Hazardous Waste Management

Purpose and Scope

Bates College has created this plan as guidance to faculty, staff, and students who work with hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes in laboratories. This plan also addresses regulatory obligations established by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40 Part 264 Subpart D and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor when it promulgated 29 CFR 1910.1450 (Occupational exposure to chemicals in laboratories), as well as several other applicable regulations.

This plan is for use by laboratory supervisors where “laboratory use” of hazardous chemicals and the generation of hazardous waste takes place. Laboratory Supervisors are required to develop lab specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for their work spaces. These procedures will address the use of specific hazardous chemicals and equipment or practices unique to their work space. Refer to Appendix D for a template which can be used to develop an SOP.

Research and teaching laboratories in Dana Chemistry Hall and Carnegie Science Hall are subject to the requirements of this plan.


The following representatives of Bates College are responsible for establishing policies, providing resources and implementing the plan. See Appendix C for a listing of specific responsibilities for each role.

  • Senior Staff: responsible for approval of all Bates College policies.
  • Bates EHS: serves as the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) and Emergency Coordinator (EC) as defined in the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP); EHS develops, maintains, and implements the CHP; assists Laboratory Supervisors with monitoring and compliance with the plan and with assessing risk, including certifying laboratory hazard assessments.
  • Laboratory Supervisors: responsible for developing chemical hygiene and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and hazard assessments for laboratories where they are conducting research or teaching; they are responsible for students, staff, or visitors who may be conducting maintenance or cleaning operations within their laboratory.
  • Employees: responsible for understanding and complying with laboratory SOPs where they are assigned to work.
  • Students: responsible for understanding and complying with SOPs in laboratories where they are working or learning.

Management of Controls

Hierarchy of Controls

Hierarchy of hazard control is a system used in industry to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards. It is a widely accepted system promoted by numerous safety organizations. This concept is taught to managers in industry, to be promoted as standard practice in the workplace. In order of importance, the hierarchy of controls is:

  1. Elimination: Physically removed the hazard—is the most effective hazard control.
  2. Substitution: Involves replacing something that produces a hazard (similar to elimination) with something that does not produce a hazard.
  3. Engineering Controls: These do not eliminate hazards, but rather isolate people from hazards (i.e. fume hood)
  4. Administrative Controls: Changes to the way people work through programs, policies, and procedures.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment: The least effective means of protecting people from hazards, and should only be used when all other controls cannot safely eliminate the hazard.

Storage of Chemicals

Hazardous chemicals must be properly labeled, segregated by hazard type and stored in appropriate containment. Hazardous chemicals may not be stored on shelve above work surface or above eye level. Refer to special precautions and protocols in Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). Storage areas will be routinely inspected to ensure safe conditions are maintained and hazards will be addressed immediately. Refer to Appendix E for chemical storage guidelines.

Flammables and Combustibles

The maximum quantities of flammable and combustible materials which can be stored in a laboratory are regulated by OSHA and NFPA 30 and 45. Proper containers are identified in these standards.

Materials will be protected from sources of ignition or reaction including but not limited to: open flames, smoking, cutting and welding, hot surfaces, frictional heat, sparks, spontaneous ignition, and radiation heat.

Compressed Gas Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders must be properly labeled and stored securely in accordance with guidelines specified in Appendix J. The label must indicate the type of gas. Empty cylinders must labeled as empty. All cylinders, including empties, must be secured to a wall or to the bench top. Incompatible gases must be stored.

When a cylinder is not in use for extended periods of time, close the valve, relieve pressure in the regulator, remove the regulator*, and screw the protective cap onto the cylinder.

* Exception: Lecture Bottles – regulators must not be removed until the lecture bottle is emptied and purged.

Segregate empty cylinders from full cylinders or, if possible, return them to the supplier within one business day. Segregate cylinders from other hazardous chemicals. Return unused gas cylinders to the supplier when finished with them.

Toxic Chemicals

Work areas in which toxic chemicals are used must be labeled with warning signs, for example “CAUTION – Reproductive Toxin Storage” or “CAUTION: Cancer-Suspect Agent Storage”. Access to areas where toxins are used must be controlled. Quantities of toxic chemicals must be kept to minimum. Highly toxic chemicals must be stored in a ventilated storage space within secondary containment. A current inventory list of highly toxic chemicals must be maintained and readily accessible.

Highly Reactive Chemicals

Follow the recommendations on the Safety Data Sheets when determining appropriate storage of highly reactive chemicals. Label and date each reactive chemical upon receipt. Labels must include the word “DANGER: Highly Reactive Chemical. Minimize the quantity of reactive chemicals stored in the laboratory. Store chemical containers within secondary containment with enough volume to hold the entire contents. Dispose of highly reactive chemicals before their expiration date. Do not use reactive chemicals after their expiration date.

Storage of Oxidizing Chemicals

Follow the recommendations on the Safety Data Sheets when determining appropriate storage of Oxidizing materials. Label and date each container of oxidizing chemical upon receipt. Labels must include the following wording “DANGER – Oxidizing Chemical”. Organic peroxides are some of the most dangerous oxidizing chemicals. If crystals or precipitate are present, do not open liquid organic peroxide or peroxide formers. Peroxides in this form are extremely unstable and could cause serious injury or death. Contact the CHO/EC for assistance in arranging for proper packaging, removal and disposal.

Since liquid peroxides are sensitive during phase changes, store organic peroxides at the lowest possible temperature consistent with avoiding the freezing point. Inspect and test peroxides periodically.

Store perchloric acid bottles in glass or ceramic trays.

Thermally unstable chemicals must be stored in a laboratory grade refrigerator or freezer with appropriate labeling, indicating the intended purpose.

Water Reactive Chemicals

Water reactive chemicals must be segregated from water sources. Refer to Safety Data Sheets for specific suggestions on storing water-reactive chemicals. Label and date each container of water-reactive chemicals upon receipt. Labels must include the following wording “DANGER: Water-reactive chemical”.

Maintain separation of reactive chemicals as follows:

  • Pyrophoric compounds separated from flammables
  • Oxidizing chemicals separated from reducing agents and combustibles
  • Perchloric acid separated from reducing agents
  • Strong reducing agents separated from readily reducible substrates

Storage of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste may be generated through the experiments conducted in each laboratory. Once generated, it is stored in an appropriate sealed/labeled container, in secondary containment, in a designated lab hood/storage area such as the Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA). Incompatible wastes shall be stored separately. SAAs will be established and maintained in accordance with Appendix F.

No hazardous waste will be discharged to the sewer system via sink or floor drain without a license to do so. Bates College is NOT licensed for this.

