Physics Chemical Hygiene Plan


Chemical Hygiene Plan


This Chemical Hygiene Plan was developed in response to the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulation, Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in the Laboratory (29 CFR 1910.1450), commonly referred to as the "Laboratory Standard".

The purpose of the Chemical Hygiene Plan is to provide guidelines for prudent work practices and procedures for the laboratory use of chemicals, and to protect laboratory workers from the potential health hazards of the chemicals they encounter in the workplace.

All laboratory workers must be made aware of this plan. New employees should review the plan and receive safety training before beginning work with hazardous chemicals. The plan is available to all laboratory workers at all times.

Scope and Application

The Laboratory Standard covers employees who work with hazardous chemicals in laboratories. At Princeton University, this program applies to all individuals working with hazardous chemicals in science and engineering laboratories. Work with hazardous chemicals outside of laboratories is covered by the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). See Hazard Communication for more information.

Roles and Responsibilities

Department Chemical Hygiene Officer

James Kukon is the Chemical Hygiene Officer for the Department of Physics and is responsible for developing and implementing this Chemical Hygiene Plan. The Chemical Hygiene Officer is also responsible for the following:

  • Review and update the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually.
  • Investigate accidents and chemical exposures within the department.
  • Act as a liaison between the Physics Department and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) for laboratory safety issues.
  • Maintain records of training, exposure monitoring and medical examinations.
  • Ensure laboratory workers receive chemical and procedure-specific training.
  • Approve laboratory workers return to work following a chemical exposure requiring medical consultation.
  • Review and approve use of particularly hazardous substances.
Principal Investigators
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Provide consultation for safe work practices for hazardous chemicals
  • Provide general training.
  • Provide safe working guidelines for laboratory workers through the EHS web page.
  • Inspect fume hoods annually
  • Develop and maintain the EHS Website.
  • Conduct exposure monitoring, as needed.
  • Audit the departmental program periodically.
  • Review the model Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually
  • Conduct limited laboratory safety inspections annually
Laboratory Worker
  • Attend laboratory safety training.
  • Review the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Follow procedures and laboratory practices outlined in the Chemical Hygiene Plan and the EHS Website.
  • Adhere to all University and departmental safety policies and procedures and comply with safety directives issued by supervisors and principal investigators.
  • Use engineering controls and personal protective equipment, as appropriate.
  • Report all incidents, accidents and potential chemical exposures to the principal investigator and the Chemical Hygiene Officer.
  • Document specific operating procedures for work with particularly hazardous substances, including carcinogens, reproductive toxins and chemicals with high acute toxicity.

Chemical and Hazard Identification

Chemical manufacturers or distributors perform an assessment of the physical and health hazards of each chemical they produce. This information is included in a safety data sheet (SDS) and, in part, on container labels.

The manufacturer's label should be kept intact. When a chemical is transferred to another container for storage, the new containers should be labeled with the name of the product, the chemical constituents and hazard warnings.

Safety data sheets received with chemical shipments must be maintained and readily accessible to laboratory workers. SDSs received with chemical shipments should be placed in the Chemical Hygiene Plan binder maintained in each laboratory. Additional SDSs are available in room B16 in the two-drawer cabinet marked Material Safety Data Sheets..

SDSs for most laboratory chemicals may be found through various manufacturer websites and other online resources. Please see the SDS link on the EHS Website for more information.

Several laboratory chemical information resources are available in the Chemistry library. Additional chemical safety resources are available through the EHS Chemical Safety web page.

Standard Operating Procedures

The EHS website provides general principles for working safely with hazardous chemicals. Principal investigators, laboratory managers and laboratory workers are encouraged to develop and implement more detailed guidelines for specific operations and chemicals in their laboratories.

Controlling Chemical Exposure

The following criteria are used to determine and implement control measures to reduce exposures to hazardous chemicals.

Exposure Monitoring

Exposure monitoring is conducted by EHS upon request if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for a particular substance may routinely exceed either the action level or the permissible exposure limit set forth by OSHA, NIOSH, or ACGIH. Individuals may contact EHS directly at 609-258-5294 or notify the Chemical Hygiene Officer James Kukon.

Results of the monitoring will be made available by EHS to the individual(s) monitored, their supervisors, and the Chemical Hygiene Officer within 15 working days of the receipt of analytical results.

Based on the monitoring results, periodic monitoring may be scheduled at the discretion of EHS, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local regulations.

Control Measures

Engineering controls are the primary means of control for exposure to hazardous chemicals. Local ventilation, including fume hoods, ducted biosafety cabinets, glove boxes, vented storage cabinets, and vented canopies are the most common types of engineering controls. Upon request, EHS provides assistance in determining the appropriate type of engineering controls for specific operations.

Protective equipment, including gloves, face shields, safety glasses, safety goggles, lab coats and aprons, are used when engineering controls are not sufficient to adequately control exposure. Specifically, this equipment is used to prevent exposure to the skin or eyes. Personal protective equipment is carefully selected to ensure that it is compatible with the chemicals used. Information about selection of appropriate protective equipment is available on the EHS Website.

