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Laboratory & Research Safety Russell Vernon, Ph.D. Laboratory / Research Safety & Integrated Waste Manager University of California, Riverside 951-827-5119, Agenda Research & Teaching  Synergy ( Whole greater than sum of parts)

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laboratory research safety

Laboratory & Research Safety

Russell Vernon, Ph.D.

Laboratory / Research Safety & Integrated Waste Manager

University of California, Riverside


  • Research & Teaching  Synergy (Whole greater than sum of parts)
    • Involves chemicals, infectious agents, animals, plants, people, radioactive hazards, machines, lasers, etc…
    • and People
  • Labs are different…
    • Hazard Communication & Laboratory Standard
    • Employees vs. volunteers & students
  • Field Work & Safety
    • Teaching
    • Research
  • ISEM – core functions
    • Five Steps
synergy research teaching
Synergy – Research & Teaching
  • 90 % communication
    • Why do students go to college?
      • What motivates graduate students?
    • Why are Faculty here?
      • What motivates faculty & staff?
  • 10 % information
    • Ah the hazards:
      • Health & physicals hazards
      • Chemical, Physical, Biological, Radioactive…
university mission
University Mission
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Service
  • Research, Grants & Publications
  • Teaching
  • Public Service
lab research community safety
Lab/Research Community Safety

Involves & relies on




Radiation & Bio Safety Officers

Chemical Hygiene Officer

Fire Prevention, Building Design & Maintenance, Industrial Hygienists etc.

departments involved ucr example
Air Pollution Research Center R

Anthropology TRF

Biochemistry TR

Bioengineering TR

Biology TRF

Biomedical Sciences TR

Botany & Plant Sciences TRF

Cell Biology T

Chemical Engineering T

Chemistry TR


Center for Conservation Biology RF

Cell Biology & Neurosciences TR

Earth & Planetary Sciences TRF

Electrical Engineering TR

Entomology TRF

Environmental Engineering T

Chemical & EnvironmentalEngineering TRF

Environmental ScienceTRF

Environmental ToxicologyT

Inst Geophysics Planetary PhysicsR


Mechanical Engineering TR

Nematology TRF

Neuroscience T

Plant Pathology & Microbiology TRF

Physics and Astronomy TRF

Psychology RF

Soil and Water Science TRF

Education Abroad F

Sociology F

Departments Involved(UCR Example)

T = Teaching Labs

R = Research Labs

F = Field Work

community metrics
Community Metrics

The normally the most hazardous activity

  • Throughout US and several foreign countries
  • Thousands of trips UC-wide
  • Unknown number field trips annually(at least > 200 at UCR alone)


  • Programs

Craig Maxwell

Laboratory Safety Inspections

Chemical & Laboratory Safety

Laboratory & Research Safety

Radiation Safety

Brenda Wong

Laboratory Design Safety

Biological Safety

Agricultural, Field, Marine Safety

specialized area chemical laboratory safety
Specialized areaChemical & Laboratory Safety
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Exposure Assessment
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Nanomaterial safety
  • High hazard materials safety
  • Laboratory ergonomics
  • Departmental Contacts
  • Campus Policymakers
  • Chemical safety & fire code segregation
synergy hazards are just tools
Synergy – hazards are just tools
  • Researchers select to use chemicals based upon project needs, familiarization & level of effort required
  • Chemical Hazard Types
    • Health & physical hazards (OSHA)
      • Laboratory Standard only applies to health hazards
    • Chemicals, biohazards, radioactives
      • Obvious overlap exists
health hazards chemicals
Health Hazards - Chemicals
  • “statistically significant evidence” that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees
  • carcinogens
  • toxic or highly toxic agents
  • reproductive toxins
  • irritants
  • corrosives
  • sensitizers
  • hepatotoxins
  • nephrotoxins
  • neurotoxins
  • hematopoietic damaging agents
  • anything that damages
    • lungs, skin, eyes or mucous membranes
physical hazards chemicals
Physical Hazards - Chemicals

