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
Electrical 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

Department Chemical Hygiene Officer

Sandy Silverman  is the Chemical Hygiene Officer for the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics 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 Lewis Sigler Institute and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) for laboratory safety issues.
  • Maintain records of 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
  • Ensure laboratory workers attend general lab safety training given by EHS.
  • Ensure laboratory workers understand how to work with chemicals safely. Provide lab-specific training, as required.
  • Provide laboratory workers with appropriate engineering controls and personal protective equipment needed to work safely with hazardous materials. Ensure such equipment is used correctly.
  • Ensure laboratory workers complete and submit Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval forms and submit them for approval before using any particularly hazardous substance.
  • Review and approve work with particularly hazardous substances.
  • Ensure that Material Safety Data Sheets received by the laboratory are available.
  • 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 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
  • Laboratory Worker
  • 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.
  • 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 material safety data sheet (MSDS) 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.

    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. Electronic versions are available upon request. Please contact Sandy Silverman for more information.

    MSDSs for most laboratory chemicals may be found through the EHS web page.

    A collection of MSDSs and other laboratory safety resources are maintained on the dock across from the elevator.  Additional chemical safety resources are available through the EHS 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

    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 the Chemical Hygiene Officer, Sandy Silverman.

    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, impact safety glasses, chemical splash 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.

    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 Mike Morris
    of Special Facilities at 258-3723. EHS does not initiate maintenance or ensure that it is completed. Upon request, EHS will re-inspect the fume hood following maintenance or repairs.

    The research areas of Carl Icahn Building must have the overhead lights on in order for the fume hoods to function properly.

    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 staff, and teaching assistants.

    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, evaluate hazards, and 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:

    Training Records

    EHS maintains a database of attendance for training sessions given by EHS. Lewis-Sigler Institute attendance records for in-house training are maintained by the Chemical Hygiene Officer.  Records of  laboratory-specific training provided by individual laboratories are maintained in the laboratories.

    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 Chemical Hygiene Officer.

    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 Sandy Silverman by e-mail at .  If necessary, the Chemical Hygiene Officer will coordinate a peer review.

    Medical Examinations and Consultations

    Medical Consultation Policy

    Laboratory workers should seek medical attention from McCosh Health Center under the following conditions:

      1. If the individual experiences signs or symptoms associated with a hazardous chemical that he or she may have been exposed to 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, McCosh Health Center 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 Sandy Silverman.  The form must be submitted to the Chemical Hygiene Officer (Sandy Silverman), who shall forward copies to EHS and Employee Health at McCosh Health Center.

    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 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 on 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 Sandy Silverman 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 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 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 technicians conduct a limited laboratory inspection at the time of the fume hood performance evaluation. A summary of the inspection results are provided to the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

    The Chemical Hygiene Officer conducts additional laboratory inspections at least annually.

    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 Special Facilities 258-3723 if inspection is out-of-date or for any questions.

    Lewis-Sigler Institute Facility Systems

    Fire Alarms

    Fire Alarm
    The fire alarm has a reverberating sound accompanied by flashing strobes.  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 assembly area assigned to the laboratory.  See the Lewis-Sigler Institute Emergency Action Plan for more details.

    Types of Fume Hoods

    The fume hoods in the Carl Ichan Labare variable air volume hoods with Auto-Sash combination vertical/horizontal sashes. The sashes have a counter-weighted, gravity stop feature that allow them to remain open automatically at any height. These hoods are equipped with Landis & Gyr brand flow meters.  Additionally, the research areas of Carl Icahn Building must have the overhead lights on in order for the fume hoods to function properly.

    Facility Maintenance
    Lewis-Sigler Institute personnel may obtain maintenance help in several ways:

  • Contact Facilities Customer Service at 258-8000 for immediate or planned maintenance.
  • All emergencies involving facilities should be reported to Public Safety at 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, 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.

    Contact Information

    Lewis-Sigler Institute

  • Kara Dolinski, Department Manager and Director,, 258-1895
  • Sandy Silverman, Chemical Hygiene Officer,, 258-8585
  • Ned Wingreen, Ph.D, Director,, 258-8476
  • Mike Morris, Special Facilities Supervisor,, 258-3723