Stanford University

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Last updated: April 16, 2019

This is the chemical hygiene manual

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Last updated: April 16, 2019

Chemical Hygiene Plan

This is the chemical hygiene manual

Download full manual

1Purpose, Scope, and Responsibilities


The purpose of Stanford University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is to establish a written program that provides for and supports the procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment, and work practices for protecting laboratory personnel from potential health hazards of using hazardous chemicals in the laboratory.

Additionally, the CHP is designed to comply with the regulations of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, Title 8 – California Code of Regulations, Section 5191


Stanford University’s CHP applies to all Stanford University laboratory personnel who handle and may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in research laboratories at Stanford University. This includes labs that use small quantities of off-the-shelf hazardous chemicals in their research.


This CHP does not cover work with radioactive materials or biological agents. Procedures for work with these materials are addressed via the University’s Radiation Safety Manual and Biosafety Manual, respectively.


A. Duties of Principal Investigator/Laboratory Supervisor

The Principal Investigator (PI) /Laboratory Supervisor has responsibility for the health and safety of laboratory personnel doing work in his/her laboratory. The PI/Laboratory Supervisor may delegate the safety duties for which he/she is responsible, but must make sure that any delegated safety duties are carried out. The PI/Laboratory Supervisor’s responsibilities are enumerated below with links to additional information on fulfilling those responsibilities:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment to identify hazardous conditions or operations in the lab. Determine safe procedures and controls and implement and enforce standard operating procedures.
  2. Establishing standard operating procedures (general and protocol-specific) and performing literature searches relevant to safety and health that is appropriate for the work.
  3. Providing prior-approval for the use of Restricted Chemicals in the PI/Laboratory Supervisor’s laboratory.
  4. Consulting with laboratory personnel on their use of higher-risk chemicals, such as Particularly Hazardous Substances or highly reactive chemicals, or conducting higher-risk experimental procedures, so that special safety precautions may be taken.
  5. Maintaining the online laboratory chemical inventory for the laboratory.
  6. Providing laboratory personnel under his/her supervision with access to the CHP and any individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  7. Training laboratory personnel he/she supervises to work safely with hazardous chemicals and operations, and maintain records of training provided locally. This includes informing laboratory personnel of the location and availability of Hazard Information described in Section 10.1.
  8. Maintaining in functional working order appropriate work place engineering controls (e.g., fume hoods) and safety equipment (e.g., emergency showers/eyewashes, fire extinguishers), with emphasis on controls for Particularly Hazardous Substances.
  9. Complying with the requirements of Stanford University’s Personal Protective Equipment Program.
  10. Conducting periodic laboratory inspections and maintaining records of inspections in BioRaft or equivalent.
  11. Prompt reporting of laboratory accidents and injuries to Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).
  12. Making available required medical surveillance or medical consultation/ examination for laboratory personnel.
  13. Informing facilities personnel, other non-laboratory and any outside contractors of potential lab-related hazards when they are required to work in the laboratory environment. Identified potential hazards should be minimized to provide a safe environment for repairs and renovations.
  14. If minors in the laboratory are participating in the University-sponsored function of laboratory research, complying with the requirements set forth in the Health & Safety Requirements for Minors in Laboratories at Stanford University. Review University Human Resources Policy for Protection of Minors and the Office of Science Outreach Guidelines & Checklist for Hosting Minors in Labs.


Stanford University’s Laboratory Chemical Safety Toolkit has been developed to aid the PI/Laboratory Supervisors and laboratory personnel in fulfilling their responsibilities and promote a safe and regulatory compliant laboratory environment. Links to relevant sections of the Toolkit are provided within the CHP to provide additional detailed information on a related topic.

Option of Laboratory-Specific Safety Plan

In order to help fulfill these responsibilities, PI/Laboratory Supervisors have the option of creating a specific safety plan that is tailored to the operations conducted in their laboratory (individual Laboratory Safety Plan). EH&S is available for consultation on the development of individual Laboratory Safety Plans. PI/Laboratory Supervisors may assign the aforementioned duties to individual lab members for assistance. Refer to the Assignment of Laboratory Safety Tasksdocument.

