It is the responsibility of the RIT EH&S Department to help ensure faculty, staff, students, and visitors have a safe and healthy working and learning environment in all RIT owned and operated laboratories and/or studios. In order to accomplish this, RIT has developed a Laboratory and Chemical Hygiene Safety Program that includes guidelines to ensure safe work practices and training to keep faculty, staff and students current with regards to these established guidelines.
The goal of RIT’s Laboratory and Chemical Hygiene Safety Program is to minimize the risk of exposure, injury/illness to employees, students, and visitors while working in laboratories/studios by ensuring that they are provided with the appropriate information, support, and equipment needed to work safely.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizing the unique characteristics of the laboratory workplace has tailored a standard for occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. This standard is often referred to as the "Laboratory Standard".
Under the Laboratory Standard, RIT is required to develop a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) which addresses the specific hazards found in RIT laboratories and RIT’s approach to managing these hazards.
RIT has appointed a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) who will ensure that the CHP and the elements of the CHP are being implemented. RIT’s CHO will review and update the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually to ensure that it is effective and up to date.
Some of the sections that make up RIT’s CHP include Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures for: proper chemical storage, proper handling of particularly hazardous chemicals, exposure control measures, ventilation and hood performance, and use of proper personal protective equipment.
The number and amounts of chemicals stored in laboratories should be reduced to an absolute minimum. To help with this requirement, the RIT Lab/Studio Safety Committee has established guidelines around maintenance and disposal of expired chemicals, including time sensitive chemicals. Time sensitive chemicals are of concern in that they can develop additional hazards upon prolonged storage that were not present in the original formulation.
The use of particularly hazardous chemicals is integral to the academic and research missions at RIT. In order to help ensure the protection of faculty, staff, students, and visitors in the laboratories, the OSHA Lab Standard and the RIT CHP require the development and implementation of written operating procedures for this grouping of chemicals.
In addition, all chemical purchasers need to be made by an EHS approved 'Authorized Hazardous Materials Purchaser' and must be inventoried upon arrival to campus.
All chemicals need to be tracked via RIT’s chemical inventory system (MSDSonline). Certain chemicals require the purchaser to complete a Chemical Usage Questionnaire (CUQ) and/or a Chemical Threshold (CT) form. This is determined when the Authorized Purchaser reviews the "Documentation Requirements" column of the chemical list to determine which form(s) will be needed, if any. The completed form(s) will then be reviewed with laboratory personnel and the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department for approval. The CUQ and CT forms can be found at the bottom of this webpage, under the "Forms" section.
Inspections are conducted on either a semi-annual or annual basis depending on the hazards within each lab/studio. This ensures that RIT maintains compliance with federal/state regulations and RIT policies/procedures.
Clearly, laboratory safety training is a must in an academic institution. Teaching research employees and students to work safely is an integral part of every laboratory experience (Lab Safety).
Students, faculty, and staff, and visitors that work in studio settings where art, craft and design activities occur should be trained on the specific types of health and safety hazards that present themselves in these areas. These individuals are required to take Studio Safety training.
Both Lab & Studio Safety training are to be taken prior to initial assignment to the work area and annually thereafter.
Gas cylinder training needs to be taken by those individuals that work with and handle compressed gas cylinders. This training covers information about the proper labeling and identification of cylinders, handling and storage procedures, and some specific hazards of concern associated with the more hazardous types of compressed gases.
A link is available for each of these courses mentioned. They are found at the bottom of this webpage under the "Training" section. The RIT EH&S Department can provide live training sessions upon request.
Safety is a necessary part of every aspect of working in a laboratory and/or studio. It is therefore expected that all faculty, staff, students and visitors make it their top priority to work safely at all times.
Awareness that your actions and attitude affect not only yourself, but others around you as well.
Contact the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department with any questions at (585) 475-2040.