The Laboratory Supervisor must characterize the waste by ensuring the container is properly labeled to reflect the contents, and will ensure the container used for waste storage is both appropriate, in good condition and compatible with the contents. Waste characterization is important to ensure proper waste storage and disposal, once the container leaves the SAA.

When containers in the SAA are full, they are transported to the corresponding Main Accumulation Area (MAA) and are logged in, dated, labeled, and stored until the next 90-day shipment takes place. MAAs will be established and maintained in accordance with Appendix G.

SAA inspections will be conducted and documented a minimum of once a week. MAA inspections will be conducted and documented a minimum of once a day. Inspections are documented using the form provided in Appendix H.

Walking and Working Surfaces

Laboratory supervisors will ensure that lab spaces are kept free of clutter or other tripping hazards or items such as sharp objects that could cause injury. This includes but is not limited to labs, exit corridors, storage rooms, instrumentation rooms, etc. Spaces should be kept clean and in a dry condition, unless warranted by research. Identified hazards should be marked and occupants of the space will be notified to avoid the area until repairs can be made. Any areas that need repair will be reported to Facility Services via the work order hotline at 786-6449.

Bates Facility Services will ensure that walking and working surfaces are designed to hold the intended load, or total weight of occupants and equipment. Qualified personnel will make this determination.

All Bates community members have a shared responsibility to ensure that egress pathways remain accessible and clear, to allow for safe building evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Ladders and stepstools used in a lab will be maintained in good condition in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.23(b) and (c), and will be inspected before each use. Any such equipment that is damaged will immediately be removed from service until it is either repaired or replaced. Ladders that will be used near energized electrical parts shall have non-conductive side rails.

Personal Protective Equipment

The primary source of guidance for selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be Safety Data Sheets. Laboratory supervisors are responsible for conducting hazard assessements and determining what type of PPE is required. Supervisors must also ensure that users are trained in proper care and use of required PPE. This includes, at a minimum, goggle, face shields, gloves, and aprons. Supervisors must ensure that required PPE is available in a variety of sizes and each user obtains a proper fit.

Defective or damaged PPE must be replaced immediately. Bates will provide PPE at no cost to employees. If fume hoods do not provide adequate protection and/or ventilation from chemicals or equipment being used, immediately suspend activities in the lab and contact to CHO/EC. See Appendix I for additional information on types of PPE.

Emergency Equipment

Laboratory Supervisors must conduct orientation sessions for all employees and students during initial lab sessions. These orientations must address the location and safe use of emergency equipment and supplies. This included but is not limited to the following:

  • Eyewash Stations: must be kept clean and unobstructed. A person with chemicals in their eyes must be able to reach and activate the unit within ten seconds of chemical contact. Eyewash and emergency are located in each lab and storage area where chemicals are present. Each station should be flow checked monthly.
  • Safety Showers: chemical safety showers must accessible within ten seconds and be unobstructed at all times. A person splashed with a chemical must remain in the shower for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Fire Extinguishers: fire extinguishers are located within 50 feet of work spaces where fires might occur. Clear access to fire extinguishers must be maintained at all times. Extinguishers are selected and distributed based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires. Only trained personnel may use a fire extinguisher. Contact Bates EHS to schedule training. Fire extinguishers are inspected monthly by a licensed and certified inspector. Fire extinguishers are maintained in accordance with NFPA 10.
  • Sprinkler System and Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP): all science buildings are sprinklered and have fire alarm control panel systems that is supervised by the Lewiston Fire Department dispatch. Inspections and maintenance of these systems is coordinated by Facility Services. Each system is inspected by a licensed and certified inspector.
  • Bates Emergency Response: all Bates emergencies are dispatched through the Security Office, which is staffed 24 hours every day, 7 days a week. For emergencies, Security can be reached:
    • by dialing 6111 from any campus phone
    • by dialing 207-786-6111 from any off-campus or cell phone, or
    • by using one of the blue light phones located near hazardous waste generating areas, or other blue light phone located throughout campus
  • Spill Kits: lab supervisors must ensure that appropriate spill kits and/or absorbent materials are available for their labs. Consult the SDS for recommended or required types of spill kits for chemical use.
  • First Aid Kits: lab supervisors may keep a basic first aid kit in their labs. First aid kits will not be maintained by EHS. Any incident requiring more than basic first aid should be reported to Bates Security, who will then dispatch Bates EMS or United Ambulance.

Signs and Labels

All hazards, real or potential, must be clearly marked with appropriate OSHA, DOT, or NFPA labels and signs. Hazardous chemical container original labels must be maintained. Exception: Small containers of chemical preparations for teaching laboratories which are created and controlled by the Lab Supervisor do not need compliant labels as long as they are removed from the lab at the end of the teaching session. Exit signs and emergency equipment signs must be visible and maintained in legible condition. Hazardous waste storage areas (SAA and MAA) must have appropriate MEDEP or EPA required signs and labels.

Any chemicals leaving the science building for shipment off campus, must be labeled per Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements and the package must include a safety data sheet.

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)

Prior to any work on machines or equipment that could injure an employee by unexpected release of stored energy or unexpected startup or energization, lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures must be followed.

The laboratory supervisor is responsible for developing a LOTO procedure for each piece of energized equipment and training students and other staff within their laboratory on the procedure. A template procedure in included in Appendix H.

LOTO ensures that all energy sources are removed, and prevented from re-energization so that work or adjustment on equipment or machines can be conducted safely. LOTO is required if an employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or other safety device, or if an employee is required to place any part of their body into an area on a machine or piece of equipment where work is actually performed (point of operation) or where an associated danger zone exists.

NOTE: LOTO is not required when the equipment can be unplugged from the energy source and the plug is under the control of the employee performing the servicing or maintenance. See 29 CFR 1910.147(a)(2)(iii)(A) for additional information on exemptions.

Use of lockout (de-energization) will be prioritized. If impossible, tagout (communication) will be utilized. Barricades or attendants will be utilized as necessary to protect employees or students from electrical contact hazards.

Please refer to the Bates College LOTO program or Appendix E for additional information.

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control

Universal precautions shall be observed to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. If it is not possible to determine the type of fluid, all bodily fluids shall be considered to be infectious materials. The lab supervisor will establish and train staff and students on engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or minimize employee exposure, with PPE being used if risk still remains after other controls are implemented. Staff and students will also be familiarized with the Bates Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.

All procedures involving blood or other potentially infectious materials shall be performed in such a manner as to minimize splashing, spraying, spattering and generation of droplets. Mouth pipetting/suctioning is prohibited.