B. Duties of All Laboratory Personnel

The responsibilities of laboratory personnel who work with hazardous chemicals in research laboratories are enumerated below with links that provide additional information on fulfilling those responsibilities:

  1. Following the CHP and any individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  2. Following oral and written laboratory safety rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures required for the tasks assigned.
  3. Keeping the work areas safe and uncluttered.
  4. Reviewing and understanding the hazards of materials and processes in their laboratory research prior to conducting work.
  5. Utilizing appropriate measures to control identified hazards, including consistent and proper use of engineering controlspersonal protective equipment, and administrative controls.
  6. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of personal protective equipment issued to them.
  7. Gaining prior approval from the PI/Laboratory Supervisor for the use of Restricted Chemicals.
  8. Consulting with PI/Laboratory Supervisors before using certain higher risk chemicals, such as Particularly Hazardous Substances or highly reactive chemicals, or conducting certain higher risk experimental procedures. The risk level of experimental procedures can be evaluated using the SU Laboratory Risk Assessment Tool. Procedures with “high” and “unacceptable” risk ratings may not proceed without consultation with the PI/Laboratory Supervisor and/or EH&S.
  9. Promptly reporting accidents and unsafe conditions to the PI/Laboratory Supervisor.
  10. Completing all required health, safety and environmental training.
  11. Participating in the medical surveillance program, when required.
  12. Informing the PI/Laboratory Supervisor of any work modifications ordered by a physician as a result of medical surveillance, an occupational injury or exposure.

C. Added Duties of Laboratory Personnel Working Autonomously

In addition to the above responsibilities, laboratory personnel working autonomously or performing independent research are also responsible for:

  1. Providing the PI/Laboratory Supervisor with a written scope of work for their proposed research.
  2. Notifying and consulting with the PI/Laboratory Supervisor, in advance, if they intend to deviate from their written scope or scale of work.
  3. Preparing SOPs and/or Risk Assessments and performing literature searches relevant to safety and health that are appropriate for their work.
  4. Providing appropriate oversight, training and safety information to laboratory personnel they supervise or direct.

D. Duties of Environmental Health and Safety and CHO

Stanford’s Laboratory Safety Program (LSP), which includes the University Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO), is responsible for administering and overseeing institutional implementation of this Plan. The OH&S Group provides technical guidance to personnel at all levels of responsibility on matters pertaining to laboratory use of hazardous chemicals. Specifically, the CHO is responsible for:

  1. Assisting PI/Laboratory Supervisors in the selection of appropriate safety control requirements, which include laboratory practices, personal protective equipment, engineering controls, and training.
  2. Performing hazards assessments, upon request.
  3. Maintaining area and personal exposure-monitoring records.
  4. Reviewing and providing advice on Laboratory SOPs and Risk Assessments, upon request.
  5. Providing technical consultation and investigation, as appropriate, for laboratory accidents and injuries.
  6. Helping to determine medical surveillance requirements for laboratory personnel.
  7. Coordinating with Stanford University’s Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) when laboratory personnel request to review their medical records.
  8. Reviewing plans for installation of engineering controls and new laboratory construction/renovation, as requested.
  9. Reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually and updating it as appropriate.

Other units within EH&S support the CHP by providing management, oversight, or assistance in chemical compliance, hazardous waste management, chemical inventory, and hazardous materials spill/release response.

2General Classes of Hazardous Chemicals

2.1Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Flammable and combustible liquids are classified according to their flash point, with flammable liquids having a flash point of less than 199.4°F (93° C) and combustible liquids having a flash point above 199.4°F (93°C). Both flammable and combustible liquids are considered fire hazards.

See the General Use SOP for Flammable and Combustible Liquids.

2.2Corrosive Materials

Corrosive materials cause irreversible destruction of living tissue through chemical action at the site of contact. As corrosive chemicals can be liquids, solids, or gases, corrosive effects can affect the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Examples of corrosive chemicals include sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, and phenol.

See the General Use SOP for Corrosive Materials.

2.3Highly Reactive and Unstable Materials

Highly reactive and unstable materials are those that have the potential to vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense, or become self-reactive under conditions of shock, pressure, temperature, light, or contact with another material. Examples of such substances are explosives, peroxides, water-reactives, self-reactives, and pyrophorics.

