Chapter Five: Chemical & Laboratory Safety

Introduction

The PLU science building has laboratories that use over one thousand different chemicals. The Chemical Hygiene Officer and Environmental Health & Safety Manager work with departments to promote the safe use, storage, and disposal of chemicals. The Radiation Safety Officer oversees radiological safety.

Chemical Safety

Chemical safety in laboratories is addressed in The Chemical Hygiene Plan (WAC 296-62-40009), which includes the following elements in addition to laboratory-specific requirements developed by departments and faculty.

  • Labeling. Chemical containers shall be labled with the full chemical name, associated hazard, and other appropriate safety information. (WAC 296-62-40015)
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Each department shall maintain an MSDS for each currently used or stored hazardous substance. MSDS shall be readily accessible to faculty, staff, and students. If a supplier fails to provide an MSDS, get a copy from the manufacturer by calling the phone number on the container or from the manufacturer’s web site. (WAC 296-62-40015)
  • Hazard Communication/Training. (WAC 296-62-40011) Laboratory directors, chairs, and supervisors are responsible for informing and training employees and students about hazardous substances in their work areas. The Chemical Hygiene Officer works closely with Natural Sciences personnel to provide technical support.
  • Chemical Inventories. (UFC 8001) The laboratory director, chairs, and supervisor are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date inventory of the hazardous substances in each laboratory. Contact the Chemical Hygiene Office or Environmental Health & Safety Manager if you have questions.
  • Chemical Storage. All chemicals, including gases, shall be stored in accordance with local, state, and federal chemical storage regulations.
  • Inspections. The Chemical Hygiene Plan states that a departmentally appointed person shall inspect the facilities on a monthly basis and report the findings to the Chemical Hygiene Officer. The Chemical Hygiene Officer will inspect the facilities semi-annually and forward the findings to the Environmental Health & Safety Manager.

Radiation Safety

The PLU Radiation Safety Officer has the authority granted by the University’s Radioactive Materials License, issued by the State of Washington Department of Health. Anyone planning to use materials or devices that pose potential radiation hazards shall first contact the Radiation Safety Officer at x6181.

Laboratory Director Responsibilities The Laboratory Director is Responsible for:

  • Labeling hazard areas and posting appropriate hazard signs on the door. The signs shall include the name and phone number of the investigator, faculty member, or laboratory director responsible for the activities of each lab.
  • Training laboratory personnel in appropriate work practices and emergency procedures.
  • Making sure containment and control facilities are adequate for the proposed research.
  • Labeling, storing, and using hazardous agents in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and university policy.
  • Providing personal protective equipment as needed.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of hazardous agents in the laboratory and informing employees of hazards.

Contacts

Chemical Hygiene Officer
Terry Nicksic, x7558
nicksitd@plu.edu

Radiation Safety Officer
Audrey Thornburg, x6181
 (253) 538 – 6181
northal@plu.edu