What is a chemical hygiene plan?

If you work inside a Maryland laboratory then you should know that your employer is required to have what is called a laboratory safety chemical hygiene plan. There are several components the plan should contain and each is designed to keep you safe from unnecessary exposure to chemicals that can cause you harm.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that part of this plan should contain a portion for your training. This includes going over the importance of wearing protective clothing such as goggles, lab aprons and gloves; and how to handle chemicals according to the company’s policies. Additionally, your employer should teach you about the risks that each chemical poses to your health.

Aside from your training, your employer should also make sure that you know where the chemical hygiene plan is kept as well as the following information:

  • If there is no standard issued from OSHA on the chemicals you are using, your employer should inform you what the recommended limit of exposure is.
  • Where reference materials are kept in the lab, relating to chemical disposing, handling the chemicals safely, storing the chemicals and the dangers that the chemicals can cause
  • The chemical hygiene plan’s availability and location
  • The laboratory standard’s contents
  • Chemical exposure symptoms

The chemical hygiene plan also requires your employer to immediately take action to make sure that you and your co-workers receive the appropriate medical attention if exposure is suspected. This could involve situations where there is a leak, the exposure level has risen above recommended levels, or you develop any signs or symptoms that are connected to the chemical you are working with.

Finally, your employer should also choose an employee to act as a chemical hygiene officer for the laboratory. This person is responsible for making sure that the chemical plan is implemented and followed. While educational in purpose, this article should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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