See the General Use SOP for Highly Reactive and Unstable Materials.

2.4Compressed Gases, Cryogenic Liquids, and Toxic Gases

Compressed gases and cryogenic liquids are similar in that they can create pressure hazards and can also create health hazardous and/or flammable atmospheres. One special property of compressed gases and cryogenic liquids is that they undergo substantial volume expansion when released to air, potentially depleting workplace oxygen content to hazardous levels.

Toxic gases pose additional potential acute health hazards to laboratory personnel and the public, and as such, are considered Stanford University “Restricted Chemicals” that require prior approval by the PI/Laboratory Supervisor. The Santa Clara County Toxic Gas Ordinance regulates the use, handling, distribution and dispensing of toxic gases. In addition, it contains specific provisions mandating facility permitting, engineering controls, protective equipment, storage requirements, emergency response plans, warning systems and employee training based on the type and quantity of toxic gas used. As usage of toxic gases may require special permits, contact EH&S for further guidance. For specific requirements on toxic gases, refer to the Toxic Gas subtopic.

2.5Cal/OSHA “Particularly Hazardous Substances”

Select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and chemicals with a high degree of acute toxicity are considered to be high-risk materials and are treated by Cal/OSHA as Particularly Hazardous Substances. Additional provisions for working with Particularly Hazardous Substances are described in Section 3.4.

A. Select Carcinogens

Carcinogens are chemicals or physical agents that cause cancer or tumor development, typically after repeated or chronic exposure. Their effects may only become evident after a long latency period and may cause no immediate harmful effects.

See the glossary for the Cal/OSHA definition of a Select Carcinogen.

See the General Use SOP for Carcinogens.

B. Reproductive Toxins

A chemical which affects reproductive capabilities. Possible effects include chromosomal damage (mutations), effects on fetuses (teratogenesis), adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as adverse effects on the development of the offspring. Many reproductive toxins cause damage after repeated low-level exposures. Effects become evident after long latency periods.

See the General Use SOP for Reproductive Toxins.

C. Highly Acutely Toxic Substances

Categorized based on their LC50 or LD50 values, substances with a high degree of acute toxicityhave the ability to cause adverse effects after a single exposure/dose or multiple exposures/doses within a 24 hour period. Many of these chemicals may also be characterized as toxic gases, Select Agent Toxins, corrosives, irritants, or sensitizers.

See the General Use SOP for Highly Toxic Chemicals.


A sensitizer is a substance that can cause exposed people to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the substance. Examples of sensitizers used in laboratories include formaldehyde, many phenol derivatives, and latex proteins (commonly found in latex lab gloves).

See the General Use SOP for Sensitizers.


Irritants are substances that cause reversible effects (e.g., swelling or inflammation) on skin or eyes at the site of contact. A wide variety of organic and inorganic compounds are irritants; thus, skin and eye contact with all laboratory chemicals should be avoided.

See the General Use SOP for Irritants.

2.8Restricted Chemicals

If not properly considered, managed, and overseen, the use of certain chemicals can result in conditions of higher risk for laboratory personnel and to facilities. The approval of the PI or Laboratory Supervisor is required when certain Restricted Chemicals that carry a higher risk due to their inherent hazardous properties are used in Stanford laboratories. Laboratory personnel may not use Restricted Chemicals in any Stanford laboratory without obtaining the prior written approval of the PI or his/her delegate. See Section 5.0 for more information.


A nanoparticle is collection of tens to thousands of atoms approximately 1 to 100 nanometers in diameter. Nanoparticles that are naturally occurring (e.g., volcanic ash, forest fires) or are the incidental byproducts of combustion processes (e.g., welding, diesel engines) are usually physically and chemically heterogeneous and often termed ultrafine particles. Engineered nanoparticles are intentionally produced and designed with very specific properties related to shape, size, surface properties and chemistry. These properties are reflected in aerosols, colloids, or powders containing these nanomaterials. Engineered nanoparticles may be bought via commercial vendors or generated via experimental procedures by researchers in the laboratory. Examples of engineered nanomaterials include: carbon buckyballs or fullerenes; carbon nanotubes; metal oxide nanoparticles (e.g., titanium dioxide); and quantum dots, among many others.

