Policy Steward: Director of Environmental Health and Safety


  • Purpose
  • References
  • Scope
  • Definitions
  • Policy
  • Responsibilities
  • Further Information
  • Cross References


    To establish a policy for the management of laboratory and research hazards at all locations of The Pennsylvania State University (except the Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine.) The University Chemical Hygiene Program is administered by Environmental Health and Safety through the Laboratory and Research Safety Plan (LRSP). 


    Occupational Health and Safety Administration 29 CFR 1910

    Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standard 1910.1450
    Hazard Communication Standard  1910.1200
    Personal Protective Equipment Standard  1910.132
    Eye and Face Protection Standard  1910.133
    Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 1910.1030
    Respiratory Protection Standard 1910.133
    Control of Hazardous Energy Standard 1910.147
    Air contaminants Standard 1910.1000
    Occupational Noise Exposure Standard 1910.95
    Ethylene Oxide Standard 1910.1047
    Formaldehyde Standard 1910.1048
    Medical and First Aid Standard 1910.151
    Machinery and Machine Guarding 1910 Subpart O


    This program applies to employees, visitors, and students at all locations of the Pennsylvania State University, (except for the Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine.)


    Laboratory- A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.

    Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)- PELs are regulatory limits based on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air. They may also contain a skin designation. OSHA PELs are based on an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure.

    Action Level- Action level means a concentration designated in 29 CFR Part 1910 for a specific substance, calculated as an eight (8)-hour time-weighted average, which initiates certain required activities such as exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.


    University departments/work units operating laboratories and research areas are required to ensure that each lab/research area has:

    1. Appointed a Laboratory/Research Safety Officer (LRSO) to implement the University’s Laboratory and Research Safety Plan,
    2. Implemented the LRSP, including adoption of general departmental precautions and guidelines for safe use of chemicals, and
    3. Instructed laboratory/research personnel, including employees, visitors, and students on proper safety procedures. Documentation of this training must be maintained in the LRSP.

    Laboratory and Research Safety Plan (LRSP)

    The University has developed a LRSP to promote the safety of employees, students and visitors working in laboratories and research areas.  The plan provides guidelines for prudent practices and procedures for the safe management of chemicals and other hazards possible in the laboratory/research setting, and for work practices regarding equipment and personal protective equipment that are capable of protecting individuals from potential health hazards.  The Plan was written in accordance with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories (the OSHA Lab Standard).

    Laboratory/Research Safety Officer (LRSO)

    Each laboratory/research Principle Investigator/Supervisor shall either act as, or assign, an individual in his/her laboratory/research area the responsibility for overseeing safety within his/her area. In areas where chemicals are used, this person also serves as the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

    The LRSO is responsible for implementing the LRSP in his/her respective laboratory.  The LRSO is also responsible for instructing personnel on proper laboratory procedures, including, but not limited to, properly labeling all chemicals, ensuring access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all laboratory/research chemicals, specifying personal protective equipment, conducting regular safety inspections, and managing hazardous waste disposal in accordance with the University’s hazardous waste policy, Hazardous Waste Disposal, SY20.

    The LRSO is also responsible for ensuring that employees, visitors and students are not exposed to chemicals beyond the permissible exposure limits (PEL) provided for each potentially hazardous substance by OSHA.  Some extremely hazardous substances (provided in 29 CFR Part 1910) require monitoring and medical surveillance if exposure exceeds the provided Action Level (see "Definitions").  By keeping chemical exposures below the specified PEL and Action Levels (https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=Standards&p_id=10106), laboratory workers can prevent adverse effects of hazardous substances in their work areas.

    Medical Attention for Chemical Exposure

    The University will provide all employees working with hazardous chemicals an opportunity to receive medical attention if they exhibit symptoms of exposure to a hazardous chemical in the laboratory or experience a spill, leak, or other occurrence resulting in the likelihood of a hazardous exposure.


    Budget Executives and Budget Administrators

    Environmental Health & Safety Office

    College/Campus Safety Officers

    Principle Investigator/Supervisors

    Laboratory/Research Safety Officer

    Employees, Visitors and Students


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.


    Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

    SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety Policy

    SY04 - Employee Accidents - Reporting and Investigation

    SY08 - Storage, Dispensing and Use of Flammable Liquids Policy

    SY14 - Use of Radioactive Materials

    SY15 – Radiation Producing Instruments

    SY17 - Lasers

    SY20 - Hazardous Waste Disposal

    SY24 - Use of Biohazardous Materials in Research and Instruction

    SY25 – Compressed Gas Cylinders

    SY29 – Infectious Waste Disposal

    SY34 – Hazardous Materials Shipping

    SY39 – Hazardous Chemical Inventory Management

    SY40 – Disposal of Pollutants in University Sanitary Systems

    Effective Date: November 18, 2016
    Date Approved: November 2, 2016
    Date Published: November 18, 2016 (Editorial changes- November 18, 2016)

    Most Recent Changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    | top of this policy | GURU policy menu | GURU policy search | GURU home | GURU Tech Support | Privacy and Legal Statement | Penn State website |