CfA Safety: Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities
  • Director
  • As Chief Executive Officer, the Director of the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has ultimate responsibility for chemical hygiene within the institution and will, with other administrators, provide continuing support for institutional chemical hygiene.
  • Associate Director
  • The associate director of a department or administrative unit is responsible for chemical hygiene in that area, and must provide support for the area's chemical hygiene program.
  • Chemical Hygiene Officer
  • The Chemical Hygiene Officer(CHO) is designated by the Associate Director of each Division, and must be qualified, by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). Responsibilities include:
    1. Understanding the requirements of the Laboratory Standard and assuring his/her department or unit complies with this standard.
    2. Communicating CFA policies and OSHA regulations pertaining to the Laboratory Standard to the employees of his/her department or unit. Serving as a liaison between Environmental Health and Safety and the Department employees.
    3. Working with administrators and other employees to develop and implement appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices;
    4. Identifying substances in use which may pose significant risk to workers because of carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, or other significant hazard potential, and assisting the laboratory workers in developing standard operating procedures for the use of these substances;
    5. Periodically reviewing the status of compliance with policies for the safe conduct of work with hazardous substances;
    6. Maintaining department records of employee training, inspections, accidents, policies and chemical inventory;
    7. Advising the Safety office on programs or operations which require special attention, including: exposure assessment, medical surveillance, special engineering controls, or the use of special personal protective equipment;
    8. Referring reports of possible chemical exposure for medical consultation. Coordinating an employee's return to work on the basis of the physician's written opinion, and
    9. Reviewing and revising the Chemical Hygiene Plan annually.

    Training, information, and help with all of the above is available through the CFA Safety Office.

  • Principal Investigator
  • The principal investigator has overall responsibility for chemical hygiene in his/her laboratory, including:
    1. Ensuring that workers know and follow chemical hygiene rules, that protective equipment is in working order, and that appropriate training has been provided;


      • Chemical hygiene rules - Appendix (I) of CfA Chemical Hygiene Plan
      • Training - available upon request from the Safety Office (5-7478).

    2. Providing regular, formal chemical hygiene and housekeeping inspections, including routine inspection of emergency equipment;
    3. Resources:

      • Appendix (VIII) of CfA Chemical Hygiene Plan
      • Safety Office

    4. Knowing the current requirements concerning regulated substances;
    5. Resources:

    6. Assuring that appropriate personal protective apparel and equipment are available;
    7. Resources:

      • Material Safety Data Sheets
      • Chemical Hygiene Plan (Appendix I.2.
      • Smithsonian Safety Handbook (Chapter 7)*
      • "Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories"*

      Further information available through the Safety Office (5-7478)

    8. Ensuring that facilities and training are adequate for use of any material being ordered or process being devised;
    9. Resources:

      • "Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories"*
      • Smithsonian Safety Handbook (See Index :"Training")*
      • Training and training films available upon request from the Safety Office (5-7478)

    10. Developing and implementing a chemical labeling program which assures that all hazardous substances are correctly labeled.
    11. Resources:

      • Smithsonian Safety Handbook (See Index : "Signs and Labels")*
      • Safety Office

      * Available through the Safety Office.

      Any questions or concerns regarding safety issues, including legal concerns, may be directed to the Safety Office (5-7478).

  • Laboratory Worker
  • After receiving training, each person working with or around chemicals is responsible for knowing the hazards of the materials he/she works with and handling them in a safe manner by:
    1. Understanding the properties and hazards associated with the chemicals used before working with those chemicals. Such information may be found in the Material Safety Data Sheets or by asking the CHO or the Safety Office;
    2. Reading the Chemical Hygiene Plan and, where appropriate, the Department's Safety Manual;
    3. Planning and conducting each operation in accordance with the practices promulgated by the Chemical Hygiene Plan or Safety Manual.
    4. Assuring that all containers of chemicals are labeled with the correct name of the chemical, and
    5. Attending safety training and developing good personal chemical hygiene habits.

  • Safety Office
  • The Safety Office is responsible for providing technical assistance to the Chemical Hygiene Officers. These responsibilities include:
    1. Notifying Chemical Hygiene Officers and Associate Directors of new or updated regulation concerning Chemical Hygiene practices;
    2. Maintaining a Material Safety Data Sheet collection, and providing copies of material safety data sheets upon request;
    3. Upon request, determining whether an exposure assessment is appropriate and conducting this assessment;
    4. Conducting annual inspections of all laboratory fume hoods, as well as inspecting fume hoods and ventilation systems upon request;
    5. Providing fit testing and training for respirators;
    6. Answering questions regarding appropriate chemical safety procedures, personal protective equipment, and special engineering controls;
    7. Conducting training sessions for chemical hygiene topics upon request;
    8. Assisting Chemical Hygiene Officers in developing Chemical Hygiene Plans for their areas.

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