Laboratory Safety Policy

Purpose and Application

This policy document is provided to promote safe work practices and procedures amongst laboratory personnel when working with or near hazardous chemicals.

This document applies to any individual who works in a laboratory on the College of Saint Benedict Campus, Saint John's University Campus, or other CSB/SJU laboratories. The document is not intended to supersede lab safety procedures of other institutions that may host our activities.

Definition and Scope

“Laboratory” means a facility, using relatively small quantities of hazardous chemicals on a non-production basis. “Dry” laboratories such as computer labs are not covered by this policy.

“ Hazardous chemical” means a chemical that significant evidence indicates may cause acute or chronic health effects in exposed laboratory personnel. This includes specific OSHA- regulated substances such as methylene chloride and formaldehyde.

“Permissible Exposure Limit” (PEL) is the acceptable concentration of exposure set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Chemical Hygiene Plan” (CHP) is a written program setting forth procedures, equipment, and work practices to protect students and employees from the health hazards associated with laboratory work.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Department Safety Committee (DSC) in coordination with the institutional chemical hygiene officer is responsible for development and administration of the Chemical Hygiene Plan at the department. The DSC establishes department specific safety policies and provides a forum to discuss laboratory safety issues.

Each Laboratory faculty representative (FR) is responsible for maintaining adherence to CHP in his or her laboratory. Each laboratory plan contains standard operating procedures that apply to the activities within that laboratory. The FR is responsible for properly managing chemical waste in the laboratory.

The Department Safety Committee and the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) will inspect laboratories and provide necessary information/training to lab workers. EHS and DSC may also provide assistance and guidance for the construction of new laboratories and the renovation of existing labs.


Chemical Hygiene Plan
The CHP contains procedures for working safely with chemicals as well as guidelines for emergency situations. Each laboratory prepares the CHP custom to its respective operation and outlines the roles and responsibilities of laboratory personnel, DSC, EHS, and the FR.

Chemical Hygiene Officer
Director of EHS performs the role of institutional Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO). Each Department working with hazardous chemicals in a manor that meets the definition of a laboratory will designate a department Laboratory Safety Coordinator (LSC) to coordinate a laboratory-specific CHP and general laboratory safety activities with the DSC and EHS.

Exposure Monitoring
Lab personnel may request the LSC or EHS to monitor a laboratory for exposure if there is reason to believe that chemical exposure levels have exceeded, or are likely to exceed, the allowable regulatory level or the PEL.

DSC or LSC and EHS provide laboratory safety training/refresher annually for all laboratory employees as described in the CHP. This training covers the CHP, exposure monitoring, waste management, and emergency procedures. For refresher sessions, only changes to the CHP or concerns from the previous year activities are discussed.

DSC and EHS conduct formal laboratory inspections annually and informal inspections as needed. Inspection results and corrective actions are provided to the FR and reviewed by the entire department.

Chemical Waste
Laboratories on both campuses manage chemical waste in accordance with their departmental waste stream plan and University of Minnesota chemical day program requirements. Copies of all waste manifest and invoices are submitted to the EHS office for review and filing.

Spills and Emergencies

Laboratory personnel are responsible for knowing the hazards of the materials they work with and how to safely clean up small chemical spills. If a large spill occurs, lab workers are to follow the Emergency procedures prepared for each campus.

Key References and Resources

The documents listed below may be obtained from the Environmental Health and Safety.