Lab supervisors will ensure that all employees and students wash their hands immediately or as soon as feasible after removal of gloves or other PPE, and after any potential exposure or contact with potentially infectious materials.

Eating, drinking, smoking, applying makeup and handling contact lenses inside the lab is not permitted. Food and drink is not permitted to be stored near where blood or other potentially infectious materials are present. This includes refrigerators and freezers.

Specimens or samples containing blood or potentially infectious materials will be stored and transported in properly labeled, leak-proof containers. Labels will include the work BIOHAZARD and the biohazard symbol, and will be fluorescent orange or orange-red, with the letters and symbols in a contrasting color.

The lab supervisor will ensure that proper PPE is provided, replaced when necessary, cleaned or disinfected, and removed prior to leaving the lab.

Chemical Hygiene Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prepared by laboratory supervisors are intended to provide guidelines for safe handling of hazardous chemicals. This section addresses basic requirements for developing and implementing SOPs.


SOPs must be clear, concise, and consistent. The standardized template provided in Appendix D will help laboratory supervisors to meet these requirements. This format should be used to create procedures for each specific class of hazardous chemicals (flammables, corrosives, toxics, oxidizers, or any other “particularly hazardous substances).

Laboratory Specific Standard Operating Procedure

Each laboratory supervisor must develop operating policies for their specific laboratory based on the materials and conditions that prevail there. These procedures should include, but not limited to, visitors, working alone, specialized emergency equipment or spill kits, personal protective equipment, chemical storage, chemical transport, chemical container labeling, spill response, waste storage, notification instructions, emergency response, and general housekeeping. These laboratory specific SOPs are to be used for initial training and must be readily available for review.

Periodic Inspections

SOPs must reflect changes that occur in laboratories and must, therefore, be reviewed at least annually. In lieu of changing a lab SOP a “Special Project SOP” may be created and used for the duration of the project. Special project SOPs must include a termination date or a review date. Laboratory supervisors are responsible for ensuring that SOPs are being followed. An inspection checklist is available in Appendix H for use in laboratory inspections. The CHO/EC has compliance review authority and must inform College Administration of lapses in laboratory compliance, SOPs, and College Policy.

Training Responsibility

Laboratory supervisors must ensure that employees and students who enter and/or use their laboratory are trained on the hazards in their lab. This training will generally use SOPs, both generational and lab specific, to explain the hazards and the appropriate precautions. To fulfill OSHA and College requirements all training must be documented. Documentation must include the date, the trainer(s)’ name(s), laboratory supervisor’s name, the lab room number, the building and the SOP title(s) used or a brief summary of topics covered. Documentation must be kept for five years and must be immediately accessible in case of regulatory inspection. See Appendix L for suggested training topics and a sign in form for documentation training.

Management of Particularly Hazardous Substances

Special precautions may be required if work is done in labs involving “select carcinogens”, reproductive toxins or substances with acute toxicity. These categories of chemicals are designated by OSHA as Particularly Hazardous Substances. This may include establishment of a designated area, use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes, special procedures for safe removal of contaminate wastes and decontamination procedures.

Designation of Area

Any area designated for use of particularly hazardous substances requires the following:

  • Clearly mark the designated area with appropriate signage. This area may be an entire lab, or identified area within a lab or an isolating device such as a glove box or fume hood. The area or device signs should read “DANGER (Specific Agent) – Authorized Personnel Only”.
  • Emergency response procedures specific to the hazardous substance must be posted near the site.
  • Detection/monitoring equipment may be required in labs where highly toxic chemicals (especially poisonous gases) are used. If uncertain, contact the CHO/EC.

Use of Containment Devices

When working with particularly hazardous substances in fume hoods and glove boxes:

  • Exhaust air from ventilation systems in which work is performed with carcinogens, reproductive toxins and acutely toxic chemicals may require scrubbing before release to the atmosphere. OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) or other regulatory standards may not be released.
  • Ventilation efficiency and operational effectiveness of containment devices used to manipulate or contain hazardous substances must be evaluated regularly according to a schedule determined by the Lab Supervisor. NOTE: if the frequency of testing required by the Fume Hood Test Program does not meet the Lab Supervisor’s requirements more frequent testing can be requested. Contact Bates EHS for an assessment.
  • Compressed gas cylinders containing acutely toxic chemicals must be stored in ventilated gas cabinets.


Personnel working with “particularly hazardous substances” must be use the following guidelines:

  • The Lab Supervisor must train all employees and students who spend time in the high hazard area. Training is required for all persons who may be exposed, even if they don’t work directly with the substances. All training must be documented and documentation must be retained by the Lab Supervisor.
  • All users of particularly hazardous substances (employees, students, and visitors) must have access to suitable PPE and must be trained in its proper use and care.
  • No person may work alone with hazardous materials or processes without notifying the lab supervisor. Persons working in labs after normal working hours or on holidays or weekends must follow a notification procedure established by the lab supervisor.

Specialized Handling Procedures

Personnel that will be directly handling particularly hazardous materials shall follow these guidelines:

  • Minimize the quantity of “particularly hazardous substances” used and stored in the lab, including concentrations in solutions or mixtures.
  • Take special precautions of avoid leaks:
    • Keep volatile substances cool and contained in air tight containers.
    • Be sure valves are functioning properly on gas cylinders. Also check regulators, check valves and piping to be certain they can withstand pressure.
    • Keep dispersive solids in closed containers and use in places with minimal air currents.
    • Take precautions to avoid static charges. Use appropriate materials and procedures for transferring and handling these materials.
  • Lab Supervisors are responsible for preparing emergency response procedures specific the the “particularly hazardous substances” used in their labs. Training of all students and employees, as well as others in the building who may be affected is also the responsibility of the Lab Supervisor. The CHO/EC and Lewiston Fire Department should be consulted as resources in this planning. Response procedures must be readily accessible in the lab.

Procedures for Safe Waste Removal and Decontamination

  • Waste removal and decontamination procedures must be reviewed and approved by the CHO/EC to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and Bates College policy.
  • Reducing chemical solutions or mixtures to lower toxicity and/or corrosivity as part of experimental protocol is desirable as a means of minimizing health hazards and quantities of waste. These approaches must only be undertaken if they can be performed safely and in compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Before disposing of, treating or recycling “particularly hazardous waste”, Lab Supervisors shall contact the CHO/EC.
  • Designated working areas must be thoroughly decontaminated and cleaned at regular intervals determined by the Lab Supervisor.

