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Safety Moment Collection of the Joint Safety Team at the University of Minnesota, Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science.
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Safe Working Habits
Standard Operating Procedures Why are they needed? Where can find examples?
What is an SOP? SOPs are documented instructions used to standardize a method and communicate hazards Write SOPs for procedures, pieces of equipment, and specific chemicals (or chemical classes). SOPs contain: UMN, DEHS. Chemical SOP Common Questions 6 Procedure 1 Hazards 2 Control 3 Training Documentation 4
Why do we need SOPs? Consistency in training Safety standards – Communicate hazards, protect people, equipment, and environment Liability UMN, DEHS. Chemical SOP Common Questions Los Angeles Times Satisfy requirements – OSHA, lab-specific training Valuable skill for employment
Where can I find SOPs? In chemistry, an SOP binder is located in Smith 139. – Not publicly posted on the web for chemical security – Can be viewed by anyone in the department Sharing SOPs is okay – Ask the PI and LSO for permission to adapt their SOP Resources See DEHS handout “Resources for writing Chemical SOPs Fact Sheet” – Prudent Practices, LCSS – UC Center for Lab Safety https://cls.ucla.edu/resources/sop-library https://cls.ucla.edu/resources/sop-library – UCI Hazardous Procedures SOPs – Chem Depart Chemical Hygiene Plan UMN, DEHS. Resources for writing chemical SOPs fact sheet 8
Before Working in the Lab Things to know before starting to work in a lab
Be able to locate: Emergency exits Eyewash and shower Fire extinguisher Fire alarm Chemical spill kit First aid kit Emergency telephone numbers Know: Hazards present Required PPE Required Training Before Working in the Lab
Limiting Chemical Exposure Sign and Symptoms Reducing Exposure
Chemical Exposure Factors – Toxicity extent to which a substance is poisonous – Dosage amount of chemical exposure – Duration amount of time exposed to chemical (acute vs. chronic) Fox, Stephen; Wilson, James. “Signs and symptoms of chemical exposure” Presentation. Exposure Sites Ingestion Inhalation Topical/ Absorption (skin and eyes) Injection
Chemical Exposure: Signs and Symptoms 13 Fox, Stephen; Wilson, James. “Signs and symptoms of chemical exposure” Presentation. Irritation and itching Skin Burning rashes, hives, redness Irritation and inflammation, Cough Respiratory Burning, sore, congested, painful sinuses/throat, lungs Pain, difficulty with normal tasks CNS Headache/ migraine, dizziness, lightheaded, difficulty concentrating, weakness, impaired balance, numbness Burning, irritated Eyes Red eyes, dilated pupils Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain GI Irritation/burning in stomach or esophagus
Reducing Chemical Exposure Strategies to Limit Exposure: Substitute a less hazardous chemical when possible PPE (gloves, eye protection, lab coats) Work in fume hoods or glovebox Don’t eat, drink, or chew gum in the lab – Don’t store food or beverage containers near chemicals Be careful when handling needles Don’t wear gloves/lab coats outside of the lab Wash lab clothing separately from personal clothing “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” ―Paracelsus, Roman physician and “the father of toxicology” 14 Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards (2011), Section 2.C.3 and 6.C.2 Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST)BCST
Extra Clothing Keep a spare change of clothes in office …just in case you need them. At a minimum: T-shirt, jeans, socks. Why? You will be more likely remove contaminated clothing and not wear hazardous waste. If you have a major spill that requires a shower, you can go home in your own clothes. Fox, Stephen; Wilson, James. “Signs and symptoms of chemical exposure” Presentation.
Universal Labeling System Listing Hazards
Universal Labeling System Purpose: Comply with regulatory agency guidelines Quickly alert emergency responders or visitors to hazards Prevent unknown chemicals, especially with high turnover DEHS requirements and prudent practices: – Generator name – Date made – Chemical name – Hazards What information do you currently place on labels?