The health effects of exposure to nanomaterials are not fully understood at this time. Until more definitive findings are made regarding the potential health risks of handling nanomaterials, researchers planning to work with nanomaterials must implement a combination of engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposures to themselves and others.

For more information, see the Nanomaterials subtopic.

2.10Select Agent Toxins

Select Agent Toxins are certain toxins of biological origin which are to subject to stringent regulatory requirements under 42 CFR 73 for their potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal, or plant health, or to animal or plant products. These toxins, along with specified biological agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi), fall under the oversight of the National Select Agents Registry (NSAR) Program which requires registration for possession, use, and transfer of the listed Select Agents. However, possession of small amounts of Select Agent Toxins as described below is exempt from registration with the NSAR Program. See the Select Agent Toxins subtopic for more information.

A. Possession of Permissible Amounts of Select Agent Toxins

The following Select Agent Toxins are not regulated if the amount under the control of a principal investigator does not exceed, at any time, the amounts indicated in the table below.

Select Agent Toxins / HHS Toxins [§73.3(d)(3)] Amount
Abrin 1,000 mg
Botulinum neurotoxins* (see note below) 1 mg
Short, paralytic alpha conotoxins 100 mg
Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS) 10,000 mg
Ricin 1,000 mg
Saxitoxin 500 mg
Staphylococcal Enterotoxins (Subtypes A, B, C, D, and E) 100 mg
T-2 toxin 10,000 mg
Tetrodotoxin 500 mg

Botulinum neurotoxin use in a research setting is also regulated by Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern Oversight Policy. Please see the Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern for more information.

Additionally, the following Select Agent Toxins are excluded:

  • Any Select Agent Toxin that is in its naturally occurring environment provided it has not been intentionally introduced, cultivated, collected, or otherwise extracted from its natural source.
  • Nonfunctional Select Agent Toxins as defined by the Federal Select Agent Program.

Use of these Select Agent Toxins in permissible amounts requires strict adherence to Stanford University’s requirements that address critical safety and compliance information including safe use, storage/security, and inventory management.

B. Possession of Select Agent Toxins Above Permissible Amounts

Possession of Select Agent Toxins in amounts above permissible amounts requires prior approval from the Vice Provost and Dean of Research and registration with the National Select Agent Registry Program. Also note, that effective 12/4/12, botulinum neurotoxins are categorized at Tier 1 agents which trigger additional regulatory requirements.

Failure to register with the NSAR Program is potentially punishable by up to five years in prison and/or large monetary fines. (Public Health Security & Preparedness Response Act of 2002, Section 231(c), 18 USC 175(b), & Public Law (USA Patriot Act) 107-56 Sec. 817).

Contact EH&S for assistance at (650) 723-0448.

2.11Newly Synthesized Chemicals

Some laboratories synthesize or develop new chemical substances during the course of their research. For the safe handling and management of a newly synthesized chemical, the researcher must label the substance with the IUPAC name or a clearly identifiable lab-designated name; a chemical structure may be included as well. Also, label the substance with the material’s hazardous properties (e.g., toxic, reactive, flammable, corrosive), determined to the best of the researcher’s ability. If the composition of a new chemical substance or mixture is unknown, it must be assumed to be hazardous.

If the lab transfers newly synthesized chemicals to another user outside of the university or if any adverse health or environmental effects are observed by laboratory personnel working with newly synthesized chemicals, contact EH&S at 723-0448 for assistance.

3Minimizing Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals

3.1Engineering Controls

As general lab ventilation cannot be relied upon to protect personnel from localized exposures to hazardous levels of airborne chemicals, engineering controls such as laboratory fume hoods, glove boxes, and other local exhaust systems (e.g., drop down flexible ducts) are often necessary to provide additional exposure control. In general, laboratory fume hoods are recommended whenever using hazardous chemicals that:

  • Have a high degree of acute toxicity, are carcinogens, or are reproductive toxins, except where there is very low risk of exposure (e.g., use of minimal quantities in a closed system)
  • Have a permissible exposure limit of less than 50 ppm (or 0.25 mg/m3 for particulate matter)
  • Are appreciably volatile (e.g., solvents) or are easily dispersible in air (e.g., dust)

See the Fume Hood Use SOP for information on safe use of fume hoods.

