OSHA offers resource on lab safety

With a myriad of potential hazards, laboratories need a complex array of safety measures. They must develop a Chemical Hygiene Plan, detailing how they will minimize the risk of exposure to chemicals, monitor the workplace and respond to exposures. Beyond the Laboratory Standard, there are a number of other regulatory standards that impact labs, including respiratory protection, hazard communications, control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) and personal protective equipment.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed guidance documents and fact sheets to help employers comply with the standard and address the hazards.

The OSHA documents provide a useful review of laboratory safety, says Bruce Cunha, RN, MS, COHN-S, manager of employee health and safety at the Marshfield (WI) Clinic. But he also notes that automated systems in labs have greatly reduced the potential for exposure.

OSHA's guidance is available at http://1.usa.gov/twJZjh