The University of Texas-Pan American
Environmental Health and Safety
October 23, 2016

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Laboratory Safety Program


The mission of the University of Texas - Pan American Laboratory Safety Program is to promote safe laboratory behaviors and safe working environments. Our goal is that all persons working in lab environments leave the University without experiencing any adverse consequences from the work conducted there. Developing safe laboratory behaviors is an ongoing process that requires communication between students, professors, and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. Promoting best work practices today is a key asset for the future.

Laboratory Safety Program Documents  

Chemical Hygiene Plan – The University of Texas  Pan American Chemical Hygiene Plan addresses the general hazards of common chemicals that may be present in your laboratory, and describes work practices, procedures and controls which are in place to protect you from those hazards. Consult your supervisor, chemical hygiene officer or principal investigator regarding specific safety practices to be used in your laboratory.

Laboratory Safety Manual – Each individual is responsible for conducting activities in a manner that will not endanger him or herself; and, each must comply with the applicable requirements of State and Federal law as well as with University policies and procedures described in this manual. Mandatory safety standards apply to faculty, staff, and students engaged in laboratory operations utilizing chemical products. In view of the wide variety of chemical products handled in laboratories, it should not be assumed that the precautions and requirements stated in this manual are all-inclusive. Faculty, researchers, and students are expected to learn about the hazards of chemical products before handling them.

Personal Protective Equipment Selection Guide - Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

Training Program

“Most accidents result from unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, or both. The precursor is the mindset or attitude that sets up the chain of events that allow an accident to occur. The unsafe acts and conditions are symptoms for the most part, not the root causes.”

Hazard Communication Program
– Training is mandatory for employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals during the course of their normal employment. Training includes hazard recognition, the use of material safety data sheets (MSDS), container labeling, safe work practices and the use of engineering controls or personal protective equipment. Section
8.8.4 of the UTPA Handbook of Operating Procedures outlines the scope of the Hazard Communication Program.

Laboratory Regulations:

Laboratory Standard: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Occupational Exposure to Hazardous chemicals in Laboratories or  “OSHA Laboratory Standard” – Code of Federal Regulations, Labor, 29 Part 1910.1450

Ø The intent of the Laboratory Standard is to protect laboratory employees from harm due to chemicals. The design of the Laboratory Standard is based on recognition by OSHA, and other health and safety professionals, that laboratory work is typically different in character from industrial operations in their use and handling of chemicals. In contrast to many industrial operations, laboratory chemical work often involves a relatively large number of chemicals in relatively small scale procedures. In many labs, particularly those involved in research, the character of chemical usage can also change significantly over time to reflect evolving research conditions.

Hazard Communication: Texas Hazard Communication Act:  Texas Constitution, Health and Safety Codes    [ Chapter 502]

Ø The purpose of the Hazard Communication Act is to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals utilized or produced at the University are evaluated, and that information concerning their hazards is transmitted to employers, employees, and students. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets and employee training.

Hazardous Waste Management: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): Industrial Solid Waste and Municipal Hazardous Waste – Texas Administrative Code, Title 30, Part 1 [§ 335 C]

Hazardous wastes are generated in many different University operations. These include lab research, building operations and maintenance and construction projects. To ensure that the University is operating to protect the safety and health of employees and students and to protect the environment the proper management of hazardous wastes is critical. Proper management of wastes includes: correctly identifying wastes; storing wastes properly; performing required weekly inspections; and ensuring that all storage time limits are met.

Frequently Asked Questions  



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