Prior Approval of Particularly Hazardous Substances

In order to maintain compliance, Lab Supervisors must receive approval in advance of ordering “particularly hazardous substances”. The Stockroom Assistant in Instruction responsible for purchasing is authorized to review requests from Dana Chemistry. The Biological Technician responsible for purchasing is authorized to review requests for Carnegie Science. In the event of questions about the safety or use of these substances, the CHO/EC must be consulted. Authorizations should refer to specific SOPs and a copy of each authorization must be sent to the CHO/EC.

Spills, Fires, Releases and Accidents

All incidents/accidents involving hazardous chemicals or wastes shall be immediately reported to Bates Security at 6111. Use an office phone or emergency blue light phone located throughout the hallways in Dana Chemistry Building or Carnegie Science Building. Security will contact the CHO/EC and Bates EHS, who will coordinate internal and external response as needed. Bates Security and Bates EHS maintains a list of Regulatory Authority phone numbers, and will make the actual notifications needed for any accident/incident.


  1. Use dedicated or universal spill kits to contain and absorb spills.
  2. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
  3. Make certain materials in the spill kit will not react with released chemical.
  4. Label the waste generated from the spill “Hazardous Waste”.
  5. Remove waste from site and store in the Main Accumulation Area.
  6. Log in the waste using the provided form located in the MAA.

Large quantity spills of hazardous materials will be collected, packaged, labeled, manifested and transported off-site by a Bates College Licensed Hazardous Waste Contractor.


Appendix A – Regulatory Matrix

Appendix B – Definitions

Accessible means admitting close approach; not guarded by locked doors, elevation or other effective means.

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

Authorized means an employee who the employer assigns to perform a specific type of duty, or allows in a specific location or area.

Barrier means a physical obstruction that is intended to prevent contact with equipment or live parts or to prevent unauthorized access to a work area.

Carcinogen means a substance capable of causing cancer.

Certified means equipment is “certified” if it bears a label, tag or other record of certification that the equipment: 1) has been tested and found by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to meet nationally recognized standards or to be safe for use in a specified manner, or 2) is of a kind whose production is periodically inspected by a nationally recognized testing laboratory and is accepted by the laboratory as safe for its intended use.

Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) means an employee who is designated by the employer, and who is qualified by training or experience, to provide guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. This definition is not intended to place limitations on the position description or job classification that the designated individual shall hold within the employer’s organizational structure.

Chemical Hygiene Plan means a written program developed and implemented by the employer which sets forth procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment and work practices that (i) are capable of protecting employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in that particular workplace and (ii) meets the requirements of paragraph (e) of 29 CFR 1910.1450.

Combustible Liquid means any liquid having a flashpoint at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), but below 200 degrees F (93.3 degrees C), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 200 degrees F (93.3 degrees C), or higher, the total volume of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.

Competent Person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Compressed Gas means:

  1. A gas or mixture of gases having, in a container, an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C); or
  2. A gas or mixture of gases having, in a container, an absolute pressure exceeding 104 psi at 130 degrees F (54.4 degrees C) regardless of the pressure at 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C); or
  3. A liquid having a vapor pressure exceeding 40 psi at 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) as determined by ASTM D-323-72.

De-energized means free from any electrical connection to a source of potential difference and from electrical charge; not having a potential different from that of the earth.

Designated Area means an area which may be used for work with ― select carcinogens, reproductive toxins or substances which have a high degree of acute toxicity. A designated area may be the entire laboratory, an area of a laboratory or a containment device such as a laboratory hood or glove box.

Emergency means any occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of containers or failure of control equipment which results in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous chemical into the workplace.

Employee means an individual employed in a laboratory workplace who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the course of his or her assignments.

Equivalent means alternative designs, equipment, materials, or methods, that the employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or greater degree of safety for employees compared to the designs, equipment, materials, or methods specified.

Explosive means a chemical that causes a sudden, almost instantaneous release of pressure, gas, and heat when subjected to sudden shock, pressure, or high temperature.

Exposed means capable of being inadvertently touched or approached nearer than a safe distance by a person. It is applied to parts not suitably guarded, isolated, or insulated.

Flammable means a chemical that falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Aerosol, flammable means an aerosol that, when tested by the method described in 16 CFR 1500.45, yields a flame projection exceeding 18 inches at full valve opening, or a flashback (a flame extending back to the valve) at any degree of valve opening;
  2. Gas, flammable means
    1. A gas that, at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a flammable mixture with air at a concentration of 13 percent by volume or less; or
    1. A gas that, at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a range of flammable mixtures with air wider than 12 percent by volume, regardless of the lower limit.
  3. Liquid, flammable means any liquid having a flashpoint below 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture.
  4. Solid, flammable means a solid, other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109(a), that is liable to cause fire through friction, absorption of moisture, spontaneous chemical change, or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or which can be ignited readily and when ignited burns so vigorously and persistently as to create a serious hazard. A chemical shall be considered to be a flammable solid if, when tested by the method in 16 CFR 1500.44, it ignites and burns with a self-sustained flame at a rate greater than one tenth of an inch per second along its major axis.

Flashpoint means the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapor in sufficient concentration to ignite when tested as follows:

  1. Tagliabue Closed Tester (See American National Standard Method of Test for Flashpoint by Tag Closed Tester, Z11.24 – 1979 (ASTM D 56-79)) – for liquids with a viscosity of less than 45 Saybolt Universal Seconds (SUS) at 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), that do not contain suspended solids, or that have a tendency to form a surface film under test; or
  2. Pensky-Martens Closed Tester (See American National Standard Method of Test for Flashpoint by Pensky-Martens Closed Tester, Z11.7 – 1979 (ASTM D 93-79)) – for liquids with a viscosity equal to or greater than 45 SUS at 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), or that contain suspended solids, or that have a tendency to form a surface film under test; or
  3. Setaflash Closed Tester (see American National Standard Method for Flashpoint by Setaflash Closed Tester (ASTM D 3278- 78).

Organic peroxides, which undergo auto-accelerating thermal decomposition, are excluded from any of the flashpoint determination methods specified above.

Generator means a person whose act or process produces a waste which is or may be hazardous or whose act first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation.

Glove Box means a small fully enclosed unit that is used when working with hazardous chemicals and usually contains multiple openings to which arm-length rubber gloves are mounted.

Handle means to store, transfer, collect, separate, salvage, process, reduce, recover, incinerate, treat or dispose of.

Hazardous Chemical means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. The term ―health hazard‖ includes chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic systems, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

Appendices A and B of the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) provide further guidance in defining the scope of health hazards and determining whether or not a chemical is to be considered hazardous for purposes of this standard.