“scientifically valid evidence” it is

  • combustible liquid
  • compressed gas
  • explosive
  • flammable
  • organic peroxide
  • oxidizer
  • pyrophoric
  • unstable (reactive)
  • water-reactive
chemical hazard classes
Chemical Hazard Classes
  • Corrosives
  • Flammables
  • Oxidizers
  • Toxins
  • Reactive Chemicals
labs are different17
Labs are Different
  • Cal/OSHA Lab Standard
    • OSHA & Cal/OSHA Lab Standard are essentially identical
  • EPA Academic Lab Rule
    • Not yet adopted by California
    • Flexibility afforded academic laboratories:
      • delay in making waste determinations, longer accumulation times, labeling simplified, encourages lab cleanouts – useful for small quantity generators
cal osha laboratory standard
Cal/OSHA Laboratory Standard
  • Occupational regulations for labs that uses chemicals is the “Laboratory Standard”
  • Requires:
    • Employer limit exposure
    • Initial and periodic exposure monitoring
    • Written Chemical Hygiene Plan
      • Capable of protecting employees from health hazards
      • Capable of keeping exposures below the limits
      • Readily available to employees
lab standard requires
Lab Standard Requires
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Criteria determine & implement controls
  • Fume hoods shall function properly
  • Employees shall be trained
  • Circumstances requiring prior approval
  • Medical consultation and examinations
  • Chemical Hygiene officer & Committee
particularly hazardous materials
Particularly Hazardous Materials
  • Special provisions required for:
    • Select carcinogens
    • Reproductive toxins
    • Highly acute toxic substances
      • Establishment of a designated area
      • Use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes
      • Procedures for safe removal of contaminated waste
      • Decontamination procedures
issues with compliance
Issues with Compliance
  • Who is responsible?
    • Who is the ‘Employer?’
      • Who is doing the work?
      • Who is the supervisor? Is there a “supervisor”?
  • Who’s going to pay?
    • Fines
    • Controls & protection (engineering through PPE)
    • Exposure monitoring (initial & periodic)
    • Written documents
    • Signs
    • Equipment
hazard controls
Hazard Controls
  • OSHA hierarchy of controls
      • Engineering controls
      • Work practices
      • Administrative controls
      • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

engineering controls
Engineering Controls
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation
    • Fume hoods
    • Snorkels
    • Down-drafttables
    • Glove boxes
    • Biosafety cabinets

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

fume hoods


Sash ….

Bypass Grill….

Fresh Air…..



Fume Hoods

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

fume hood function failure
Fume Hood Function & Failure
  • Function
    • Draw air contaminants away from operator
    • Sweep breathing zone with clean air
  • Impediments to proper operation
    • Do not use front 6 inches
    • Do not block air flow - slots

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

on line training from ucb
On-line Training from UCB

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

biological safety cabinets
Biological Safety Cabinets
  • BSCs are designed to provide both a clean work environment and protection for the user
  • BSCs use airflow to create a barrier to airborne particles, such as microorganisms
  • BSCs use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to clean air going into the work area and out to the environment

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

biosafety cabinet class iib2
BioSafety Cabinet (Class IIB2)

clean benches a k a tissue culture hoods
Clean Benches(a.k.a. Tissue culture hoods)
  • Laminar Flow toward Contamination Source (operator)
  • NO operator protection
  • Protects sample & work
  • DO NOT USE for hazardous material

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

work practices
Work Practices
  • Education
    • Hazard recognition and control methods.
  • Training
    • Proper techniques; emergency response & drills
  • Supervision - good safety performance
  • Housekeeping
  • Personal hygiene

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

administrative controls
Administrative Controls
  • Worker exposure
    • Initial placement, worker rotation for some hazards.
  • Medical
    • Surveillance and immunization.
  • Hazard Identification
    • Signs - notifications, etc.

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

personal protective equipment
Personal Protective Equipment

The Strategy of Last Resort

  • Respiratory Protection
  • Eye, Face, Hand, Foot
  • Protective Clothing
  • Hearing
  • Head Protection
  • Barrier creams

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

the failure of a glove
The Failure of a Glove

Karen Wetterhan at Dartmouth


Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

glove selection chemical compatibility
Glove SelectionChemical Compatibility

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009

safety audits inspections regulatory scope
Safety Audits& Inspections Regulatory Scope
  • Labs inspected for compliance with
    • California Fire Code
    • Cal/OSHA Lab Standard
      • Chemical Hygiene Plan
    • Hazardous, Medical and Radioactive Waste
      • Labeling, Storage & Segregation
    • Radioactive isotope use
    • Biohazardous materials use
    • Electrical Code
audit process options
Audit Process Options
  • Contact department and/or lab representative
    • Schedule audits for that dept/lab
  • Occupants present
    • Yes – can ask more – takes longer – better result
    • No – limited to physical conditions only
  • Paper or paperless process
    • Time to inspect, time to create reports
    • Consistency between auditors & inspections
    • Automating report creations, summary reports
      • $, FTE, expertise, priorities, accountability
specialized area biological safety
Specialized area Biological Safety

Human pathogens

  • BSC Certification Oversight
  • Biosafety Risk Assessments
  • Biosafety Audits
  • Bloodborne Pathogen
  • Exposure Control Plan
  • IBC (BUAs, Select Agents, rDNA)
  • Biosafety Level 3 Facilities

Public Health

  • Biological Spill Response
  • Communicable diseases

Plant & animal pathogens

Medical Research

  • Medical Waste Management Plan
  • Medical Waste Treatment Permit
  • Autoclave validation
  • Containment & labeling

