Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Chemical Hygiene Plan

Scope and Application
Roles and Responsibilities
Chemical and Hazard Identification
Standard Operating Procedures
Controlling Chemical Exposure
Fume Hood Performance Evaluation
Information and Training
Prior Approval for Laboratory Procedures
Medical Examinations and Consultations
Particularly Hazardous Substances
Laboratory Inspections and Audits
Chemical and Biological Engineering  Department Facility Systems
For More Information

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 Section C2 of the Princeton University Health and Safety Guide for more information about Hazard Communication.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Chemical & Biological Engineering Department is committed to providing a safe working environment to all members of the department - students, research associates, staff, and faculty.  The environmental health safety office (EHS) provides oversight for Princeton University.  They work with the Chemical and Biological Engineering Safety Team to develop safe working practices for the Department.  EHS also provides training course for safe use of chemical, hazardous materials, and worker safety.  The Chemical and Biological Engineering Safety Team provides routine oversight for the Department that safe practices are being followed, through regular meetings and presentations to the faculty and students.  Each faculty member or principal researcher investigator in the department is responsible to make sure the people working for them have been properly trained, and follow safe procedures in the laboratory.  Ultimately it is the individual laboratory workers responsibility that they establish and follow safe laboratory practices.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

  • The Department of Environmental Health and Safety provides oversight, guidance and training to protect all university workers from physical, mechanical, electrical and chemical hazards in the workplace. They may be contacted for any questions regarding worker safety. Stephen Elwood and Brandon Chance provide specific oversight of chemical safety. They are responsible for the following:
    • 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 Laboratory Safety Manual
    • 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
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering Safety Personnel

    Professor Robert Prud'homme is the Chemical Hygiene Officer and Sharon Malley is the Department Safety Manager for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  Together they are responsible for developing and implementing this Chemical Hygiene Plan. The CHO and Safety Manager are 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 Chemical & Biological Engineering 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
    Principal investigators are responsible that all workers, students, research assistants and visitors are adequately trained and protected from hazards. Principal investigators are also responsible for the following:
    Laboratory Worker
    All laboratory workers are responsible to follow all safety protocols for their own protection and the protection of their fellow workers. All laboratory workers are responsible for the following:
    • Attend laboratory safety training.
    • Review the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
    • Follow procedures and laboratory practices outlined in the Chemical Hygiene Plan and the Laboratory Safety Manual
    • 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

    Hazard Identification and Use of Chemicals

    All laboratory workers should be aware of the properties and potential hazards of chemicals they use in the laboratory.  Chemical manufacturers or distributors perform an assessment of the physical and health hazards of each chemical they produce.  This information is included in a material safety data sheet (MSDS) and, in part, on container labels.  Laboratory workers should always read the MSDS for a material before using it for the first time.  They should also keep a copy of MSDS sheets on file in the laboratory for reference.

    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. Stock chemical labels are available from the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department for identifying new reagent containers. Yellow hazardous waste labels are available in the SEAS stockroom or from EHS.

    Material safety data sheets received with chemical shipments must be maintained.  Laboratory personnel who receive an MSDS should keep the original MSDS in the laboratory. Copies of MSDS sheets go to purchasing agents in EQuad and Hoyt. Copies for EQuad are placed in the file cabinet in the Graduate Student Lounge and for Hoyt they are place in the safety cabinet located in the break room.

    Most chemical suppliers do not send MSDS sheets with every shipment (they generally only send one copy to the University).  MSDSs for most laboratory chemicals may be found through the EHS web page.  If an MSDS sheet did not come with an order the laboratory worker should print out a hard copy and keep it in the lab.

    A collection of MSDSs and other laboratory safety resources are maintained in the Graduate Student Lounge.  Additional chemical safety resources are available through the EHS Lab Safety web page.

    Standard Operating Procedures

    The Laboratory Safety Manual on the EHS web page 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

    Safe laboratory practices attempt to limit the exposure of chemical hazards to the laboratory worker.  In devising procedures the worker should be aware of what is a safe exposure, and proper handling techniques.  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. Individuals may contact EHS directly at x8-5294 or notify Sharon Malley.

    Results of the monitoring will be made available by EHS to the individual(s) monitored, their supervisors, and Sharon Malley 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 in the Laboratory Safety Manual.

    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 Section C4 of the Princeton University Health and Safety Guide 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.  Laboratory and office space should be separately as much as possible to minimize inadvertent chemical exposure.  Chemicals should only be stored and used in the laboratory.  Food and beverage should never be brought into or consumed in the laboratory.

    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. Section 6.2 of the Laboratory Safety Manual 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 x8-5294 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 Special Facilities at 258-4565.  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 or delegate.  All laboratory workers are required to attend a presentation describing the Chemical and Biological Engineering Chemical Hygiene Plan, and take a quiz demonstrating they understand the basic requirements of laboratory safety.

    When terminating association with Princeton all laboratory workers must have a final laboratory inspection by the Chemical Hygiene Officer or Departmental Safety Coordinator.  At that inspection the laboratory worker must show that the lab has been cleaned and all chemicals have been properly disposed of, either by hazardous waste disposal or a signed statement must show another individual has taken responsibility.

    EHS Laboratory Safety Training

    EHS provides Laboratory Safety Training sessions each semester and by request. Contact Brandon Chance at x8-7882 or Kyle Angjelo at x8-2711 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
      2. The content and availability of the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Laboratory Safety Manual
      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 new laboratory worker must attend a Chemical and Biological Engineering Safety Seminar, offered annually.  Each laboratory worker must be made aware of the following information:

  • Location of the Chemical Hygiene Plan: The Chemical Hygiene Plan for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is maintained in hard copy in each laboratory, in the Graduate Student Lounge and on the EHS web page.
  • 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. The PI maintains relevant files in the laboratory.
  • Proper handling, under all circumstances, of hazardous substances used in the laboratory.  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. The PI maintains relevant files in the laboratory.
  • 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, attendance records are available upon request. The Chemical and Biological Engineering Department attendance records for in-house trainings are maintained by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and in room A217.