When feasible engineering controls are not adequate to reduce inhalation exposure to acceptable levels, a respirator may be used to minimize exposure to airborne contaminants. Use of a respirator is subject to approval by EHS and must be in accordance with the University Respiratory Protection Policy. See Respirator Use for more information.

Administrative Controls

It may be necessary to supplement engineering controls and protective equipment with administrative controls, such as restricting access to an area, restricting use of particular chemicals to a limited group of people, or limiting the length of exposure.

Fume Hood Performance Evaluation

Laboratory fume hoods are evaluated at least annually by EHS technical staff. An inspection sticker is affixed to each hood to document the evaluation and to provide information to the hood user regarding the measured performance of the hood. Each fume hood is equipped with at least one type of continuous monitoring device designed to provide the user with current information on the operational status of the hood. The Fume Hoods section of the EHS Website has more information about the safe operation of laboratory hoods and the hood survey program.

In the event that a hood does not appear to be operating properly, hood users may contact EHS at 609-258-5294 for a performance evaluation. Routine maintenance and repairs of fume hoods are conducted by Special Facilities. Hood users may route requests for hood repair directly to Handy Seldon of Special Facilities at 609-258-4356. EHS does not initiate maintenance or ensure that it is completed. Upon request, EHS will re-inspect the fume hood following maintenance or repairs.

Information and Training

All laboratory workers must receive laboratory safety training when they are first assigned to a work area where hazardous chemicals are present and before assignments involving new exposure situations. General laboratory safety training is provided by EHS. More specific training for particular materials or operations in a particular work area is provided by the Principal Investigators, laboratory managers and teaching assistants.

EHS Laboratory Safety Training

EHS provides Laboratory Safety Training sessions each semester and by request. Contact EHS 609-258-5294 to request a training session.

The general training offered by EHS covers the following topics:

  1. An overview of the OSHA Laboratory Standard. Full text of the standard is available on the web at OSHA Laboratory Standard.
  2. The content and availability of the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Laboratory Safety web pages.
  3. The availability of material safety data sheets and how to use them.
  4. An explanation of permissible exposure limits for chemicals
  5. An overview of methods to recognize hazards, how to evaluate hazards, and common methods to prevent and control exposure
  6. The use, function and selection of personal protective equipment
  7. Emergency procedures for fire, injury, chemical exposure, and chemical spill situations
  8. Chemical waste disposal procedures at Princeton University.
Departmental Information and Training

Each laboratory worker must be made aware of the following information:

  • Location of the Chemical Hygiene Plan: The Department of Physics Chemical Hygiene Plan is kept in each laboratory, the Chemical Hygiene Officer’s office (room B16) and the EHS and Department of Physics web pages.
  • Nature and potential health and safety risks of specific hazardous substances used by the laboratory worker. Each Principal Investigator ensures that each individual working in his or her laboratory understands the hazards of and how to properly handle the materials in the laboratory.
  • Proper handling, under all circumstances, of hazardous substances used in the laboratory. Same as above.
  • Location and availability of reference materials, including material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for hazardous chemicals used or stored in the laboratory.
Training Records

EHS maintains a database of attendance for training sessions given by EHS. The Department of Physics attendance records for EHS training sessions and in-house training are maintained by Geoffrey Gettelfinger in the department office.

Prior Approval for Laboratory Procedures

Individuals planning to use Particularly Hazardous Substances, as described later in this document, must complete a Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval Form and have it approved by the Principal Investigator or supervisor and the departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer prior to their initial use of the substance. Forms can be dowloaded from the web.

Responsibility for determining whether a chemical is a Particularly Hazardous Substance rests jointly with the supervisor and the individual planning to use the substance.

Medical Examinations and Consultations

Medical Consultation Policy

Laboratory workers should seek medical attention from University Health Services at McCosh under the following conditions:

  1. If the individual experiences signs or symptoms associated with a hazardous chemical to which he or she may have been exposed in the laboratory
  2. Where exposure monitoring reveals an exposure level routinely above the OSHA action level or permissible exposure limit
  3. Whenever a spill, leak, explosion or other occurrence results in the likelihood of a hazardous exposure to a laboratory worker
All medical exams will be performed by or under the direction of University Health Services at McCosh staff and provided at no cost to the worker, without loss of pay.

Incident Reporting

In the event of any incident that results in a possible overexposure to a chemical, regardless of whether any signs or symptoms of exposure are noted, the labortory worker should report to University Health Services Immediately. The laboratory worker or delegate should report the incident to EHS immediately. If after hours, report the incident to Public Safety and EHS will be contacted. 

Medical Consultation Procedure

In an emergency situation, the laboratory worker should immediately be taken to McCosh Health Center or Princeton Medical Center, as appropriate. Public Safety may be contacted at 911 for transportation. For a non-emergency exposure situation, the laboratory worker or supervisor should contact University Health Services at McCosh at 609-258-5035 to schedule an appointment.