Animal (vertebrates)

  • Animal Use Authorizations
  • Vivarium (Consultation, Inspection, AAALAC)
  • Insects, arthropod

Invertebrate research

  • Nematodes, Insects, arthropods
specialized area radiation safety
Specialized area Radiation Safety

Radioactive Use Authorizations

  • Inspection
  • Delivery

Radiation exposure monitoring

  • Surveys
  • Dosimetry

Radiation Producing Machines

  • Irradiator Security
  • Equipment Clearance


  • Laser Safety
    • Registration 3b & 4
  • Microwaves
  • UV
  • Strong Magnetic Fields


  • Initial
  • Refresher

Radiation Safety Committee

  • Broad scope license
  • Enforcement
laser use
Laser use
  • Class 3B & 4 Lasers are hazardous
  • Pulsed beam concentrates greater amounts of energy than continuous wave of the same average wattage.
  • “Nothing Leaves the Table”
synergy hazards are just tools42
Synergy – hazards are just tools
  • Check out the BioBrick Contest
    • MIT & UCSF
    • Using BioBrick™ standard biological parts, a synthetic biologist or biological engineer can, to some extent, program living organisms like a computer scientist can program a computer
registry of standard biological parts
Registry of Standard Biological Parts

Biosynthesis: Parts involved in the production or degradation of chemicals and metabolites are listed here

Cell-cell signaling and quorum sensing: Parts involved in intercellular signaling and quorum sensing between bacteria

Cell death: Parts involved in killing cells

Coliroid: Parts involved in taking a bacterial photograph

Conjugation: Parts involved in DNA conjugation between bacteria

Motility and chemotaxis: Parts involved in motility or chemotaxis of cells

Odor production and sensing: Parts the produce or sense odorants

DNA recombination: Parts involved in DNA recombination

travel safety plus
Travel Safety Plus…
  • Field Safety Plans
    • Transportation
      • People; Samples, Materials, Supplies, Equipment; and Hazardous Materials
    • Medical Considerations
    • Security
    • Communications
  • Activities:
    • Before, while there, when you get back
pierce s disease
Pierce's Disease
  • Bacterial infection (Xylella fastidiosa)
    • spread by bugs that feed on grapevines
      • glassy winged sharpshooter
    • Infected grapevines die
uc laboratory safety design guide
UC Laboratory Safety Design Guide
  • General Requirements for Laboratories
  • Electrical Safety
  • Laboratory Ventilation and Fume Hoods
  • Emergency Eyewash and Safety Shower Equipment
  • Pressure Vessel Components and Systems and Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Hazardous Materials Storage Cabinets
  • Biosafety Laboratories
  • Additional Requirements for Radioactive Material Laboratories
  • Additional Requirements for Laboratories with Irradiators and/or Radiation-Producing Machines
  • Additional Requirements for Laboratories Using Non-Ionizing Radiation Sources, Including Lasers
  • Ergonomics Design and Laboratory Spaces
timely issues
Timely Issues
  • U.S. Green Building Council
    • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System™ (LEED)
  • Labs 21
  • International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories
sustainable design
Sustainable design…
  • Heated and cooled air flowing takes energy
    • Laboratories have ‘single pass’, non-recirculated air to minimize
      • personnel exposure and
      • concentration of flammable vapors
  • Standard Practice a decade ago was 6 to 12 air changes per hour
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers changed guidelines
    • International Building Codes are being adopted
the challenge
The Challenge
  • Safe Labs
    • What is ‘safe’?
    • Who decides?
    • How to inform occupants?
    • How to manage change?
  • Save Energy
    • Important but not primary function
    • Fair comparison of alternatives
    • Who pays the energy bill?

Low Flow Fume Hoods

Automatic Sash Positioning

management of health safety and the environment
Management of Health, Safety and the Environment
  • achieving excellence in providing a healthy and safe working environment
  • supporting environmentally sound practices in the conduct of University activities
  • comply with all applicable health, safety, and environmental protection laws, regulations and requirements
guiding principles
Guiding Principles
  • Management Commitments and Involvement of Faculty, Staff, and Students
  • Management Responsibility for Safety and the Environment
  • Establishing Clear Roles and Responsibilities
  • Ensuring Competence Commensurate with Responsibilities
  • Balanced Priorities
guiding principles continued
Guiding Principles (continued)
  • Identification of Safety and Environmental Standards and Requirements
  • Encouraging Stakeholder Participation
  • Adapting Hazard and Operational Controls to Specific University Activities
  • Obtaining Authorization Prior to Conducting an Activity
5 steps of isem core functions
5 Steps of ISEM (Core Functions)
  • Define scope of activity
  • Identify & analyze hazards
  • Develop & implement controls
  • Perform activity within controls
  • Provide feedback & make improvements

Laboratory Safety Orientation, 2009