Every lab/location is required to maintain a current chemical inventory and collection of material safety data sheets that are readily accessible to all occupants of the laboratory.
MSDSs must be readily accessible during each work shift to employees when they are in their work areas.
Yes, the OSHA Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.1450, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, covers all workers using hazardous chemicals in laboratories. The standard is implemented through the WCMC Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Title 3, Chapter 10-Chemical Laboratories in the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY) states that storage of corrosive acids shall be so arranged that there will be no contact with bare metals or of cellulosic material with nitric acid in event of spillage. In general plastic bins are used for acids to not only meet this requirement but also to serve as secondary containment.
Updating of chemical inventories and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) is an ongoing task. As new chemicals or updated MSDSs for existing chemicals are received, the corresponding chemical inventory and MSDS binders must be updated.
While electronic access is considered "readily accessible" by OSHA, the agency requires much more of the employer by way of device access, software and device training for workers and back-up systems in order for an electronic system to be acceptable. In light of this interpretation, maintenance of hard copies of MSDSs is the only method approved by the College to ensure compliance.
An MSDS is the acronym for a Material Safety Data Sheet. An MSDS is issued for every hazardous chemical by the chemical manufacturer. MSDS's provide information about the type of chemical you are using and what hazards it contains.
The College's Hazard Communication Program has been developed to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200). The program is designed to ensure evaluation of the hazards of all chemicals present in non-laboratory workplaces, and ensure that both employers and employees receive relevant information about those hazards. Certain chemicals are exempt from the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, including hazardous wastes (contact EHS to obtain a copy of the Waste Disposal Procedures manual), food, wood, tobacco, and potentially hazardous substances such as drugs and cosmetics brought to the College for personal consumption (e.g. rubbing alcohol in a first aid kit would not be covered). Laboratories are covered under another OSHA standard (see Chemical Hygiene Plan).
MSDS should be readily accessible in your laboratory or other area where chemicals are used. To request an MSDS, use the MSDS search engines or contact EHS.
Examples of secondary containment bins and trays can be found at the following websites:
The New York City Fire Department regulates laboratories and uses the following storage limitations:
|Lab Type||Fire Rating||
|Flammable Liquids||Flammable Solids||Oxidizing Materials||Unstable (Reactive)|
|I||2 hours||Sprinklers||30 gals||15 lbs||50 lbs||12 lbs|
|II||1 Hour||Sprinklers||25 gals||10 lbs||40 lbs||6 lbs|
|III||2 hours||No Sprinklers||20 gals||6 lbs||30 lbs||3 lbs|
|IV||1 hour||No Sprinklers||15 gals||2 lbs||20 lbs||2 lbs|
To find out your laboratory type, contact Environmental Health and Safety.
Chemical spill cleanup kits are helpful to have in the laboratory and other service areas which use chemicals. The kits are useful if you and your fellow workers know how to use them properly. Chemical absorbent or neutralizing powder pads can be used to quickly contain a spill. Use these items if your personal safety is not jeopardized. Often the best use of such a kit is to put the absorbent on the spill to contain the material, then leave the room and secure the area until the Environmental Health and Safety arrives and finishes the cleanup.
Minimally, a chemical spill kit should contain:
- splash resistant goggles
- chemical resistant gloves
- plastic bags
- multi-chemical absorbent including solvent/acid/caustic (enough for a 2 gallon spill)
- plastic scoop and dust pan
Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a ready-made chemical spill kit. Following are some sources:
- Fisherbrand Mini Spill Kit
- Economy Spill and Personal Protection Kit
- Fisher Universal Spill Kit
- LSS Chemical Spill Kits (Choose Hazorb Spill Kit)
- SPC Chemical Attack Pac Kits
- SPC Hazwik Chemical Economy Spill Kit
NOTE: A hydrofluoric acid (HF) spill control kit is required in all areas using or storing hydrofluoric acid. Following is a HF spill kit source: HF Acid Eater Spill Kit.
NOTE: A container of sodium bicarbonate or other suitable neutralizing or absorbing agent shall be provided at all areas used for the storage of acids (FDNY requirement). Contact EHS to request a container of sodium bicarbonate.
A laboratory certificate of fitness is issued by the New York City Fire Department to laboratory users. The certificate of fitness ensures personnel qualified to act during a fire emergency are available inside laboratories while it is operating. See the laboratory certificate of fitness page for more information.
At any time a laboratory is in operation a certificate of fitness holder must be present. If someone works over the weekend, that person must have a certificate of fitness. If the certificate of fitness holder leaves for lunch, all lab operations must cease if no certificate of fitness holder is present. For these reasons Environmental Health and Safety recommends every person working in a laboratory maintain a certificate of fitness. See the laboratory certificate of fitness page for more information.
Yes, all laboratories and other work areas are required to maintain a complete inventory of all chemicals including the types, quantities and locations where these chemicals are being stored and used at the College. Chemical Owners must maintain their Chemical Inventories in the ChemTracker Chemical Inventory System. Please visit EHS Update ChemTracker Chemical Inventory System for more information.
Chemical inventories should be conducted on at least a yearly basis. Personnel should be looking at the physical condition of primary and secondary containers. Chemicals should be inspected for signs of decomposition, such as discoloration, turbidity, caking, moisture in dry chemicals, particulates in liquids, and pressure buildup. However, as new chemicals are received, the inventory in ChemTracker should be updated to include them.
Labs which use hydrofluoric acid must have:
- Completed a High Hazard Operating Procedure which is approved by EHS
- A spill kit specific for Hydrofluoric Acid
- A current supply of 2.5% Calcium Gluconate gel readily available.
An oxidizing material (e.g. nitrirc acid, perchloric acid) spontaneously evolves oxygen. When in contact with wooden cabinets and other cellulose materials oxidizers may spontaneously ignite the material. They may also yield oxygen to the fire, greatly increasing the fire's effect.
Examples of oxidizing acids include concentrated perchloric acid, nitric acid, iodic acid, chromic acid, and the glass cleaning mixture of chromium trioxide and sulfuric acid. There are other oxidizers that are not acids but evolve oxygen. Examples include potassium dichromate and potassium permanganate.
Oxidizing acids (e.g., perchloric acid) should be stored in plastic-lined (high density polyethylene) storage cabinets on glass or ceramic trays large enough to contain a spill.
Corrosive bases should be stored separately from acids in secondary containment to prevent any interactions with non-compatible chemicals.
The area used to store corrosive acids must be carefully designed to ensure spills of acid will not come into contact with bare metal or cellulosic materials with nitric acid. Strong organic acids should be stored separately from mineral acids. The perchloric acids must be stored in glass containers separated from the organic materials. Strong acids must be stored separately from strong bases. Care must also be taken to ensure acids are not stored near substances which react with them to evolve heat, hydrogen or explosive gases.
Due to the low FDNY storage allowances for flammable liquids in laboratories (see WMC Chemical Hygiene Plan for specific limitations), EHS maintains a facility for the storage of excess flammable reagents. This facility is intended solely for the storage of overstock flammable reagents, not for general reagent storage, (e.g. storage of the only container of a given flammable reagent). While EHS is usually available to respond to immediate requests, EHS cannot guarantee immediate access to the facility. Plan ahead and contact EHS before lab stocks are depleted. For more information about the facility or to request access, contact EHS.