Hazardous Waste means a material that meets the definition of one of the following categories (as defined by EPA):

  1. Listed Waste – waste that EPA has determined to be hazardous. The lists include the F-list (wastes from common manufacturing and industrial processes), K-list (wastes from specific industries), and P and U lists (wastes from commercial chemical products).
  2. Characteristic Wastes – wastes that do not meet any of the listing above but that exhibit ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.
  3. Universal Wastes – batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment (e.g. thermostats) and lamps (e.g. fluorescent bulbs).

Bates College manages universal hazardous waste under a universal waste policy, that is separate from this Contingency Plan/Chemical Hygiene Plan.

  • Mixed Wastes – waste that contains both radioactive and hazardous waste components.

Highly Reactive Chemicals means chemicals which can vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense or become self- reactive under conditions of shock, pressure, temperature, light or contact with other materials and having an NFPA rating of 4.

Incidental Spill means a release of a hazardous substance which does not pose a significant safety or health hazard to employees in the immediate vicinity or to the employee cleaning up, nor does it have the potential to become an emergency within a short time frame. (An incidental spill may be safely cleaned up by employees who are familiar with the hazards of the chemicals with which they are working.)

Laboratory means a facility where the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals occurs. It is a workplace where relatively small quantities of hazardous chemicals are used on a non- production basis.

Laboratory Scale means work with substances in which the containers used for reactions, transfers, and other handling of substances are designed to be easily and safely manipulated by one person. ―Laboratory Scale‖ excludes those workplaces whose function is to produce commercial quantities of materials.

Laboratory-type Hood means a device located in a laboratory, enclosed on five sides with a movable sash or fixed partial enclosure on the remaining side; constructed and maintained to draw air from the laboratory and to prevent or minimize the escape of air contaminants into the laboratory; and allows chemical manipulations to be conducted in the enclosure without insertion of any portion of the employee’s body other than hands and arms.

Walk-in hoods with adjustable sashes meet the above definition provided that the sashes are adjusted during use so that airflow and exhaust of air contaminants are not compromised and employees do not work inside the enclosure during the release of airborne hazardous chemicals.

Laboratory use of hazardous chemicals means handling or use of such chemicals in which all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Chemical manipulations are carried out on a laboratory scale;
  2. Multiple chemical procedures or chemicals are used;
  3. The procedures involved are not part of a production process, nor in any way simulate a production process; and
  4. Protective laboratory practices and equipment are available and in common use to minimize the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Ladder means a device with rungs, steps, or cleats used to gain access to a different elevation.

Major Message means that portions of a tag’s inscription that is more specific than the signal word and that indicates the specific hazardous condition or the instruction to be communicated to the employee. Examples include: “High Voltage”, “Do Not Use” or a corresponding pictograph used with a written text or alone.

Medical Consultation means a consultation which takes place between an employee and a licensed physician for the purpose of determining what medical examinations or procedures, if any, are appropriate in cases where a significant exposure to a hazardous chemical may have taken place.

Organic Peroxide means an organic compound that contains the bivalent –O-O- structure and which may be considered to be a structural derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or both of the hydrogen atoms has been replaced by an organic radical.

Oxidizer means a chemical other than a blasting agent or explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109(a), that initiates or promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire either of itself or through the release of oxygen or other gases.

Particularly Hazardous Substances mean certain hazardous chemicals that are select carcinogens, reproductive toxins or compounds with a high degree of toxicity that require special handling procedures.

Permissible Exposure Limit means an air concentration exposure limit established by OSHA to protect employees against the health effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Physical Hazard means a chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, an explosive, a flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer pyrophoric, an unstable (reactive) or a water- reactive.

Pictograph means a pictorial representation used to identify a hazardous condition or to convey a safety instruction.

Protective Laboratory Practices and Equipment means those laboratory procedures, practices and equipment accepted by laboratory health and safety experts as effective, or that an employer can show to be effective, in minimizing the potential for employee exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Qualified Person means one who has received training in and has demonstrated skills and knowledge in the construction and operation of electric (or other) equipment and installations and the hazards involved.

Regulated Hazardous Chemical means any hazardous chemical that has a regulatory exposure limit established by OSHA.

Reproductive Toxins means chemicals which affect the reproductive capabilities including chromosomal damage (mutations) and effects on fetuses (teratogenesis).

Select Carcinogen means any substance which meets one of the following criteria:

  1. It is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen; or
  2. It is listed under the category, ―known to be carcinogens‖, in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) (latest edition); or
  3. It is listed under Group 1 (―carcinogenic to humans‖) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs (IARC) (latest editions); or
  4. It is listed in either Group 2A or 2B by IARC or under the category, ―reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens‖ by NTP, and causes statistically significant tumor incidence in experimental animals in accordance with any of the following criteria:
    1. After inhalation exposure of 6-7 hours per day, 5 days per week, for a significant portion of a lifetime to dosages of less than 10mg/m3;
    1. After repeated skin application of less than 300 mg/kg of body weight per week; or
    1. After oral dosages of less than 50 mg/kg of body weight per day.

Signal Word means that portion of a tag’s inscription that contains the word or words that are intended to capture the employee’s immediate attention.

Site means the same or geographically contiguous property which may be divided by a public or private right-of-way, provided that the entrance and exit between the properties is at a crossroads intersection and access is by crossing as opposed to going along the right-of-way. Noncontiguous properties owned by the same person but connected by a right-of-way which they control and to which the public does not have access is also considered site property.

Toxic Chemical means a chemical having poisonous effects on the body which are dependent on the extent of exposure and the inherent toxicity of the chemical.

Unstable (reactive) means a chemical which in the pure state, or as produced or transported, will vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense, or will become self-reactive under conditions of shocks, pressure or temperature.

Ventilated means provided with a means to permit circulation of air sufficient to remove an excess of heat, fumes, or vapors.

Walking-working surface means any horizontal or vertical surface on or through which an employee walks, works, or gains access to a work area or workplace location.

Waste means any useless, unwanted, or discarded substance or material, whether or not such substance or material has any other or future use and includes any substance or material that is spilled, leaked, pumped, poured, emitted, disposed, emptied, or dumped on to the land or into the water or ambient air.

Water-reactive means a chemical that reacts with water to release a gas that is either flammable or presents a health hazard.

Appendix C – Roles and Responsibilities

Bates EHS

Bates EHS has oversight responsibility for chemical hygiene, laboratory safety, and compliance with applicable hazardous waste regulations. Bates EHS will collaborate with science faculty, staff, and students in instruction in creating , implementing and maintaining a Laboratory Safety Program, which includes a Chemical Hygiene Plan

  1. Establish safety standards.
  2. Create the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  3. Train Chemical Hygiene Plan users.
  4. Serve as technical and compliance advisor to the Chemical Hygiene Plan users.
  5. Administer College obligations with regard to employee and student protection and regulatory compliance.
  6. Assist in regular plan review, evaluation and updating.
  7. Provide a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO).

