Materials Spill/Release, Emergency Procedures.

IX. Hazard Specific Safety Procedures

  • Hazard Specific Safety Procedures
    • It is the responsibility of the department, Laboratory Supervisor and laboratory workers to ensure that all original manufacturer labels on packages and containers are not removed, defaced or illegible. 
    • SDS's must be readily accessible to laboratory workers for all materials used (hard copies or online).
    • If a chemical substance is produced exclusively for laboratory use and the chemical composition is known, the following shall be conducted:
      • The Laboratory Supervisor or CHO will need to determine if it is a hazardous chemical and provide appropriate training (i.e. toxicological properties, safe handling procedures, potential hazards, etc.) and ensure the chemical is properly labeled with contents, and hazard warning(s).
    • If a chemical substance is produced exclusively for laboratory use and the chemical composition is unknown, the following shall be conducted:
      • The Laboratory Supervisor or CHO shall assume that it is a hazardous chemical, and implement this CHP plan.
  • Chemical Storage
    • Properly segregate incompatible chemicals (contact EH&S for resources).
    • Keep volatile liquids away from heat, sun, and sources of ignition.
    • Corrosives and flammables should be stored below eye level.
    • Evaluate chemicals periodically for viable use.  Contact EH&S for guidance with storage and disposal.
  • Procedures for Toxic Chemicals
    • A chemical is considered toxic if it exerts harmful effects on a biological mechanism.
    • The SDS's for many of the chemicals used in the laboratory will state recommended limits or OSHA-mandated limits, or both, as guidelines for exposure.
    • Typical limits are threshold limit values (TLV), permissible exposure limits (PEL), and action levels.  When such limits are stated, they will be used to assist EH&S in determining the safety precautions, control measures, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that apply when working with toxic chemicals.  For a listing of chemical exposure limits, refer to Title 8, California Code of Regulations, §5155 Permissible Exposure Limits for Chemical Contaminants.
    • When using a chemical with a TLV or PEL value less than 50ppm or 100mg/m3, or if handling a toxic substance with a high vapor pressure that will likely exceed air concentration limits (vapor pressure greater than 1 mm Hg at ambient temperature), the chemical must be handled in an operating fume hood, glove box, or similar device.  If none are available, no work should be performed using that chemical (refer to Permissible Exposure Limits for Chemical Contaminants.)
  • Procedures/Storage for Flammable Chemicals & Solids
    • “Liquid, flammable” means any liquid having a flashpoint below 100°F (37.8°C), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 100°F (37.8°C) or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.
    • “Solid, flammable” means a solid, other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109(a), that is liable to cause fire through friction, absorption of moisture, spontaneous chemical change, or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or which can be ignited readily and when ignited burns so vigorously and persistently as to create a serious hazard. A chemical shall be considered to be a flammable solid if, when tested by the method described in 16 CFR 1500.44, it ignites and burns with a self-sustained flame at a rate greater than one-tenth of an inch per second along its major axis.
    • Cabinets designed for the storage of flammable liquids should be properly used and maintained.  Read and follow the manufacturer’s information and also follow these safety practices:
      • Flammable liquid cabinets must be used if greater than 10 gallons of flammable liquids are stored in a laboratory.
      • Ensure flammable liquid storage cabinets are properly labeled.
      • Chemicals with a flash point below 200oF (93.3oC) should be stored in a flammable solvent storage area or in a designated flammable liquid storage cabinet.
      • Place flammable liquid storage cabinets away from sources of ignition.
      • Store only compatible materials inside the cabinet.
      • Do not store paper or cardboard or other combustible packaging material in a flammable liquid storage cabinet.
      • Do not overload a flammable liquid cabinet, follow manufacturers established quantity limits.  Not more than 60 gallons of flammable and/or combustible liquids shall be stored in any one hazardous material cabinet.
  • Procedures for Reactive Chemicals
    • A reactive chemical is one that meets any of the following: 
      • Identified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as an oxidizer, organic peroxide, an explosive class A, B or C.
      • It is ranked by the NFPA as a 3 or 4 for reactivity.
      • Is known or found to be reactive with other substances.
    • Refer to the SDS for known incompatibilities and storage/handling requirements.  Some reactive chemicals are temperature sensitive and must be refrigerated.
  • Corrosive Chemicals
    • A chemical is corrosive if it is aqueous and has a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5.  The manufacturers’ SDS should include the information on whether the chemical is corrosive.
    • Refer to SDS before handling a corrosive chemical.
    • The following personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn when working with corrosive chemicals:
      • Safety goggles, and a laboratory coat.  An acid resistant splash apron is also recommended.
      • Gloves are recommended, when appropriate, and must be tested for absence of pinholes (by positive pressure test), and known to be resistant to permeation and penetration from the chemical being used.
    • Use proper pouring techniques when pouring acids into water. (i.e. pour acid into water NOT water into acid).
    • All procedures utilizing corrosives must be performed in a laboratory fume hood (not a biosafety or laminar cabinet).
    • Locate the nearest eye wash and safety shower before handling corrosive chemicals and ensure access is not blocked.
  • Hydrofluoric  (HF) Acid Procedures