    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 are available from the department manager and 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.

    Peer Review

    Any laboratory worker who is concerned about safety considerations involving a particular apparatus, experiment or chemical should contact Sharon Malley by e-mail at  If necessary, she will coordinate a peer review.

    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

    If service is not available at McCosh at the time of an incident, the laboratory worker should contact Public Safety and seek attention at the nearest medical facility (Princeton Medical Center).

    All medical exams will be performed by or under the direction of University Health Services 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 or whether the laboratory worker seeks medical attention, the laboratory worker should complete a Report of Possible Chemical Overexposure Form.  Forms may be obtained on-line or from Sharon Malley or from Graduate Student Lounge.  The form must be submitted to Sharon Malley and copies forwarded to EHS and Occupational Medicine at McCosh Health Center. Completed forms are retained by Sharon Malley in the department office.

    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 McCosh Health Center at x8-5035 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 material 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 to Sharon Malley. 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 & Biological Engineering Safety Team 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 list of the more commonly used particularly hazardous substances is available in the Laboratory Safety Manual, 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 the Graduate Student Lounge or  can be downloaded.
      2. Submit the completed form to their supervisor or Principal Investigator for approval.
      3. Submit the approved form to Professor Robert Prud'homme for his approval.
      4. Post the area where the substance will be used with a Designated Area sign, available from the Graduate Student Lounge or EHS or can be downloaded.
      5. Follow the procedures outlined in the approved form and in the Laboratory Safety Manual.
    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 personnel perform conprehensive laboratroy inspections at least once per year.

    Chemical & Biological Engineering Safety Personnel conduct additional walkthroughs at least once per year to ensure that all the phones have a phone sticker, the emergency plans are updated, and each lab has an Emergency Response Guidelines book posted by the door.

    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 x8-0556.

    Safety Showers and Eyewash Fountains

    Special Facilities staff inspect all safety showers and eyewash fountains every six months. Contact Joe Laskow at 258-4563 if inspection is out-of-date or for any questions.

    Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

    If self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is used, contact EHS at x8-5294 immediately for decontamination and refilling.  SEAS staff inspect SCBA monthly.  Contact Joe Laskow at 258-4739 with any questions.

    Chemical and Biological Engineering Department Facility Systems

    There are several types of alarms in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering:

    Fire Alarm
    The fire alarm has a distinctive sound consisting of a loud, constant horn that sounds throughout the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, regardless of the location of the alarm sensor or pull box station.  The fire alarm is activated by smoke sensor or manual pull box stations.  The system is monitored by Public Safety and serviced by the University Alarm Shop.

    If the fire alarm sounds, immediately leave the building and report to the designated area assigned to the laboratory.  See the SEAS Emergency Action Plan for more details.

    Fume Hood Alarms
    Some fume hoods in Chemical & Biological Engineering are equipped with alarms.  The alarm sounds are distinctively different from the fire alarm.  Some alarms sound when the fume hood exhaust falls below a set percentage (e.g., 70% of the expected performance).  In the event of this type of alarm, lower the sash and contact Eric Litostansky at 258-4565 for maintenance.

    Some fume hoods alarm when the horizontal sash is above or below a fixed level.  These are controlled in real time by the laboratory worker.

    Vacuum Systems
    The central vacuum system serving the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is located in the basement of the building, in a mechanical room.  Their model numbers and operating instructions are recorded and maintained by the Special Facilities Maintenance group serving SEAS.

    Protection from contamination is achieved by water trapping vapors at the basement location.  However, since odors still occur at times in that location, users of the system are required to cold trap at the usage source.  The vacuum systems provide vacuum in the range of 17-25 inches mercury.

    Types of Fume Hoods

    The fume hoods in Chemical and Biological Engineering are bypass hoods with a vertical sash, equipped with magnehelic gauges for continuous monitoring of efficiency.  Some are equipped with alarms.  Some are equipped with velocity monitors.  See the Laboratory Safety Manual for more information about these hoods.

    Facility Maintenance

    Chemical and Biological Engineering Department personnel may obtain maintenance help in several ways:

  • Planned maintenance that is not of an immediate nature can be obtained by contacting Sharon Malley at x8-4650. A maintenance request form will be completed and sent to Special Facilities personnel located in Von Neumann Hall.
  • Immediate maintenance needs can be obtained by contacting either Sharon Malley at x8-4650 or Eric Litostansky, Maintenance Supervisor, at 258-4565.
  • All emergencies involving facilities should be reported to Public Safety at 258-1000. 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, see Section 13 of the Princeton University Health and Safety Guide, University Support Staff Activities in Laboratories.

    For More Information

    Additional chemical safety information is available in the Laboratory Safety Manual. 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. The School of Engineering maintains a Safety Guidebook that addresses safety procedures specific to the engineering departments.

    Contact Information

    Chemical & Biological Engineering Department

  • Professor Robert Prud'homme, Chemical Hygiene Officer,, 258-5416, A301 E-Quad
  • Sharon Malley, Department Safety Manager,, 258-4650, A217 E-Quad
  • Amy Lewis, SEAS Director, Admin and Services,, 258-8688, C-227 E-Quad
  • Bob Kennedy, SEAS Facilities Manager,, 258-4552, A134 E-Quad
  • Eric Litostansky, Special Facilities,, 258-4565, B6 VanNeumann