Short Term Plan Goal: Quick hazard identification Place sticker on any large container – Hood – Fridge – Chemical bin – Cabinets
Types of Containers
Long Term Plan Goal: Hazard identification for every sample Use 1-3 letter code for hazard on every sample not in use
Labeling Solutions Why? Example of a near-miss
Why label vials/bottles? General awareness within the lab Organization for yourself Proper waste disposal
Recent Near miss Unlabeled vial containing a strong acid was poured into an organic waste bottle Vapors were allowed to dissipate in the hood prior to recapping the waste
Housekeeping Combating clutter 24
Clutter / Housekeeping A TIDY LAB IS A SAFER LAB. University of the Sciences in Philedelphia, Laboratory Housekeeping
Housekeeping To prevent accidents: Dispose of unneeded and un-useable chemicals. Dispose of unneeded equipment, glassware, papers, etc. Find a place for all equipment glassware and chemicals, and put them in their places. Remove items blocking safety showers and eye washes. Clean dirty dishes. Resolve to tidy up your lab every week! Cleaning up the Lab: Housekeeping
Housekeeping Dept. of Chem and Materials Science & Engineering, Univ. of Arizona, Privy Press: Safety in Lab, Sept. 22, 2005 Proper Storage Procedures: Store chemicals in approved chemical storage cabinets / refrigerators. Dispose of chemicals that have not been used in > 10 years. Dispose of chemicals with compromised containers. Keep the lab clutter free. Use hoods for experiments, not storage. Keep lab benches free to avoid chemical spills. Do not store chemicals on the floor.
Lab vs. Office Good habits for keeping chemicals where they belong
Safety outside the lab 1.Do not bring lab coats or gloves into the office, hallways, elevators and other public places. 2.Disinfect tables and chairs in the office. 3.Do not carry uncovered food/beverages between the office and the lab. 4.Do not chew gum in the office and then go into the lab. 5.Labcoats should be laundered/changed frequently. 6.Wash hands before leaving the lab. DEHS Laboratory Safety Plan
Mobile Phones in the Lab In the laboratory
Phone uses: Talk Listen to music Check messages Lab timer Calculator Look up information on the internet Phone use in the lab Risks: Transferring hazardous chemicals phone face
Phone use in the lab Put the phone in a plastic bag – Touch screen works! – screen is visible – Device is not in contact with hazardous chemicals
Dangers of using cell phones in lab Cellular technology allows phones to have roles in data collection and communication. But are cell phones safe to have in the lab? Consider: 1.Cell phones have been shown to distract and endanger drivers. Can cell phones distract scientists during critical tasks as well? 2.Cell phones are known to interfere with electronics. Is it possible that cell phones can interfere with equipment being operated in the lab? 3.Cell phones carry 18 times more harmful bacteria than a toilet handle. Is it hazardous to bring phones with harmful bacteria into lab environments? 5 Potential Dangers of Using Cell Phones in the Lab. Sept Phones-in-the-Lab/
Working alone in the Lab
Working Alone in the Lab Working alone in the lab + hazardous chemicals special, greater potential hazards and risks The risk of injury is increased and so is the risk of the seriousness of the injury. Also, the injured person may not be able to contact help in the event of an accident. These are very serious problems.
Working Alone in the Lab If you must work alone : – Use the buddy system: don’t work without someone else knowing where you are and what you are working on. – Make arrangements to check on each other periodically. Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (1995), Section 5.C.10 Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (CPSMA) Be smart: Limit activity to certain hours (where people may be nearby) Limit activity with certain materials. Establish a system to contact help immediately Be familiar with the chemistry (chemicals and equipment) no new experiments!
Working Alone in the Lab Lab-Specific protocols/ consequences for Graduate students Undergraduate students Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (1995), Section 5.C.10 Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (CPSMA)
Unattended Operations Safe Overnight Procedure
Risks If proper controls in place, overnight reactions no more hazardous than during the day However, risk higher when no one around to address malfunction or prevent system alteration 39
Recommendation Hang laminated form on hood sash, near instruments – Include date, experiment duration, temp/process, hazards, contact info – Anna Sitek from DEHS working to provide template. Likely similar to: 40
Recommendation Hang laminated form on hood sash, near instruments – Include date, experiment duration, temp/process, hazards, contact info – Anna Sitek from DEHS working to provide template. Likely similar to: 41
Recommendation Hang laminated form on hood sash, near instruments – Include date, experiment duration, temp/process, hazards, contact info 42 STOP, Take 5 Pre-task Risk Assessment: 1.Stop and think through task 2.Identify hazards 3.Implement controls 4.Check that all risks addressed 5.Do task safely
Before Leaving for Vacation
Safety Precautions Stop all reactions Place products in sealed, LABELED vials and store properly Close the hood Make sure hotplates are turned off Walk through the lab and make sure all chemical and waste bottles are capped and in secondary containment 44 “Preparing for Holiday Break.” Environmental Health and Safety, Carneigie Melon University.