The specialized hazards associated with hydrofluoric acid (HF) warrant specialized work practices and safety procedures. Carefully reviewing and following these procedures will help you in preventing incidents and reducing exposures. This information will also provide you with a clear plan of action if an incident involving HF occurs in the laboratory.

    • Anyone who works in a laboratory where HF is used must know about the hazards and special emergency response procedures associated with HF. This also includes anyone who does not work directly with HF, but will be working near areas where it is being used.
    • Those working directly with HF must be trained in the proper use and disposal of HF.
    • Avoid working with HF when working alone. It is important to have someone nearby who knows you are working with HF and knows how to act in case of an emergency.
    • Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn when working with HF.  Proper PPE includes:
      • Chemical face shield with chin protector.
      • Closed toe/closed-heel shoes.
      • No shorts or skirts.
      • Long sleeved lab coat.
      • Acid resistant splash apron (i.e. neoprene).
      • Neoprene gloves.
    • Hydrofluoric Acid Emergency Response Procedures must be posted and readily visible in the laboratory. This information along with the SDS should be readily available. Contact EH&S for copies of the HF Emergency Response Procedures.
    • Calcium gluconate gel and Zephiran soaks must be readily available in the lab. Be sure to check the gel expiration date before starting any work. Anyone who works in the laboratory where HF is used must know how calcium gluconate and Zephiran soaks should be used.
    • Work with HF should always be done in a chemical fume hood. Make sure the fume hood is operating properly and has a current inspection sticker.
    • HF must be stored in chemically compatible, properly labeled containers and separated from alkalis, metals, oxidizers, glass, cyanides, reducing materials, and sulfides. Use only chemically compatible containers when using or storing HF (i.e. polyethylene, Teflon, etc.). Glass, metal or ceramic containers ARE NOT compatible with HF. Secondary containers constructed of polyethylene are advised for earthquake safety and for use during transport.
    • Contact EH&S for waste disposal at x2401.
    • In the event of a spill:
      • Notify those in the immediate area that a spill has occurred.
      • Evacuate workers from the spill and adjoining areas.
      • Turn off heat sources, if safe to do so.
      • Attend to anyone who may have been exposed to HF.
      • Notify the Laboratory Supervisor, EH&S (x2401) and Public Safety (x2111) of the spill.
    • Medical personnel (Student Health Center, Concentra, Northridge Medical Center) must evaluate anyone exposed to HF.
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders
    • Compressed gas cylinders must always be properly secured in place using chains and/or cages.  Any other method must be approved by EH&S.
      • No more than two cylinders may be secured per chain.
      • Use two chains if the cylinder is greater than 36 inches high.
      • Cylinder caps must remain in place when cylinders are being moved or are not in use.
      • Store gas cylinders away from excessive heat.
      • Gas cylinders must be properly marked as to their contents.
      • Full and empty cylinders should be stored separately.
        • Empty gas cylinders are to be labeled as such.
        • Hoses and tubing should be in good condition, free of cracks, and patches.
        • The movement of cylinders should be done using designated carts equipped with restraining straps and chains.

     X. Control Measures & Equipment

    Chemical safety is achieved by the continual awareness of chemical hazards and by keeping the chemicals under control through precautions, including engineering controls such as fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, glove boxes and room ventilation. Laboratory workers should be familiar with precautionary measures, including the use of engineering controls and other safeguards.  Laboratory supervisors should regularly inspect engineering controls and other safeguards, and report all malfunctions to PPM Work Control at extension x2222.

    To measure and track the performance of administrative and engineering control programs, monitoring systems are essential.  Primary monitoring systems include regular workplace inspections and a laboratory ventilation testing program.