A. Performance Verification of Engineering Controls and Safety Equipment

To assure that primary engineering controls and safety equipment provide proper and adequate performance, the University provides performance verification checks on a routine basis as identified in the Performance Verification of Engineering Controls and Safety Equipment table.

3.2Administrative Controls

Administrative controls for minimizing exposures to hazardous chemicals include:

  • Substituting in less hazardous chemicals (e.g., using proprietary detergents instead of chromic acid for cleaning glassware; or, using toluene instead of benzene for liquid-liquid extraction or chromatography).
  • Isolating or enclosing an experiment within a closed system (e.g., glove box, sealed chamber).
  • Micro-scaling the size of the experiment to reduce the amount of chemical usage.
  • Scale up reactions in small steps and evaluate safety issues after each step to fully understand the reactive properties of the reactants and solvents, which may not have been evident at a smaller scale.

3.3Personal Protective Equipment

In addition to both engineering and administrative exposure controls, personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary to ensure an adequate margin of safety in case of incidental/accidental chemical release or contact. See the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) subtopic which contains information on:

3.4Additional Provisions for Work Involving Particularly Hazardous Substances

Additional provisions for laboratory work with Particularly Hazardous Substances include:

  1. Establishment of a designated area.
  2. Use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes.
  3. Procedures for safe removal of contaminated waste.
  4. Decontamination procedures.

These provisions are further described in the Standard Operating Procedures for Carcinogens, Highly Toxic Chemicals, and Reproductive Hazards.

4Standard Operating Procedures

5Prior Approval and Special Precautions

5.1Restricted Chemicals Requiring Prior Approval

Laboratory personnel shall seek and the PI / Laboratory Supervisor (or his/her delegate) must provide prior approval of any chemical usage involving the following Restricted Chemicals:

  • Toxic gases regulated by Santa Clara County (e.g., Diazomethane, Hydrogencyanide, Hydrogen fluoride (anhydrous), Nickel carbonyl)
  • Dimethylmercury

5.2Methods for Granting Prior Approval

The following options are available for PI / Laboratory Supervisors to grant prior approval:

  1. PI / Laboratory Supervisor completes the form Documenting SOP Review and PI Approval.
  2. PI / Laboratory Supervisor signs and dates the laboratory personnel’s laboratory notebook and indicates approval for the process, procedure or activity.
  3. PI / Laboratory Supervisor signs and dates the Risk Rating section of the completed Laboratory Risk Assessment tool, or
  4. PI / Laboratory Supervisor provides other written approval, e.g. via e-mail or memo.

Such records of prior approval must be retained for at least one year.

5.3Special Precautions for Other Higher Hazard Chemicals and Operations

A. Laboratory personnel should consult with PI / Laboratory Supervisors on the following higher-risk chemical usage and operations in their laboratories, so that special safety precautions can be taken where appropriate:

  1. Work involving Particularly Hazardous Substances or highly reactive materials.
  2. A procedural change that significantly increases the overall hazard of an existing procedure, such as introduction of a high hazard chemical in a procedure, or scale-up of an experimental procedure or operation. Careful consideration of scaled-up work is critical to plan for the effects caused by an increase in chemical concentration/quantity and differences in dissolution rate and heat transfer.
  3. Unattended operations that represent significant likelihood of fire, explosion, or exposure to personnel if a malfunction were to occur (such as a utility outage, runaway reaction, broken container, or chemical spill).
  4. Working alone in the laboratory.
    • Each case should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if working alone will be permitted, considering:
      • Task and hazards involved in the work.
      • Consequences resulting from a worst-case scenario.
      • The possibility of an accident or incident that would prevent the laboratory personnel from calling for help.
      • The laboratory personnel’s training and experience.
      • The laboratory personnel’s physical conditions or handicaps [consult with local Human Resources Officer for guidance and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)].
      • Time the work is to be conducted (during normal business hours, e.g., 7 am – 8 pm Monday through Friday) versus at night or on weekends/holidays.