The laboratory worker, supervisor, or Chemical Hygiene Officer must provide the physician with the identity of the hazardous chemicals encountered in the workplace and the conditions by which the worker was exposed. If available, the safety data sheet or other safety information resource should be provided to the physician.

The examining physician will submit a written opinion to the laboratory worker and the Chemical Hygiene Officer using the Medical Consultation Form. The opinion shall not reveal any specific findings or diagnoses unrelated to the occupational exposure. The opinion will include the following information:

  1. Recommendations for further medical follow-up;
  2. Results of the medical examination, and any test results;
  3. Any medical condition revealed during the examination that may place the worker at increased risk as a result of exposure to the hazardous chemical found in the workplace.

Based on the physician's opinion, the Chemical Hygiene Officer shall approve the individual's return to work.

Particularly Hazardous Substances

Particularly hazardous substances are defined to include select carcinogens, reproductive toxins and substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity (such as cyanides and dimethyl mercury).

Select carcinogens include any substance that is included on any of the following lists of carcinogens:

Reproductive toxin includes any chemical that may affect the reproductive capabilities including chromosomal damage (mutations) and effects on fetuses (teratogenesis).

High acute toxicity includes any chemical that falls within any of the following categories:

  • A chemical with a median lethal dose (LD50) of 50 mg or less per kg of body weight when administered orally to certain test populations
  • A chemical with an LD50 of 200 mg or less per kg of body weight when administered by continuous contact for 24 hours (or less if death occurs within 24 hours) to certain test populations
  • A chemical with a median lethal concentration (LC50) in air of 200 parts per million (ppm) by volume or less of gas or vapor, or 2 mg per liter or less of mist, fume, or dust, when administered to certain test populations by continuous inhalation for one hour, provided such concentration and/or condition are likely to be encountered by humans when the chemical is used in any reasonably foreseeable manner.

A list of the more commonly used particularly hazardous substances is available at the partuclarly hazardous substances section of the EHS website, however, this list is not exhaustive. Consult the product MSDS or contact EHS for assistance in determining whether a substance is classified as particularly hazardous.

Before using a particularly hazardous substance, an individual must:

  1. Complete a Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval Form. This form is available from James Kukon or can be downloaded.
  2. Submit the completed form to their supervisor or Principal Investigator for approval.
  3. Submit the approved form to the departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer for his or her approval.
  4. Post the area where the substance will be used with a Designated Area sign, available from the departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer or EHS or can be downloaded.
  5. Follow the procedures outlined in the approved form and the EHS website.
The Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval Form provides documentation of the specific standard operating procedure for use of the substance. These procedures include the use of containment devices and personal protective equipment, decontamination procedures and procedures for safe removal of contaminated waste.

Laboratory Inspections and Audits

Laboratory Inspections

EHS technicians conduct a limited laboratory inspection at the time of the fume hood performance evaluation. A summary of the inspection results and copies of the inspection forms are provided to the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguisher are inspected monthly by Building Services personnel. Should a fire extinguisher be used, or if the inspection is out-of-date, e-mail or call Otto Meilick at 609-258-0556.

Safety Showers and Eyewash Fountains

Special Facilities staff inspect all safety showers and eyewash fountains every six months. Contact Handy Seldon at 609-258-4356 if inspection is out-of-date or for any questions.

Department of Physics Facility Systems


There are two types of alarm systems in Jadwin Hall, a fire alarm and a security alarm. The fire alarm consists of a series of beeps.

In the event of a fire alarm, immediately evacuate the building, shutting down any hazardous equipment or processes before leaving unless doing so presents a greater hazard. Remember to close all doors. Go to the area between Jadwin and the football stadium and check in with your supervisor or the Department Manager Geoffrey Gettelfinger.

Types of Fume Hoods

The fume hood in room B8 is an auxiliary air hood with a vertical sliding sash. The remainder of the hoods in Jadwin Hall are bypass style hoods with vertical sliding sashes. Each hood is equipped with a magnehelic gauge for continuous monitoring of hood performance. Click here for more information about these hoods.

Facility Maintenance

Department of Physics personnel may obtain maintenance as follows:

  • Planned maintenance and immediate maintenance during regular work hours can be obtained by contacting Handy Seldon at 609-258-4356.
  • All emergencies involving facilities should be reported to Public Safety at 609-258-3134. The proctors will page the appropriate maintenance personnel, as necessary.
If maintenance is required in the laboratory, it is critical that there be good communications between laboratory personnel and maintenance workers in order to prevent accidents or accidental exposures to chemicals. For guidance in this area, contact EHS.

For More Information

Additional chemical safety information is available on the EHS website. The EHS web page has a plethora of safety information covering a number of topics including chemical safety, lasers, radioactive materials, electrical safety, and much more.

Contact Information

Department of Physics


For compliance with the OSHA Laboratory Standard
Revised April 2015