    • Ventilation:

    Laboratory workers should understand and comply with the following:

      • Fume hoods should always be used for operations which might result in release of chemical vapors, dusts, mists or fumes.
      • A hood or other local ventilation devices should be used when working with any volatile substance.  A fume hood must be used when working with a substance that has a PEL or TLV less than 50ppm or 100mg/m3.
      • Fume hoods are checked annually for proper flow rate by EH&S.  Ensure the fume hood has an inspection tag indicating the flow rate, an arrow indicating the maximum height opening of the sash, and an inspection date.  If a hood does not have a flow rate inspection tag, do not use the hood and call EH&S at extension x2401.
      • All fume hoods shall be equipped with a qualitative airflow monitor at a minimum that continuously indicates whether air is flowing into the exhaust system during operation. The monitor shall measure either the exact rate of inward airflow or the relative amount of inward airflow. Acceptable devices that measure the relative amount of inward airflow include: diaphragm pressure gauges, inclined manometers, vane gauges, and an airflow alarm system if the system provides an audible or visual alarm when airflow decreases to less than 80% of the required airflow rate. -per Title 8, California Code of Regulations, §5154.1 Ventilation Requirements for Laboratory-Type Hood Operations.
      • Do not extend your head inside the hood when operations are underway.
      • The hood fan should be kept on whenever a chemical is inside the hood, whether or not any work is being done in the hood.
      • In the event of power failure or other hood failure, close any open containers and lower the sash.
      • Storage inside a hood should be minimal. If large equipment is utilized in a hood, place the equipment on blocks to allow air currents to pass under the equipment and maintain good air flow.
      • The apparatus inside the hood should be placed on the floor of the hood at least six inches away from the front edge.  Indicator marks on the hood base of side walls may be useful reminders.
      • Fume hoods should provide an average of 100 linear feet per minute of air flow with a minimum of 70 fpm in any one location sampled.  For procedures using carcinogens, an average linear face velocity of 150 fpm is required with a minimum of 125 fpm.
      • Laboratory hoods will be tested annually, or after ventilation modification or maintenance operations, by EH&S.
    • Eyewash Fountains & Safety Showers:
      • Access to eyewash fountains and safety showers should not be restricted or blocked by temporary storage of objects or in any other way.
      • Eyewash fountains should be activated monthly to flush the line and verify proper operation.  
      • Safety showers should be activated monthly to flush the line and verify proper operation.  
    • Respirators:

    The use of respirators is not a primary means by which laboratory exposures to hazardous substances are controlled. Control should rely on proper technique, ventilation and confinement of the substance. In some cases, however, respirators may be required to maintain exposures below the PEL.  In such cases, the University shall provide the proper respiratory protective equipment to employees, and guidance for students working in research laboratories, in accordance with Title 8, California Code of Regulations, § 5144. Respirators cannot be worn unless one has met the necessary medical criteria and has been fit tested. Please refer to the University’s Respiratory Protection Program .

    • Vapor Detection:

    Do not use odor as a means of determining if inhalation exposure limits are being exceeded. Whenever there is reason to suspect that a toxic chemical inhalation limit might be exceeded, whether or not a suspicious odor is detected, notify the supervisor and the EH&S Office (extension 2401). EH&S will determine, once notified, if engineering controls are available to reduce the exposure and perform exposure monitoring if necessary.

    XI. Procedures for Particularly Hazardous Substances

    These special procedures shall be followed when performing laboratory work with any select carcinogen, reproductive toxin, or substance that has a high degree of acute toxicity.

    • Applicable Definitions:
      • Select Carcinogen:  Any substance defined by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), per Title 8, California Code of Regulations, §5191, and any other substance described as such in the applicable SDS. Refer to Reference  Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories for a list of select carcinogen characteristics.
      • Reproductive Toxin:  Any substance described as such in the applicable SDS.
      • Substance with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity:  Any substance for which the LD50 data described in the applicable SDS cause the substance to be classified as a highly or acutely toxic chemical.
    • Laboratory Evaluation:

    For laboratories that work with chemicals described in section XIII:

      • EH&S and the CHO for the specific college/department will evaluate those laboratories that utilize chemicals described in section XIII.
      • The evaluation will determine:
        • The type of controls needed.
        • Establish the “Designated Area(s)”.
        • If employee monitoring is needed.
        • Need for medical surveillance.
        • Special training.
        • Personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations.
    • Establishment of Designated Areas:

    A “Designated Area” is defined as a hood, glove box, containment cabinet, portion of a laboratory, or an entire laboratory room, designated as the only area where any activity, including storage, of carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity, shall be conducted.