B. In establishing special precautions for Particularly Hazardous Substances, consideration shall be given to the following, where appropriate:

  1. Establishment of a designated area
  2. Use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes
  3. Procedures for safe removal of contaminated waste
  4. Decontamination procedures

6Chemical Exposure Assessment

6.1Personal Exposure Monitoring

A. When

Personal monitoring is conducted by EH&S if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for a substance exceeds the action level (or in the absence of an action level, the permissible exposure limit). Examples where personal monitoring may be conducted include: (1) volatile chemicals are not used in a fume hood and/or (2) personnel develop signs or symptoms associated with possible hazardous chemical exposure.

B. Frequency

The initiation, frequency, and termination of personal monitoring are done in accordance with the relevant regulation.

C. Communication of Results / Recordkeeping

Monitoring results are provided to laboratory personnel per the time requirements of the relevant regulation or within 15 days of EH&S’s receipt of monitoring results. EH&S maintains copies of exposure monitoring per the regulatory requirement.

7Chemical Labeling, Storage, and Inventory

7.1Labeling and Storage

A. All Hazardous Chemicals

Hazardous chemicals must be stored and labeled properly.

B. Select Agent Toxins

In addition to the requirements detailed above for Select Agent Toxins (in permissible amounts), the laboratory must provide one additional layer of physical security (i.e., Select Agent Toxin secured within locked freezer, or secured within a permanently fixed lock box) per the Requirements for Possession of Permissible Amounts of Select Agent Toxins at Stanford University.

C. Controlled Substances

In addition to the requirements detailed in Section A above, Controlled Substances must be stored in a securely locked, substantially constructed cabinet, located where access is limited to those individuals with controlled substances authorization. Refer to the Controlled Substances & Precursor Chemicals subtopic for additional information.

7.2Chemical Inventory

A. All Hazardous Chemicals

A chemical inventory must be maintained for all chemicals stored in the laboratory as required by the California Health and Safety Code – Sec. 25506. This is done via the web-based ChemTracker 4 application. Each laboratory must update their chemical inventory at a minimum of every 12 months.

Additional benefits for maintaining an up-to-date inventory include:

  • Ability to identify unneeded materials that can be culled from laboratory storage, reducing overall chemical laboratory risks.
  • Can better rely on the inventory to find needed materials, possibly avoiding unnecessary redundant purchases.
  • Reduce compliance risks pertaining to the County’s hazardous materials storage and reporting requirements.
  • Aid in identification of the relative hazards of the chemicals in the inventory.

B. Select Agent Toxins

PI/Laboratory Supervisors working with Select Agent Toxins must ensure that permissible amounts are not exceeded by promptly updating Chemtracker 4 after every container of Select Agent Toxin is acquired, depleted, or inactivated. For more information, refer to the Requirements for Possession of Permissible Amounts of Select Agent Toxins at Stanford University.

C. Controlled Substances

PI/Laboratory Supervisors enrolled under the institutional DEA Controlled Substance Program must also maintain a continuous usage log using SU’s Controlled Substance Usage Log.

8Laboratory Inspections

8.1Laboratory Self-Inspection Requirements

Laboratories must be self-inspected as indicated per the guidance provided in the Lab Inspections table. Completed self-inspection checklists and the actions taken to correct identified unsafe conditions must be maintained by the PI/Laboratory Supervisor or their designee for the length of time specified for each type of inspection.

8.2EH&S Laboratory Quality Assurance Visits

Using a risk-based approach, EH&S conducts visits of laboratories to assist labs in assessing their implementation and compliance with core health and safety issues, including but not limited to: storage, use, and disposal of higher hazard chemicals; correct management of controlled substances; and select agent toxins.

9Hazardous Waste Management

10Chemical Hazard Information and Training

10.1Hazard Information

PI / Laboratory Supervisors must inform laboratory personnel of the location and availability of the following information:

A. Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.” California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5191.

Cal/OSHA is a governmental agency that protects worker health and safety in the State of California. This regulation was promulgated to protect laboratory personnel engaged in the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals. [NOTE: Custodial and maintenance staff who service the laboratory fall under Cal/OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5194.]

