Chemical Hygiene Plan update

All laboratories which use chemicals are subject to the OSHA standard 29CFR1910:1450, titled “Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories.” The lab standard requires the development of a chemical hygiene plan that is laboratory specific.

Each principal investigator (PI) is responsible to develop and maintain the chemical hygiene plan (CHP) for his or her laboratory. In broad terms, a CHP is a detailed strategy for controlling hazards in a given location. A labs’ CHP should identify all the hazards present in that lab and describe specific measures for effectively controlling those hazards.

From time to time it is necessary to update the information provided in the boiler-plate CHP available on the Environmental Health & Safety website (http://rgs.usu.edu/ehs/htm/programs-and-services/laboratory-safety).

The updates are necessary for the following reasons:

• In conjunction with recommendations made by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the boiler-plate CHP has been modified to include a new section to specifically address Physical Hazards in laboratories. Previous versions of the boiler-plate have focused primarily on Health Hazards related to chemical exposures in laboratories.  OSHA defines a physical hazards as a chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric, unstable (reactive), or water-reactive. Other physical hazards may include: cryogens, electric hazards, high pressure reactions, magnetic fields, radio frequency, microwave, ultra violet, and infrared radiation, Vacuum work, and cutting, sawing, or grinding operations.

•University specific information has been reviewed and updated including updated contact information and internet links.

• The CHP has also been updated to be consistent with recent changes to the Hazard Communication standard.

It is recommended that PIs implement the new CHP boiler-plate as part of their annual Chemical Hygiene Plan update. For questions related to implementing the new boiler-plate CHP, please contact Rachel Curry at rachel.curry@usu.edu or 797-7423.

Dual Use Research of Concern Committee

The purpose of the Dual Use Research of Concern Committee is to establish regular review of U.S. Government-funded or conducted research with certain high-consequence pathogens and toxins for its potential dual use research of concern (DURC) in order to: a) mitigate risks where appropriate, and b) collect information needed to inform the development of an updated policy, as needed, for the oversight of DURC.

The fundamental aim of this oversight is to preserve the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research.

“It really important to have this oversight from an administrative standpoint, but there is also a responsibility that researchers have to make sure they are conducting it in an appropriate way so it can be used positively,” said Steve Bilbao, director of the Environmental Health and Safety Division of the RGS Office.

The members of the newly created committee are Dr. Bart Tarbet, Dr. Don Smee, Steve Bilbao, Dr. Dale Barnard, Kirt Poulsen, Dr. John Morrey, Russ Price, and James Day.

-RGS Communications