      • Conduct all procedures utilizing chemicals in this category in a Designated Area.
      • Designated Areas shall be posted as such, and their boundaries clearly marked.
      • Access to the Designated Area shall be restricted to trained laboratory workers aware of the potential hazards associated with the materials and all necessary safety precautions.
    • Use of Containment Devices/Protective Measures:
      • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety goggles, and lab coats.
        • Wear a long sleeved lab coat and gloves known to resist permeation by the chemicals to be used when working in the designated areas.
        • All personal protective equipment (PPE), including lab coats, shall be removed prior to exiting the Designated Area.
      • Read the SDS for the chemical to be used; understand the special precautions to be taken.
      • Ventilation apparatus (supporting the use of chemicals is this category) such as laboratory type hoods will be tested regularly, or immediately after ventilation modification or maintenance operations, by EH&S.
      • Procedures for Removal of Contaminated Waste:

      Removal of contaminated waste shall be done in accordance with the CSU Northridge Hazardous Waste Removal Procedure.

      • Decontamination Procedures:
        • Decontaminate the area when work is completed.
        • All materials and products shall be decontaminated (or contained) before being removed from the designated area.
        • Hands and forearms shall be thoroughly washed prior to leaving the area, and after completion of any procedure in which chemicals in this classification are used.
        • Laboratory work surfaces on which a carcinogen is handled shall be protected from contamination.
        • Any equipment, material or other item taken into or removed from a Designated Area shall be done so in a manner that does not cause contamination in non-regulated areas or the external environment.
        • Decontamination of jewelry may be difficult or impossible; therefore, it is not recommended that jewelry be worn when working around/with chemicals in this classification.
      • General Procedures:

      The following controls and handling techniques should be employed when handling carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity:

        • Use the smallest amount of the chemical that is consistent with the requirements of the work being done.
        • Store all chemicals in this category in locked and enclosed spaces.
        • Perform all work that may result in the generation of aerosols in a fume hood, or glove box, within a Designated Area.
        • Mechanical pipetting aids shall be used for all pipetting procedures.
        • Dry sweeping and dry mopping are prohibited in a Designated Area.
        • Use care when weighing solids to avoid creation of aerosols.
        • A current chemical inventory shall be maintained.
        • Particularly Hazardous Substance containers must be identified as such with a GHS hazard pictogram.

       XII. Biological Safety


      • Biosafety Level(s):
        • Biosafety Level 1:  Work with microorganisms not known to cause disease in healthy human adults.
        • Biosafety Level 2: Work with microorganisms of moderate potential hazard to human health and the environment.
        • Biosafety Level 3:  Work with infectious agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal diseases to human health as a result of exposure by inhalation.
        • Biosafety Level 4:  Work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening diseases to human health.
      • Standard Microbial Practices:

      The following are standard microbiological practices that apply to Biosafety Levels 1 and 2.  (Work with Biosafety Levels 3 and 4 are not currently conducted at CSUN, and future work would need to be evaluated by EH&S.)
      These practices are common sense principles that protect laboratory workers, the experiment, and the environment.  They include the following:

      Biosafety Levels 1 & 2

          • Decontaminate work surfaces before and after use and after any spill of viable materials.
          • Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, and storing food are prohibited in work areas.
          • Use only mechanical pipetting devices; mouth pipetting is prohibited.
          • Wash hands after handling cultures or animals and before leaving the room.
          • Carefully perform all procedures to minimize the creation of aerosols.
          • Restrict access to the laboratory when work is being conducted.

      In addition to the standard microbial practices listed above, the following practices should be followed when working with or around biological safety level 2 agents/materials.

        • Safety cabinets or other appropriate combinations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical containment devices (centrifuge safety cups, sealed centrifuge rotors, containment caging for animals) should be used for the following:
          • Procedures with a high potential for creating infectious aerosols.
          • Procedures using high concentrations or large volumes of infectious agents.
        • Handle all liquid and solid waste as though infectious.
        • Dispose of all biohazardous waste in accordance with applicable regulations.
        • Wash hands after handling any biohazardous material and before leaving the laboratory.
        • Take special care to avoid skin contamination with infectious material; gloves should be worn when skin contact with infectious materials is unavoidable.