B. Stanford University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan.

The above-referenced Cal/OSHA regulation requires employers to have a written Chemical Hygiene Plan. This Plan fulfills this regulatory requirement and is a resource for planning experiments and laboratory operations.

C. “Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for Chemical Contaminants”, California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5155.

Cal/OSHA establishes regulatory exposure limits for many airborne contaminants; the actual values are in Table AC-1. If a PEL has not been established for a specific contaminant, contact EH&S for guidance.

D. Reference materials on the hazards, signs & symptoms of exposure, safe handling, and storage & disposal of hazardous chemicals at the various website links:

10.2Work Directed by PI / Laboratory Supervisor

For work directed by a PI / Laboratory Supervisor, PI / Laboratory Supervisors must provide laboratory personnel with information and training at the time of initial assignment to the laboratory, and prior to assignments involving new exposure situations, work with Particularly Hazardous Substances, or other hazardous operations.

A. Types of Training

Laboratory personnel must receive general and laboratory-specific training as follows:

1. General Training

PI / Laboratory Supervisors must provide laboratory personnel with orientation to and training on the CHP. This is accomplished via the following training, which laboratory personnel must take (available on-line or in class):

  • General Safety & Emergency Preparedness (EHS-4200)
  • Chemical Safety for Laboratories (EHS-1900)

Laboratory personnel must take other trainings, as appropriate. For example:

  • Computer Workstation Ergonomics (EHS-3400)
  • Compressed Gas Safety (EHS-2200)
  • Laboratory Ergonomics (call EH&S at 723-0448)

For online classes, register in STARS via the Axess Portal at using the training tab. For live classes, call (650) 723-0448.

2. Laboratory-Specific Training

Laboratory-specific training is to be provided by the PI / Laboratory Supervisor or his/her designee, addressing the specific chemical hazards present and emergency procedures specific to the laboratory. Also, any lab-owned equipment may require specialized training to prevent equipment damage. This can be achieved via a combination of the following:

  • Review of any individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  • Review of local/building safety information.
  • Review of Standard Operating Procedure(s) involving hazardous chemicals.
  • Other laboratory-specific training on particular safety procedures or hazards encountered in the laboratory environment.

A template for creating a lab-specific training program can be found in the document Laboratory Specific Training.

B. Recordkeeping of Safety Training

All health and safety training records are to be maintained by the PI / Laboratory Supervisor or designee for at least one year.

10.3Work Conducted Autonomously or Independently

  • PI / Laboratory Supervisors shall provide access to the CHP and any individual Laboratory Safety Plan, if one is developed, to persons working autonomously or performing independent research before they undertake work in Stanford University laboratories.
  • Persons working autonomously are responsible for ensuring that they have any other training that is appropriate to the work they conduct in Stanford University laboratories and shall fulfill all the responsibilities set forth in Sections 1.4.B and 1.4.C, including providing appropriate oversight, training, and safety information to any laboratory personnel they supervise or direct.

11Emergency Response - Spills and Exposures

11.1Stanford University Life Safety Boxes

A. Life Safety Boxes, located outside of each laboratory, provide lab-specific chemical hazard information to emergency response personnel.

B. Hazard labels on the front of the Life Safety Boxes represent the different types of hazards that may be present within the lab.

C. Information in the Life Safety Boxes include:

  1. Cover page with hazard symbols representing the different types of hazards within the lab (provided annually by EH&S).
  2. SU’s emergency contact form (or SOM emergency contact form for the School of Medicine, provided and updated annually by lab).
  3. Chemical storage map (provided and updated annually by the lab).
  4. The lab’s chemical inventory list is available online via ChemTracker 4.

11.2Types of Emergency Scenarios

In the laboratory, chemical-related accidents require local emergency response that may involve requesting for assistance, local clean up, and incident reporting/follow-up.

For guidance on proper response to various emergencies, review documents below:

Health Threatening Emergencies – fire, explosion, serious injury/exposure

In the event of an imminent or actual health-threatening emergency (threatening local or public health, safety, or welfare; or the environment outside the immediate area):

  1. CALL 9-911 (286 in School of Medicine) for the Fire Department.
  2. Alert people in the vicinity, activate local alarm systems.
  3. Evacuate the area.
  5. Once personal safety is established, call EH&S at 725-9999 (or in the School of Medicine, x286) and proceed with local notifications, below.

