Laboratory Safety

Laboratory operations can be dangerous, whether you are working with hazardous materials or equipment or just performing common laboratory procedures. Every day there are incidents that occur in teaching and research laboratories on campuses across the country. Although many accidents are minor, there are also serious cases, including fatalities. There have been multiple incidents in CCNY laboratories over the years. Our goal is to reduce that number and reduce accidental injuries.

In collaboration with CUNY, EHOS provides a Chemical Hygiene Plan, which is required to be available in all laboratories that handle chemicals. EHOS has also prepared manuals specifically for CCNY.  Our manuals promote safe and practical laboratory procedures, including information on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and emergency procedures, and incident response.  It is important to recognize that this manual does not cover all the risks and hazards in every laboratory.  You may also review our Lab Self Inspection Checklist.  There are a wide variety of hazardous materials handled in laboratories at CCNY. CUNY expects each Principal Investigator (PI) to fully append any supplementary safety information to this manual pertinent to their specific laboratory.

The new Emergency Response Guide has been prepared for use and display in all lab spaces. Responsible parties should print out or otherwise make this poster visible in lab areas.

Chemical Hygiene

All laboratories which use chemicals are required to abide by the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 1910.1450), Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories; commonly known as the Laboratory Safety Standard. EHOS has developed a Chemical Hygiene Plan to give PIs and lab supervisors directions for complying with this regulation. The Chemical Hygiene Plan provides the basic requirements for CCNY laboratories and is not intended to be used as a primary reference. For a complete reference, see the OSHA Standard for Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.⧉

Spill Response

Chemical spills can pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of persons involved or nearby. If a spill occurs and it cannot be easily contained or is known to be hazardous, immediately contact the EHOS office at (212) 650-5080 or Public Safety at (212) 650-7777. The EHOS office recommends that all lab personnel be made familiar with the Laboratory Chemical Spill Guide to know how to best respond to the different types of chemical spills. For biological spills, refer to the EHOS Bloodborne Pathogen documentation.

Standard Operating Procedures

Particularly hazardous chemical agents, processes, and necessary safety measures specific to a laboratory must be documented with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are kept on location. These documents are required as instructive guides for laboratory personnel and as process documentation for auditing purposes. SOPs may be obtained from other organizations, but PIs are encouraged to develop their own SOPs, especially for chemical mixtures and procedures specific to their location. EHOS has provided a template intended for the documentation of non-biological processes that may be downloaded at the following address: CCNY Standard Operating Procedure Template

The EHOS department also maintains a library of SOPs available at the request of hazardous material users.

For BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories that require SOPs, additional information is required. See the EHOS Biological Safety page for further guidance.

Last Updated: 08/30/2023 15:27