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Environmental Health and Safety

Laboratory Safety

Following an EPA inspection in the fall of 2002, responsibility for inspection of laboratories at K-State has changed. Under current policies, each college has an EH&S committee to oversee safety issues and other inspection requirements. The department of environmental health and safety assists in the education and auditing of federal, state, and university safety regulations and guidelines.

Chemical Hygiene program

Good laboratory safety practices

The Good Laboratory Safety Practices Policy is a step toward the achievement of a safe and healthful work and study environment on the Kansas State University campus. No reference point has been established as to what constitutes a truly safe and hazard free atmosphere in laboratories or elsewhere. It is impossible to remove all dangers from a research or teaching laboratory, therefore, we should strive to make the laboratory reasonably safe. The practices and procedures in the Laboratory Safety manual (PDF) can be used by departments as a guide for upgrading the safety in their laboratories and other areas of responsibility. The Department of Environmental Health & Safety can provide assistance in the pursuit of these goals. Specific safety measures and procedures can be found in the manual published by the Department of Environmental Health & Safety. The manual is available in hard copy.

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety develops and implements campus safety standards for the safety of the students, faculty and staff in research and teaching laboratories. A Department Safety Coordinator, appointed by each department head, is responsible for

  • chemical safety,
  • chemical spill notification,
  • emergency contingency plans,
  • general laboratory safety,
  • hazardous waste disposal and
  • liaison with the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

The person in charge of a laboratory is responsible for training of employees and students in proper procedures and must notify the Department Safety Coordinator in case of accidents, chemical spills or hazardous waste disposal. Employees and students working in or using the laboratory facilities in the course of their employment or studies are responsible for knowing and following all safety procedures.

The guidelines found in the manual include

  • emergency telephone numbers,
  • general principles when working with laboratory chemicals,
  • the chemical hygiene program,
  • recommended safe laboratory practices,
  • disposal of chemical waste and accident information.
  • The recommended safe laboratory practices include
  • general safety rules,
  • personal protection and emergency equipment,
  • electrical and mechanical protection,
  • fume hoods,
  • glove boxes,
  • biohazard cabinets and
  • general handling and storage of chemicals.

In addition, guidelines for special laboratory hazards are included. Special chemical hazards include

  • working with radioactive materials,
  • lasers,
  • ultraviolet radiation,
  • recombinant DNA molecules,
  • chemical carcinogens,
  • biohazardous agents,
  • compressed gas cylinders
  • and cryogenic liquids.

The guidelines include appendices concerning the National Research Council recommendations concerning chemical hygiene in laboratories, chemical compatibility, a suggested chemical storage plan, a chemical carcinogen list and procedures for a spill response cart.

Basic Principles When Working With Laboratory Chemicals

  1. minimize all chemical exposures;
  2. avoid underestimating the risk;
  3. provide adequate ventilation;
  4. observe the Threshold Limit Values (TLV's);
  5. institute a Chemical Hygiene Program;
  6. do not pipet by mouth;
  7. do not smoke in laboratories;
  8. do not store or consume food and beverages in laboratories; and
  9. wear proper personal protective equipment. Kansas law (K.S.A. 72.5207) requires every student and teacher participating in vocational, technical or industrial arts shops or laboratories must wear eye protective devises suitable to protect against the hazards.