Bates EHS will collaborate with those same science faculty and staff to create, implement, train and maintain a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan that complies with State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.

  1. Avoid release of hazardous waste to soil, air or surface water at Bates College.
  2. Create a plan that employees/students will follow in response to fires or any other unexpected release of hazardous waste.
  3. Collaborate with local authorities (fire department, etc.) to make arrangements for emergency support.
  4. Establish internal responsibilities and maintain contact information for each responsible person, including a designated Emergency Coordinator (EC).
  5. Maintain and post emergency evacuation routes and plans.
  6. Develop emergency communication procedures for both internal and external communication.
  7. Maintain emergency response equipment.

Laboratory Supervisor

The Laboratory Supervisors have ultimate responsibility for safety in their laboratories. They may call upon the Chemical Hygiene Officer/Emergency Coordinator (CHO/EC) for clarification and assistance in maintaining safe conditions. They have direct responsibility for training and overseeing employees and students who perform work in their laboratories.

  1. Conduct regular inspections to ensure safe, hygienic working conditions. This includes inspection of safety and emergency equipment.
  2. Develop SOPs specific to their laboratory operations. Any operations which are not covered by the generic SOPs included in this Plan require customized Lab Specific SOPs to be developed, using the format in Appendix A.
  3. Provide training on elements of the plan and applicable SOPs to employees and students who will be potentially exposed to chemicals in the laboratory.
  4. Select and provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for laboratory operations.
  5. With the assistance of the CHO/EC, determine when evaluation of employees’ exposure level to laboratory hazardous chemicals is required.
  6. Conduct regular, periodic inspections of their laboratories to ensure Plan requirements and SOPs are being met.
  7. Review and improve SOPs annually or more frequently as necessary.

Employees and Students

Employees and students who perform work in laboratories are responsible for understanding and adhering to the Plan and all SOPs. They must report deficiencies to the Laboratory Supervisor and support all efforts to maximize safety in the laboratories.

Appendix D – Laboratory Standard Operating Procedure

Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), must include at a minimum, the following sections:

  1. Title: This should include the name of a specific chemical or class of chemicals covered by this procedure. Example:  STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR WORKING SAFELY WITH HYDROGEN FLUORIDE
  2. Hazards: This section should cover health hazards and physical hazards associated with the particular chemical(s) or process. This information is available on Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  3. Exposure Control: This section will explain any engineering and administrative controls used to provide protection. An example of an engineering control would be a chemical    fume hood. An example of an administrative control would be to designate a certain storage area for each type of chemical to prevent inadvertent use of the wrong material. 
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This section will cover eye wear, gloves, face protection, footwear and clothing required when working with the specific materials for which this SOP is prepared. SDS will be the primary source of information for this data.
  5. First Aid: This section will cover basic first aid procedures for exposure to the chemical(s) or processes covered by this SOP. SDS can provide information to meet these requirements and recommend any special response kits which must be maintained in the laboratory.
  6. Emergency Equipment: This section will describe any special equipment required for dealing with releases or uncontrolled reactions involving the material for which this SOP is prepared.
  7. Emergency Procedures:This section addresses the procedures which may be required if an emergency occurs in the laboratory, including sounding alarms, evacuation, notification, and restoring the laboratory to safe operating condition. Emergencies may include injuries, spills, reactions, fire or explosion. Readers will need to know who is qualified to participate in emergency response and how they must prepare themselves to participate. The priority for emergency response shall always be:
    • Protect students and employees
    • Protect the environment
    • Protect property and equipment
  8. Work Practices: This section will describe any specialized laboratory practices required for handling and using the chemicals or processes for which this SOP is created.  The information should cover precautions unique to the materials and how they may react with other materials in the lab. Example: Describe how to properly heat, mix, agitate or pressurize a material.
  9. Storage and Transport: This section will address the safe methods and conditions for storing a specific hazardous chemical, including but not limited to, proper containers, secondary containment, ventilation, segregation, position in cabinets or on shelves. In addition, it should consider safe methods for moving materials to and from the lab and within the lab to prevent accidental releases or contact with people or reactive materials.
  10. Waste Disposal: This portion of the SOP must describe the steps necessary to ensure proper labeling, storage and removal of wastes resulting from use of the specific chemical. This may include unused product, diluted portions, portions mixed with other chemicals or contaminated quantities. The waste products must be clearly identified to allow proper waste determinations. They must be stored in secondary containers within the Lab Satellite Accumulation Area and must be transferred to the Building Main Accumulation Area when containers of waste become full.

Appendix E – Chemical Storage

Appendix F – Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA)


Bates College maintains many Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA) on campus in accordance with all applicable requirements from EPA, DEP and OSHA. The SAAs are located as follows:

  • Dana Chemistry Hall – various labs, different every semester
  • Carnegie Science Hall – various labs, different every semester


Each waste container will be labeled with the words “HAZARDOUS WASTE”. Each waste container will have a legible label that clearly indicates the contents. Proper labeling must be completed by the individual that generated the waste (can be done by students but must be reviewed by the laboratory supervisor).


Hazardous waste accumulation logs are not required at the SAA.


All containers in the SAA should be closed at all times, when not in use. Containers will be in good condition, and not leaking, bulging or rusted. Containers will be appropriate for the waste stored. Food or drink containers will not be used for chemical waste storage.

Wastes should be stored properly in secondary containment, in the designated SAA area of a chemical fume hood, separate from incompatible materials.

When waste containers are full, or the laboratory will be shut down for a period of time, the container will be tightly closed, and securely transported to the building MAA for storage until shipment off site. Please see the MAA instructions for additional information regarding actions required when a chemical container is added to the MAA.

SAA can accumulate up to 55 gallons of each waste (1 quart limit for acute hazardous waste) without an accumulation time limit. Once full, the container must be removed to the MAA within 72 hours.

The SAA will be constructed of impervious surfaces, and will have secondary containment. Stored containers must be arranged so the markings and labels are visible from the front of the lab hood.

No food or drink containers are permitted in the SAA.


Hazardous chemicals and other regulated materials will not be treated without a license to do so. Wastes will be put into appropriate containers, and when full, will be brought to the MAA for storage prior to shipment offsite for disposal.


