New Developments in 29 CFR 1910 - Lab Standards
Written by Jack Rubinger
When people ask me to write about OSHA standards, I don’t usually get too thrilled. After all, there are thousands of codes and standards and they’re usually described in the most clinical, sanitary manner. But I’m always looking for the human element and how these standards really protect us. Along the way, I’ve talked to several consultants. Linda Stroud from Science Safety Consulting was extremely responsive and helpful. Linda alerted me to 29 CFR 1910.1450 Lab Standard.
“As a result of all the lab incidents, the Chemical Safety Board is working with scientists to ensure lab standards are being followed. The ACS Division of Chemical Safety has established a committee to develop criteria for safety in laboratories. Required training is not being done in universities, and safety training is not being provided for students. Even though students are not covered by OSHA -- only employees -- failure to provide safety training for students can lead to indictment by district attorneys (as in the Uni-CA Berkeley case) when students/research assistants are hurt or killed,” she said.
And while most are aware that proper personal protection equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses should always be worn, visually communicating the dangers of chemicals is critical. Why? Because new chemicals are always being introduced into the laboratory setting, because we’re all human and spills are inevitable and because disposing dangerous chemicals requires adherence to a strict set of rules from state or regional EPA offices.
Let’s face it, medical and laboratory environments are harsh.
The School Chemistry Guide published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that, “No unlabeled substance should be present in the laboratory at any time. Use labels with good adhesive. Replace damaged and/or semi-attached labels. Verify that the label contains the chemical name, name of manufacturer and necessary handling and hazard information. Some states also require the NFPA code listed on the label.”
Pretty much any lab can benefit from using a thermal transfer printer to design and quickly print commonly used labels and signs for autoclave, biohazard and chemical-slide applications. Unlike paper labels, thermal transfer inks deliver long-lasting legibility where paper labels won’t survive such as test tubes, cables and refrigerated areas.
Closely related to 29 CFR Lab Standards is 29 CFR Hazard Communications -- when the U.S. adopts the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). When GHS is a “go,” then laboratory workers and others will likely receive more training on labeling and other safety topics.
Stay tuned for more “hot” 29 CFR topics.