If Personnel Exposed:

  1. Remove exposed/contaminated individual(s) from area, unless unsafe to do so because of (a) medical condition of victim(s), or (b) potential hazard to rescuer(s).
  2. In all instances, immediately notify SU Emergency 9-911 if immediate medical attention is required. At the School of Medicine, call 286.
  3. Notify EH&S to report the potential exposure by calling 5-9999 (or in the School of Medicine, x286).
  4. Administer First Aid as appropriate.
  5. Flush contamination from eyes/skin using the nearest emergency eyewash /shower for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove any contaminated clothing.
  6. Take copy of SDS(s) of chemical(s) to hospital with victim.


Non-health Threatening Emergencies – no health threats, but spill is too large to be cleaned up by lab personnel

In the event of a spill or release, which may or has impacted the environment (storm drain, soil, air outside the building), or spill or release that cannot be cleaned up by local personnel:

  1. Notify Stanford Responders: Call 725-9999 (286 in the School of Medicine) (24 hours/day, 7 days/week).
  2. Provide local notifications to your supervisor.


Small Spills – cleaned up by lab personnel

In the event of a minor spill or release that can be cleaned up by local personnel using readily available equipment (absorbent, available from EH&S in Small Spill Kit):

  1. Notify personnel in the area and restrict access. Eliminate all sources of ignition.
  2. Review the SDS for the spilled material, or use your knowledge of the hazards of the material to determine the appropriate level of protection.
  3. Wear gloves and protective eyewear. Clean up using absorbent. Put the contaminated absorbent in a labeled hazardous waste container.
  4. If greater than 30 ml, or if it will take longer than 15 minutes for you to clean-up, immediately call EH&S at 725-9999 (or in the School of Medicine, x286) to report the spill, and notify your supervisor.
  5. Submit on-line waste pickup request to EH&S.


11.3Incident Reporting

Laboratory personnel are to report all occupational injuries or illnesses to laboratory supervisor as soon as practical. The Principal Investigator / Laboratory Supervisor and laboratory personnel must submit the required paperwork to Risk Management. Laboratory personnel are encouraged to report “near-misses” as they are considered a precursor to more serious incidents.


The Principal Investigator / Laboratory Supervisor is to conduct (or coordinate) an investigation of all incidents and “near misses.” The goal of the investigation is to identify and address any deficiencies that may have contributed to the incident.

12Medical Consultation, Examination and Surveillance

12.1When Provided

Employee laboratory personnel who work with hazardous chemicals will be provided the opportunity to receive medical attention/consultation when:

  • Symptoms or signs of exposure to a hazardous chemical develop.
  • Exposure monitoring reveals an overexposure.
  • A spill, leak, explosion, or other occurrence results in a hazardous exposure (potential overexposure).
  • A regulatory standard triggers medical surveillance. Refer to Medical Surveillance for more information on these requirements.

12.2Health Care Providers

Medical examinations will be conducted by licensed providers and will be provided at a reasonable time and place at no cost. Medical consultations and examinations for employees are provided via the Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).

SUOHC will document and provide as appropriate the following:

  • Examination and test results.
  • Any medical condition that may place employee at increased risk from work place hazardous chemicals.
  • Statement that employee has been informed of the results.
  • The written report shall not reveal any specific findings of diagnoses unrelated to occupational exposure.

Employees are responsible for informing the PI / Laboratory Supervisor of any work modifications ordered by the clinician as a result of exposure.

12.3Information Provided to Physician

EH&S’s Industrial Hygienist will provide the following information to the physician:

  • Identity of hazardous chemicals.
  • Conditions of exposure, including exposure data, if available.
  • Signs and symptoms of exposure.

12.4Recordkeeping of Medical Records / Access to Medical Records

Medical records will be maintained by the SUOHC for the duration of the employee’s employment plus 30 years. Employees must have access to medical records within 15 days of request to EH&S, per Cal/OSHA 8 CCR 3204, Access to Employee Records.

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