Before Leaving for Vacation To make your return more pleasant: Clean your hood and bench Do the dishes Make sure your lab journal and spectra binder are up to date Enjoy your break! 45
Pregnancy and Chemical Research Identifying exposure, assessing risk, and mitigating risk
Pregnancy and Chemical Research Researchers in chemical labs who are pregnant need to be aware of potential health hazards to them and their fetus Teratogens Ionizing radiation Infectious diseases 47 European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007 Kling, Jim “Alone in Lab.” Science Career Magazine 7 April 2006 When a worker becomes aware of a pregnancy, they should: Identify potential exposure to hazards Consult resources regarding those hazards Develop risk mitigation strategies
Identifying Exposure Chemical – Teratogens Biological – Infectious diseases Physical – Noise – Radiation – Extreme cold/heat – Heavy lifting – Physical fatigue (standing or sitting too long) University of Minnesota Chemical Hygiene Plan accessed 4 April European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007 Examples of Known Teratogens Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury Benzene, Toluene, Xylene Ethylene Oxide, Ethylene Glycol, Vinyl Chloride Keep in mind that exposure limits are often several orders of magnitude lower for pregnant women due to fetus sensitivity. Exposure is especially significant in the first 14 to 60 days of pregnancy.
Assessing Risk Consult at least 2-3 health sources regarding hazard – Material safety data sheets (MSDS) – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Understand amount and duration of exposure – Consider volumes, concentrations – Exposure testing is available through DEHS Kling, Jim “Alone in Lab.” Science Career Magazine 7 April 2006 MSDS for benzene
Mitigating Risk Work with someone to develop a plan to avoid exposure to hazards – Principle Investigator – Lab Safety Officer – DEHS Contact You can choose to treat all chemicals as potentially hazardous substances – Use engineering controls (hoods, shields) – Always wear proper PPE; perhaps increase frequency of glove changes, consider splash apron, etc. – When in doubt, ask Dicks, Lynn “The Top 5 Challenges for Pregnant Scientists.” Science Career Magazine 7 April 2006 Pregnant workers who declare their pregnancy have a right to request accommodation to avoid exposure to reproductive hazards
Additional Resources Science Careers magazine feature articles on Pregnancy & the Lab – 4_07/nodoi _07/nodoi European Directive on pregnant women and new mothers (law in European Union, helpful ideas for discussing risk mitigation with superiors) – https://osha.europa.eu/data/legislation/10 https://osha.europa.eu/data/legislation/10 Departmental Chemical Hygiene Plan – International Labor Organization Reproductive Health Hazards Module (includes more comprehensive teratogen list) –
The science of designing and organizing equipment such that people use the equipment safely and efficiently, with the ultimate goal of minimizing risk factors for injury caused over time. Equipment = chairs, bench tops, storage containers, instrumentation, pipettes, etc. Ergonomics Teachworth, Erin. “Ergonomics At the Dow Chemical Company.” The Dow Chemical Company. Powerpoint presentation. June 2012 DurationRepetition PostureForce
Ergonomics, General Rules Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break Running a column switch between standing and sitting Sitting at a desk typing stand up and stretch Pipetting switch hands Early detection of ergonomic injuries – If you have persistent pain (over one or two days), visit a doctor Teachworth, Erin. “Ergonomics At the Dow Chemical Company.” The Dow Chemical Company. Powerpoint presentation. June 2012
Ergonomics What specific ergonomic topics should our lab consider? (Brainstorm with group and then cover these topics in future safety moments)
Making Adjustments 57 “Ergonomics.” St Kilda Road Chiropractic. Melbourne, AU. 3. Add books or a box to adjust screen height 4. Use a foot rest, if necessary 2. Add a cushion for lower back support 1. Adjust seat height so that forearms are parallel to the ground
Lab Bench & Hood Ergonomics When standing – Wear comfortable (and safe!) shoes – Is anti-fatigue matting available? – Switch positions by propping foot up on a stool When seated – Work at a bench cut-out – Maintain proper posture – Do not over-reach 58
Lab Bench & Hood Ergonomics Avoid resting arms on hard surfaces or sharp edges Always take mini-breaks (20-30 seconds) every 20 minutes Rotate between tasks to work both efficiently and ergonomically 59
Lab Ergonomics Suggestions 1.Start with proper attire - Especially shoes! 2.Pay attention to posture - Can help avoid fatigue 3.Reduce back strain - Consider using a lab mat when standing for long periods 4.Embrace the mini break - Plan stretch breaks or change tasks when your muscles get tired to avoid strain or making mistakes 60 Central Science webpage. Accessed April 7, 2014.