Weekly documented inspections of the SAA are required by DEP. Bates elects to complete these inspections weekly, when the college is open. Inspectors will verify and record:

  • Date
  • Initials of the Inspector
  • Is each container in good condition?
  • Is each container tightly closed?
  • Is each container properly labeled?
  • Is each container in secondary containment?
  • Are incompatible wastes separated?
  • Is the SAA free of spills and clutter?

Inspection records will be kept for at least one year.


Weekly inspections are the responsibility of the laboratory supervisor, or his/her designee. EHS can be a backup during vacations or other unforeseen circumstances, upon request.


Please contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer or Bates EHS if you have any questions regarding the SAA.

Appendix G – Main Accumulation Areas (MAA)


Bates College maintains 3 Main Accumulation Areas (MAA) on campus in accordance with all applicable requirements from EPA, DEP and OSHA. The MAAs are located as follows:

  • Dana Chemistry Hall – room 129
  • Carnegie Science Hall – room 522
  • Cutten Maintenance Center – outdoor labeled shed, adjacent to large brown storage tank


Each waste container will be labeled with the pink Bates “HAZARDOUS WASTE” label, and dated when it is brought to the MAA. Each waste container will also have a legible label that clearly indicates the contents. Proper labeling must be completed by the individual that generated the waste (typically the laboratory supervisor).


After being labeled, each waste container brought to the MAA will be logged in to the hazardous waste accumulation log by the individual that generated the waste (typically the laboratory supervisor). The hazardous waste accumulation log includes information such as: Date, Item Description, Chemical Name, Hazard, Origin, and Initials.


All containers in the MAA should be closed at all times. Containers will be in good condition, and not leaking, bulging or rusted. Containers will be appropriate for the waste stored. Food or drink containers will not be used for chemical waste storage.

Wastes should be stored properly in designated areas or shelves of the MAA, separate from incompatible materials. Each MAA at Bates is set up differently.

The MAA shall have secure, restricted access. The MAA will be marked “NO SMOKING” and “DANGEROUS – UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT”.

The MAA will be constructed of impervious surfaces, and will have secondary containment. Stored containers must be arranged so the markings and labels are visible from the aisle, and aisles must be maintained free and clear, accessible for personnel, fire department, spill control, and inspection.

No food or drink items are permitted in the MAA.


Weekly documented inspections of the MAA are required by DEP. Bates elects to complete these inspections daily, when the college is open. Inspectors will verify and record:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Initials of the Inspector
  • Is there a 90 day start date on each container?
  • Is each container in good condition?
  • Is each container tightly closed?
  • Is each container filled 90 days or less?
  • Are incompatible wastes separated?
  • Are hazardous wastes stored 50 feet from the property line?

Inspection records will be kept for at least one year.


Daily inspections are the responsibility of the building representative, designated by the department. EHS can be a backup during vacations or other unforeseen circumstances, upon request.

Waste shipments are the responsibility of the EHS department. Hazardous wastes will be shipped off-site within 90 days from when the container was added to the MAA. If vendors are used, EHS staff will closely supervise them to ensure adherence with applicable transit regulations as prescribed by DEP, EPA and DOT, including packaging, labeling and placarding requirements.

Vendors used to store, transport and dispose of hazardous waste generated by Bates College will have obtained appropriate identification numbers and approval from EPA, and will be properly licensed by the State of Maine, or other State, and EPA.


Please contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer or Bates EHS if you have any questions regarding the MAA.

Appendix H – Forms

Appendix I – Personal Protective Equipment

Before using any type of personal protective equipment, review all manufacturer’s recommendations. If you have questions, see the laboratory supervisor.

Eye Protection: When activities have potential for chemical splashing, chemical reactions or unexpected events such as flying particles, eye protection must be worn.

Minimum protection against splash will be in the form of splash proof goggles.  NOTE: Safety glasses do not offer adequate protection against chemical splash.

Secondary Protection will provide a higher degree of protection. Add a face shield over goggles. Face shields are not to be worn without goggles. Eye and face protection will be marked with the manufacturer’s information and will be compatible with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87 certification requirements.

Eye protection that provides side protection will be provided when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (side shields) are acceptable.

Anyone potentially exposed to light radiation will be provided filter lenses with appropriate shade protection, see OSHA 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(5) for additional information.

Anyone wearing prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve or could potentially involve eye hazards will be provided with eye protection that incorporates the prescription into its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper positon of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.

All persons present in the laboratory during use of chemicals must wear suitable eye protection. This includes visitors, employees and students.

Face Protection: When activities have potential for causing face injury due to chemical splash, fire, hot liquids or impact from materials or objects, a face shield is required over splash proof goggles. Special materials can be selected to protect against chemicals, bright arcs/flashes, ultra violet light or impact. Eye protection must always be worn under face protection.

Hand Protection: When activities have potential for cutting, burning, blistering, skin absorption, irritating or bruising hands, and especially when working with corrosive or toxic chemicals and hot materials, gloves must be worn.

Select gloves according to chemical resistance to specific materials. In some situations, double gloves are recommended. Glove manufacturers provide chemical resistance and sizing guidance.

Gloves must be cleaned and removed before leaving the laboratory. Always wash hands after removing gloves.

Dispose of contaminated gloves properly.

Select long gloves or add chemical resistant arm protection (gauntlets) if splashing is likely.

Protective Clothing: When an operation or activity can result in situations where normal clothing will not provide suitable protection from injury, laboratory coats, aprons or jump suits made of chemical resistant material may be required.

This clothing may be reusable or disposable.

Reusable laboratory clothing requires special laundering precautions to prevent exposure to laundry workers.

Contaminated laboratory clothing may never be taken home for laundering.

Contaminated disposable clothing must be handled as potential hazardous waste.

Consult the Chemical Hygiene Officer/Emergency Coordinator (CHO/EC) for guidance.

Hearing Protection: If equipment or processes in the laboratory generate a noise level of 85 decibels or greater, hearing protection must be worn. Ear plugs or headphones with the appropriate Noise Reduction Rating may be used. Consult the CHO/EC for guidance.

Note: Ear buds or headphones attached to electronic playback devices do not provide the required decibel reduction.

Foot Protection: When activities have potential for foot injury due to falling objects, chemical burns, slipping, electrical shock or temperature extremes, special footwear is required. Shoes or boots must be selected based upon the hazard or hazards present.

Respiratory Protection: Bates College does not permit the use of respirators without medical clearance, training, and a respirator fit test. If the presence of chemicals or airborne particles is suspected, contact the CHO/EC immediately to arrange for air testing. Whenever possible, engineering controls such as working inside a fume hood will be used to reduce or eliminate exposures to ensure safety.