      XIII. Records & Recordkeeping

      • Records:

      Proper records shall be prepared and maintained to document all activities required by this Standard. These may include training, information, inspections/audits, maintenance records for control systems, medical records, exposure records, etc. 

      • Recordkeeping:

      The responsibility for record retention may reside with either the originating department, EH&S, or in the case of employee exposure or medical records, the appropriate Physician or other Professional Licensed Health Care Provider (PLHCP).

      XIV. Training Program

      • The Goal:

      To ensure that all individuals potentially at risk are adequately informed about the work in the laboratory/chemical handling area, its risks, and what to do if an accident occurs.  Every worker should know the location and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and basic emergency response procedures.

      The instructional method(s) to be used are not mandated.  A formal session in a classroom setting, informal group and individual discussion with supervisor, posted notices, or handout booklets can all be effective means to provide employee training.

      • Training Responsibilities:
        • EH&S:  The Environmental Health and Safety Office is responsible for providing training for support services and assistance to colleges/departments.
        • CHO:  The college/department’s designated Chemical Hygiene Officer is responsible for providing Chemical Hygiene Plan/General Laboratory Safety Training for Laboratory Supervisors within their college/department.
        • Laboratory Supervisor/Principal Investigator:  The Lab Supervisor is responsible for providing all laboratory workers with information and training regarding the hazards of specific procedures and substances involved in each laboratory, and ensuring that documented Chemical Hygiene Plan training has been provided to each individual under their direction.
        • Laboratory Workers:  Laboratory workers are expected to follow all laboratory safety rules.  Lab Workers may include:
          • Students
          • All Faculty
          • Laboratory Technicians and Assistants
          • Graduate Assistants
          • Teacher Assistants
          • Any other paid University employee
        • Employees shall be provided safety information and training when initially assigned to a laboratory where hazardous chemicals are present and also prior to assignments involving new hazardous chemicals and/or new laboratory work procedures.
        • Safety training shall be documented. See sample Laboratory Safety Training Documentation Form
      • Minimum Training Requirements:

      Workers need to be informed of:

        • Content and requirements of the CHP.
        • The exposure limits for hazardous chemicals used in the worker's laboratory(ies).
        • Signs and symptoms associated with exposures to the hazardous chemicals used in the laboratories.
        • Location and availability of SDSs and other reference materials (i.e.
        • Physical and health hazards of chemicals unique to the laboratory the worker will be in.
        • Measures workers can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures such as appropriate work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used, and emergency procedures.
        • Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical; such as monitoring, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals that may be released.

      XV. Medical Exams/Consultation

      • Exams:

      Under the OSHA Laboratory Standard, employees are provided with the opportunity to receive medical attention, including follow-up examinations under the following conditions:

        • Where exposure monitoring reveals an exposure level routinely above the action level, or PEL in the absence of an action level, for an OSHA regulated substance for which there are exposure monitoring and medical surveillance requirements.
        • Whenever an employee develops signs or symptoms associated with possible exposure to a hazardous chemical handled in the laboratory.
        • After a major chemical release, accident, or incident which may have resulted in an employee being exposed to a chemical.
      • Consultations:

      If a medical consultation is needed, it shall be conducted by a licensed physician and the following information should be provided at the time of the evaluation:

        • The identification of the hazardous chemical (i.e. SDS, fact sheet, etc).
        • A description of the conditions in the laboratory at the time of the incident.
        • A description of any signs/symptoms that the person is experiencing.

        XVI. References & Resources

        • Resources:

        Title 8, California Code of Regulations, Sec 5155, Airborne Contaminants

        Title 8, California Code of Regulations, Sec 5155, Table AC-1, Permissible Exposure

        Laboratory Standard Title 8 CCR , Section 5191

        Respiratory Protection Program

        • Carcinogens:

        International Agency for Research on Cancer

        Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, Appendix A - National Research Council

        Cal/OSHA Regulated Carcinogens

        • Forms:

        Hazardous Waste Label

        Hazardous Waste Transfer Form

        Chemical Hygiene Plan Training Form

        XII. Revision Record


        3.1Update Format, Links & ProceduresAugust 2013
        3.2Minor Revisions & UpdatesFebruary 2015
        3.3Minor Revisions & UpdatesJuly 2018
        3.4Minor Revisions February 2019
        3.5Minor Revisions & UpdatesAugust 2019
        3.6Minor Revisions & Link UpdatesJune 2021