Stop Work Authority
Stop Work Authority What it is: Gives personnel the authority and responsibility to require that work be stopped when a dangerous situation is observed. Levels of stop work authority: 1.Level I: Immediate correction (e.g. safety glasses). 2.Level II: Delayed correction (if a solution is not immediately apparent, the work must be suspended until solution is found). 62 From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Stop Work Authority FLOWCHART: 63 Adapted from Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility document 3330 Stop Work and Re-Start for Safety Program
Stop Work Authority Avoid confrontation: Ask questions such as “Don’t you think you should be wearing safety glasses?” or “Did you take a look at the safety protocol?” instead of confrontation. If you cannot deal with the situation by yourself, bring it to Garrett’s/Michael’s attention. Always make sure the incident is recorded in some way. 64 From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Stop Work Authority “Low” risk: 1.No lab coat 2.No gloves High risk: 1.No safety glasses 2.Safety protocol for HF hood not followed 3.Safety protocol for RTP not followed 65
Stop Work Authority RECOMMENDATIONS Put up a poster in the lab about the Stop Work Authority. Serious safety violations could be logged in the website’s database. ‘Near-miss’ situations should be treated as though they are serious offenses. 67
Discussing Safety with Coworkers
Unsafe Coworker Safety is a priority for everyone, but lapses occur – Confronting coworkers can feel uncomfortable – Remind yourself: addressing the issue as soon as possible will improve safety for you, your coworker, and the whole group – Stop Work Authority gives personnel right to stop unsafe work 69
Before Speaking Up… 1.Define the problem – Be able to articulate the unsafe action to your coworker – Speak respectfully (without anger or annoyance) 2.Evaluate Cause – Is there a reason they chose the less-safe option? – If you don’t know, ask 3.Offer safer alternative – Calling out unsafe action = good; providing an alternative = better – Offer a reference to the correct procedure 4.If unsafe behavior persists – Recruit fellow co-workers, then senior/respected co-workers, PI, DEHS (anonymous LER forms: ) 70 Loosely adapted from coworkers html
Initiating Conversation Address coworker as soon as lab work allows – Be considerate when interrupting lab work – Be in control of your emotions (avoid anger or annoyance) Use a calm, quiet, and confident voice Try asking a question about what they’re doing, rather than making a statement that what they’re doing is wrong – Ex. “What are you working on?” “Can I help you?” When in doubt, use ‘I’ statements Recruit others only if you cannot address issue on your own 71
If Conflict Occurs * Once reported to PI, matter may be out of your hands –Owe it to your reputation to handle the matter respectfully from beginning Resources for conflict resolution: 1.‘Non-confrontational Communication with Co-workers’ 2.Conflict Resolution at Work for Dummies 3.UMN Student Conflict Resolution Center 72
Wash your hands!
Hand washing Even if you are wearing gloves, WASH YOUR HANDS before leaving the laboratory and periodically while working. Prevent transfer of chemicals to other parts of the body – That penetrated through gloves – From contaminated protective clothing Safeguard against exposure to toxic chemicals or biological agents If taking break from lab work, WASH YOUR HANDS 74 Laboratory Safety. Clayton State University, Environmental Health and Safety. Accessed 8 Jan Getting a drink Eating lunch Using the restroom Going into the office Going to a different laboratory or characterization facility
Proper Hand Washing 75 Hand washing.. WashingHands.net. Accessed 8 Jan Hand-washing: Do’s and Don’ts. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 8 Jan
Peer Lab Walkthroughs 79 LSO- Lab Safety Officer Small teams of LSOs walk through labs biannually Check safety items such as: Clear lab signageCapped wasteLabeled samples
Peer Lab Walkthroughs 80 Percentage of Labs Audited Measure increase in compliance
Peer Lab Walkthroughs 81 Percentage of Labs Audited Identify areas to improveMeasure increase in compliance
Training Records Excerpts from LSO training, Jan. 2014
83 Record Keeping
What Records to Keep? –General Lab Safety Training –DEHS Annual Safety Training...these two are the bare minimum –Lab Specific Training –LSO Training …Ensure that LSO duties are clearly communicated to an incoming LSO
85 Record Keeping General Lab Safety Training (page 24)
86 Record Keeping DEHS Annual Safety Training (page 20 – 23)
Preventing Trips and Falls
Lookout for water, grease, oil, dust, soap, or debris on floor Beware tripping hazards such as extension cords, tools, carts, boxes Walk where you’re supposed to walk -no shortcuts through machine areas -don’t crowd spaces being used by other people Do not use unsteady stools or chairs when reaching shelves
Size up the load Ask for help if needed Get a good grip Keep the load close to your body Keep your balance with footwork Lift with your legs Don’t twist your body 90 eavy_lifting.pdf
DEHS Contact Anna Sitek (Englund) Phone: (612) Office W Research Safety Specialist assigned to our department, and newly-created DEHS safety contact for our entire college. She will serve as a member of our department Safety Committee and will work with the JST. Feel free to contact her with any questions!
Dow Safety Academy
Have a safety moment? Contribute it to this collection. Send safety moments to with Safety Moment in the subject line. Please put content in the provided template and cite reliable, credited sources. Thank you!