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Chemical Hygiene Program


The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), recognizing the unique characteristics and hazards of laboratory workplaces, tailored a regulation for occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in research, educational and diagnostic laboratories. The regulation covers all laboratories engaged in the use of chemicals as defined by this standard. The obligation to maintain employee exposures at or below the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) specified in State and federal air contaminants standards is retained. The regulation does not apply to laboratory use of hazardous chemicals which provide no potential for employee exposure such as procedures utilizing chemically-impregnated test media and commercially-prepared test kits.

Applicable University Policy

Policy VI-13.00A - UMD Policy on Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories

Applicable Regulations

  • 29 CFR 1910.1450 Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
  • 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication (portions)

Summary of Requirements

  • The employer must periodically monitor the employee's exposure to any substance regulated by a standard which requires monitoring if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for that substance exceed the PEL or specified Action Level. The employer must notify the employee of the monitoring results within 15 working days after receipt of the monitoring results.
  • All employees working in laboratories subject to the regulation must receive training.
  • Each laboratory must develop and implement a written Chemical Hygiene Plan that addresses all pertinent health and safety considerations.
  • Employees who work with hazardous materials must be given the opportunity to receive medical attention, including any follow-up examinations deemed necessary by the examining licensed physician, when there is cause to believe that a significant chemical exposure has occurred. Medical examinations and follow-ups must be provided without cost to the employee, without loss of pay and at a reasonable time and place.
  • Labels on containers of hazardous materials must not be removed or defaced until the container is empty or if refilled with a different substance.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) must be made available for all hazardous substances in the laboratory. If SDSs are received by the laboratory, they must be retained and made available to the laboratory employees.
  • Standard Operating Procedures addressing specific health and safety considerations for processes involving hazardous substances must be developed and implemented.
  • Where the use of respirators is necessary to maintain exposures below PELs, the employer must provide, at no cost to the employee, the proper respiratory protection equipment and comply with provisions of the Respiratory Protection Standard.
  • Lab Managers must forward a copy of their Chemical Hygiene Plans to ESSR and departmental Compliance Officers.


The employer must provide employees with information and training to ensure that they are aware of the hazards of the chemicals present in their work area. This information must be provided at the time of an employee's initial assignment to a laboratory work area where hazardous chemicals are present and prior to assignments involving new exposure situations.

Employees must be informed of:

  • the contents of this standard and its appendices.
  • the location and availability of the employer's Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • the Permissible Exposure Limits for OSHA/MOSH regulated substances or the Recommended Exposure Limits for other hazardous chemicals if no applicable exposure standards apply.
  • signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory.
  • the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area.
  • methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical.
  • the location and availability of known reference material on the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory including, but not limited to, SDSs received from chemical suppliers.
  • the applicable details of the employer's written Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • the location and availability of Standard Operating Procedures for work in the laboratory involving use of hazardous substances.


The employer must establish and maintain for each employee an accurate record of any measurements taken to monitor employee exposure. Medical records regarding examinations and consultations must be maintained, including written opinions and results of any testing performed.

Written Program

The employer must develop and implement provisions of a written Chemical Hygiene Plan. The Plan must include the work practices, procedures and policies to ensure that employees are protected from all potentially hazardous chemicals in use in their work area. The Plan must be available to all employees, employee representatives and to the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. A copy of the plan must be forwarded to ESSR and Compliance Officers.

University Resources

Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (301) 405-3960
    (exposure monitoring, training, chemical hazard reference data)
ESSR Fax No.    (301) 314-9294
University Health Center (medical examinations) (301) 314-8172
ESSR Website:

Written 5/98
Revised 4/05