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Promoting Chemical Laboratory Safety and Security in Developing Countries (2010)

Through seminars, training workshops, and other educational activities to support chemical professionals in developing countries, the program aims to foster "long-term relationships with the chemical community worldwide, hopefully resulting in better management of chemicals across the board," Cameron says. She notes that the program has engaged with 13 countries, and it plans to involve five more next year.

The workshops train participants in improving chemical safety and security best practices, laboratory management, identifying hazards in the lab, planning for emergencies, transporting chemicals safely and securely, and using smaller amounts of chemicals. Issues of lab safety and security are often neglected in the developing world.

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In the Philippines, for example, "there's very little proactive effort toward safety and security," says Patrick J. Once scientists begin to improve their lab safety practices, better lab security will follow, Cameron contends. Choudhary acknowledges that chemical security in Pakistan is a growing concern as the research infrastructure improves and more and more Ph. The State Department is partnering with Sandia National Laboratories to aid in the implementation of the program. Sandia has played a major role in helping the program make connections with chemical professionals in the developing world.

Jackson, manager of the Department of International Chemical Threat Reduction at Sandia, who is leading the national lab's efforts in the program. Most countries cite a lack of money as the biggest obstacle to improving lab safety.


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Douglas B. Walters recalls visiting a lab in a developing country and suggesting to the chemists there that they should put their flammable solvents in a metal storage cabinet rather than leave them out in the open. The Public Inspection page on FederalRegister.

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Chemistry Lab Safety

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    Acknowledgment of Reviewers

    All revisions being made are minor and non-substantive. The effective date of this technical amendment to the standard is January 22, Since then, there have been many changes in the culture of safety in laboratories.


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    This new revision addresses current laboratory practices, security, and emergency response, as well as promoting safe handling of highly toxic and explosive chemicals and their waste products. OSHA has determined that there is good cause, pursuant to 5 U.

    Its revisions are non-mandatory and disseminated for informational purposes only. For the same reasons, the Agency finds good cause under 5 U. David Michaels, Ph. The authority citation for Part Subpart Z continues to read as follows:.

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    The latter were issued under section 6 a 29 U. Section Sections However, their sense has not been changed. Section F contains information from the U. Safety and training programs have been implemented to promote the safe handling of chemicals from ordering to disposal, and to train laboratory personnel in safe practices. Laboratory personnel must realize that the welfare and safety of each individual depends on clearly defined attitudes of teamwork and personal responsibility. Learning to participate in this culture of habitual risk assessment, experiment planning, and consideration of worst-case possibilities—for oneself and one's fellow workers—is as much part of a scientific education as learning the theoretical background of experiments or the step-by-step protocols for doing them in a professional manner.

    A crucial component of chemical education for all personnel is to nurture basic attitudes and habits of prudent behavior so that safety is a valued and inseparable part of all laboratory activities throughout their career. Over the years, special techniques have been developed for handling chemicals safely. Local, state, and federal regulations hold institutions that sponsor chemical laboratories accountable for providing safe working environments. Beyond regulation, employers and scientists also hold themselves personally responsible for their own safety, the safety of their colleagues and the safety of the general public.

    A sound safety organization that is respected by all requires the participation and support of laboratory administrators, workers, and students. A successful health and safety program requires a daily commitment from everyone in the organization. To be most effective, safety and health must be balanced with, and incorporated into, laboratory processes.

    A strong safety and health culture is the result of positive workplace attitudes—from the chief executive officer to the newest hire; involvement and buy-in of all members of the workforce; mutual, meaningful, and measurable safety and health improvement goals; and policies and procedures that serve as reference tools, rather than obscure rules. In order to perform their work in a prudent manner, laboratory personnel must consider the health, physical, and environmental hazards of the chemicals they plan to use in an experiment.

    However, the ability to accurately identify and assess laboratory hazards must be taught and encouraged through training and ongoing organizational support.

    NSF Award Search: Award# - Core Support for the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

    This training must be at the core of every good health and safety program. For management to lead, personnel to assess worksite hazards, and hazards to be eliminated or controlled, everyone involved must be trained. Because few laboratory chemicals are without hazards, general precautions for handling all laboratory chemicals should be adopted. In addition to these general guidelines, specific guidelines for chemicals that are used frequently or are particularly hazardous should be adopted.

    Safety Awareness in Chemical Laboratory & Industry

    Laboratory personnel should conduct their work under conditions that minimize the risks from both known and unknown hazardous substances. Before beginning any laboratory work, the hazards and risks associated with an experiment or activity should be determined and the necessary safety precautions implemented. Every laboratory should develop facility-specific policies and procedures for the highest-risk materials and procedures used in their laboratory.

    To identify these, consideration should be given to past accidents, process conditions, chemicals used in large volumes, and particularly hazardous chemicals. Consider any special employee or laboratory conditions that could create or increase a hazard. Consult sources of safety and health information and experienced scientists to ensure that those conducting the risk assessment have sufficient expertise. Start Printed Page The evaluation should cover toxic, physical, reactive, flammable, explosive, radiation, and biological hazards, as well as any other potential hazards posed by the chemicals.

    Prepare for contingencies and be aware of the institutional procedures in the event of emergencies and accidents. One sample approach to risk assessment is to answer these five questions:. Even for substances of no known significant hazard, exposure should be minimized; when working with substances that present special hazards, special precautions should be taken. Reference should be made to the safety data sheet SDS that is provided for each chemical. Unless otherwise known, one should assume that any mixture will be more toxic than its most toxic component and that all substances of unknown toxicity are toxic.

    Determine the physical and health hazards associated with chemicals before working with them. This determination may involve consulting literature references, laboratory chemical safety summaries LCSSs , SDSs, or other reference materials. Consider how the chemicals will be processed and determine whether the changing states or forms will change the nature of the hazard. Review your plan, operating limits, chemical evaluations and detailed risk assessment with other chemists, especially those with experience with similar materials and protocols.