Appendix J – Compressed Gas Safety

General Safety

Use of compressed gases in laboratories poses unique and dangerous hazards. The delivery system has inherent mechanical and physical risks. Gases may be combustible, explosive, corrosive, toxic, inert or some combination of these characteristics. Gases can also be reactive, or may act as oxidizers. Hazards to lab workers range from fire and explosion to rapid dispersal of gas, asphyxiation, burns, and poisoning.

Compressed gases are supplied in heavy, highly pressurized metal cylinders. Damage to regulators or to the cylinder can result in potentially lethal uncontrolled releases with cylinders becoming missiles or exploding into projectile shrapnel.

Cylinders must be used only by trained individuals who understand the risks and know the proper storage and handling procedures as well as the specific hazards of the gases, the cylinders, the regulators and any associated piping or tubing.

Laboratory supervisors should select the smallest cylinder compatible with the need, when purchasing compressed gas for use in a laboratory.

Labeling and Signs

  1. Compressed gas cylinders shall be labeled so that contents are clearly identified. Color coding alone is not satisfactory. Do not accept delivery of any compressed gas cylinder that does not identify its contents legibly by name.
  2. All gas lines, temporary or permanent, attached to compressed gas cylinders must be labeled to identify the gas. If lines carry gas to laboratories or spaces other than the space where the cylinder is stored the lines must be labeled with appropriate color coded labels and arrows indicating direction of gas flow. Contact the Environmental, Health & Safety Office for assistance.
  3. Signs must be conspicuously posted in areas where specific hazards exist. Example: HYDROGEN – FLAMMABLE GAS – NO SMOKING – NO OPEN FLAMES

Handling and Use

  1. Cylinders in use or in storage must be secured to a wall or a bench by a strap or a chain to prevent tipping.
  2. Cylinders must be properly capped when not in use (i.e. connected to equipment). Regulators must be removed when cylinders are moved or stored.
  3. Cylinders containing flammable gases (ex: hydrogen, acetylene) must be stored in areas free of open flames, electrical sparks or other potential sources of ignition. Always store cylinders in well ventilated spaces. Never store acetylene cylinders on their side.
  4. Store oxidizers, such as oxygen, in spaces segregated from flammable gases (minimum of 50 feet separation or behind a wall with a minimum half hour fire rating). Oily or greasy material must not be stored near oxygen.  Never apply oil or grease to fittings.
  5. Cylinder valves must be accessible. Close valves when equipment is not in use or is unattended. Besides preventing accidental release this practice prevents corrosion and contamination which could result from diffusion of air and moisture into the cylinder after it is empty.
  6. Always pay attention to the specific tools, valves and washers provided by the gas supplier. Some valves may require washers. Use wrenches supplied by the vendor. Never use pliers.
  7. Open valves slowly. Oxygen valves should be fully opened. When opening a valve on a cylinder containing irritating or toxic gas, the user must position the cylinder with the valve pointing away from them and warn nearby coworkers.
  8. Regulators are gas specific and may not be interchangeable. Always be sure fittings are compatible. After attaching the regulator open the cylinder valve until the regulator gauge indicates pressure (no more than one full turn). Connections can be checked for leaks using a soap solution. Never use oil or grease on the regulator of a cylinder valve.
  9. Be sure that tubing or piping material is compatible with the gas being used.  Examples: Never use copper piping for acetylene or plastic plumbing for any part of a high pressure connection.  Don’t use cast iron pipe for chlorine. When designing distribution lines do not conceal lines where a high concentration of leaking hazardous gas can accumulate and cause an accident. Clearly label distribution lines and outlets with the type of gas contained. Periodically check piping and fittings for leaks with soap solution.
  10. Compressed gas cylinders should never be emptied to a pressure lower than 172 kPa (25 psi/in2). The residual contents may become contaminated if the valve is left open. When work with the gas is completed, close the cylinder valve and, if possible, bleed the lines.
  11. Empty cylinders must be labeled as Empty.  The regulator must be removed and the valve cap replaced before moving the cylinder to storage. Store empty cylinders in a separate area from full cylinders.
  12. Where the possibility of flow reversal exists, the cylinder discharge lines must have approved check valves to prevent contamination.
  13. Liquid bulk containers may be used in laboratories where high volumes of gas are required.  These cylinders usually have several valves on the top of the cylinder which must be clearly labeled as to function. These cylinders will vent their contents if a preset internal pressure is reached. They must be stored and used in service areas with adequate ventilation and climate controls. If liquid fractions are removed from cylinders, proper hand and eye protection must be worn and the liquid fraction must be collected in a Dewar flask.
  14. Always wear eye and face protection when handling and using compressed gas, especially when connecting and disconnecting regulators and lines.
  15. All compressed gas cylinders, including lecture bottles, must be returned to the supplier when empty or no longer in use.

Transportation of Cylinders

Special care is required when transporting compressed gas cylinders because of the risk inherent in storing gases under pressure.

  1. The cylinder valve must be protected. The cover cap must be secured on the cylinder hand tight and left there until the cylinder is secured and ready for use.
  2. Never roll or drag cylinders. Always use an appropriate cylinder cart or dolly.
  3. When moving large cylinders always strap them to the transport cart.
  4. Handle one cylinder at a time.

Cryogenic Liquids

Additional hazards are present when cryogenic liquids are used in laboratories. Employees must be trained to recognize and respond to these hazards before handling cryogenic liquids.  Transfer must be supervised by an experienced technician.

  1. Fires/Explosions:
    • Never use liquid nitrogen or liquid air to cool a flammable mixture. oxygen can condense and lead to a potentially explosive condition.
    • Always ensure that adequate ventilation exists to prevent the accumulation of flammable gases (hydrogen, methane, acetylene)
    • Explosive conditions can develop if oxygen is condensed from the atmosphere in the presence of nitrogen, helium, or hydrogen.
  2. Pressure: Never fill pressure vessels to more than 80% of capacity. Thermal expansion can result in rupture of the vessel due to hydrostatic pressure.
  3. Embrittlement of Structural Materials: Use impact resistant containers designed to withstand extremely low temperatures.
  4. Contact with and Destruction of Living Tissue: Thermal burns (frost bite) can result from very brief exposure of skin to cryogenic liquids. Prolonged contact can result in blood clots with very serious potential consequences. Always wear gloves, goggles and a face shield to prevent skin or eye contact. Gloves must be impervious to the liquid being handled and loose enough to be thrown off quickly.
  5. Axphyxiation: When the liquid form of some gases mixes with air, oxygen may be displaced. To avoid potential oxygen deficiency or asphyxiation, always work with these gases in a properly ventilated area. Read the SDS and be fully informed of the properties, hazards and signs and symptoms of exposure to these gases.