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OSHA Laboratory Standard Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

OSHA Laboratory Standard

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


The Occupa­tional Safety and Health Admini­str­ation’s regulation for laboratory safety was finalized in 1990 for the purpose of protecting workers from chemical, biolog­ical, physical, and other safety hazards. The intent was to address hazards particular to laboratory practices and to fill in the gaps not covered by existing, specific OSHA standards for general industry.

Central to the OSHA Laboratory Standard are a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) and the designee respon­sible for its implem­ent­ation and updating, the chemical hygiene officer (CHO). The CHP must be tailored to reflect the specific chemical hazards present in the laboratory where it is to be used. Distilled to its essent­ials, the CHP has five major elements that employers are required to address:

Chemical Hygiene Plan Major Elements

1. Identify hazards and develop standard operating procedures that include general and labora­tor­y-s­pecific protocols for work with hazardous chemicals.
2. Determine and implement exposure control measures and monitoring when approp­riate, including engine­ering controls and personal protective equipment, to reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals.
3. Determine and implement specific measures to ensure proper and adequate perfor­mance of protective equipment such as fume hoods, etc.
4. Provide inform­ation and training to ensure workers are apprised of all hazards in their work areas. Workers must receive training regarding the Laboratory Standard, the CHP, and other laboratory safety practices, including exposure detection, physical and health hazards associated with chemicals, and protective measures.
5. Provide for medical consul­tations and examin­ations when exposure to a hazardous chemical has occurred.


The Occupa­tional Safety and Health Admini­str­ation’s regulation for laboratory safety was first issued in 1983. This original standard requires assessing the potential hazards of chemicals, and commun­icating inform­ation concerning those hazards and approp­riate protective measures to employees.

Similar to the Laboratory Standard, the OSHA HazCom standard also requires a written plan, or Hazard Commun­ication Plan (HCP). Condensed to the basics, the HCP also has five principal requir­ements:

OSHA Hazardous

Hazard Commun­ication Plan Principles

1. Develop and maintain an inventory of all hazardous chemicals kept and used in the workplace.
2. Ensure all containers of chemicals are properly labeled.
3. Collect and maintain current safety data sheets (SDSs) for all chemicals to which workers may be exposed.
4. Develop and implement worker training programs regarding hazards of chemicals to which they may be exposed and the approp­riate protective measures to use when handling these chemicals.
5. Heed hazardous chemical warnings on container labels and in SDSs, which manufa­cturers and importers must provide to users.

RCRA: Managing Hazardous Wastes

As with the OSHA Laboratory Standard and HazCom, a very brief distil­lation of the main principles is presented below. However, given the breadth and complexity of RCRA, we strongly recommend consulting with knowle­dgeable and experi­enced profes­sionals unless the specific expertise is available in-house.

Hazardous waste regula­tions under RCRA fall into four general areas:

Hazardous Waste Regula­tions 4 Areas

1. Identi­fic­ation and determ­ination of all generated wastes. This is accomp­lished with knowledge of the specific process generating the waste, waste defini­tions, contam­inant lists, and waste charac­ter­istics, as laid out in 40CFR Part 261.
2. Storage and labeling of waste. 40CFR Part 262 addresses proper contai­ners, packaging, labeling, placar­ding, quanti­ties, and accumu­lation times.
3. Transp­orting waste. All transp­orters of hazardous waste must be permitted and licensed by the EPA. Strict guidelines cover waste packaging, labeling, and placar­ding. A compre­hensive manifest must be compiled and must accompany the shipment from its pickup at the generator to the final treatment and/or disposal site.
4. Disposal of waste. As with transp­orters, all treatment, storage, and disposal facilities must be permitted and licensed by the EPA. Each shipment manifest should be carefully checked. After final action, a manifest copy, signed by all, is returned to the generator to complete full docume­ntation of cradle­-to­-grave handling.