190 Albany Street, NW21 2nd floor
617-253-9839 (Karen Cote, EHS Coordinator)
617-253-8917 (Matt Fulton, Facilities Manager)
617-258-5473 (Nancy Masley, Administration)
Fax 617-252-1808












PSFC Chemical Hygiene Plan



Revision 16: March 17, 2015


EHS logo



Table of Contents

PART I. Getting Started 3


1.1. Purpose, Policy, and Scope

1.2. Plan Organization








2.7. PSFC Office of Environment, Safety and Health




3.        TRAINING

3.1. Training Requirements

3.2. Training Records


4.1. Basic Requirements

4.2. Chemical Safety Information Sources

PART II. General Chemical Hygiene Practices



2.1. Possible Animal Carcinogens

2.2. Corrosive Substances

2.3. Irritants

2.4. Sensitizers

2.5. Flammable, Highly Reactive and Explosive Substances

2.6. Hazardous Substances with Toxic Effects on Specific Organs

2.7. Particularly Hazardous Substances/Select Carcinogens


3.1. Preliminary Steps and Procedures

3.2. Essential Laboratory Work Practices

3.3. Additional Procedures for Work with Particularly Hazardous Substances

3.4. Additional Requirements for Work with Select Toxins

3.5. Special Precautions for Work with Hydrofluoric Acid

3.6. Special Precautions for Work with Formaldehyde

3.7 Special Precautions for Work with Nanomaterials



5.1. Laboratory Fume Hoods/Ventilation

5.2. Fire Extinguishers, Safety Showers, and Eyewash Stations

5.3. Safe Use of Warm and Cold Environmental Rooms




8.1 Waste Management Responsibility

8.2. Training

8.3. Procedures for Hazardous Waste Generators

8.4  Sink Discharges/Wastewater



10.1. Appendix II-A OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) 40

10.2. Appendix II-B ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs)

10.3. Appendix II-C How to Determine if a Chemical is a Particularly Hazardous Substance

PART III. PSFC Chemical Hygiene Policies, Practices For Lab Specific standard Operating Procedures (SOP)



2.1. SOP Title, Authors, Reviewers and Date

2.2. Scope and Applicability

2.3. Chemical Hazards

2.4. Step by Step Hazard Summary

2.5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

2.6. Special Precautions

2.7. Special Emergency Procedures

3.        APPENDICES

3.1. Appendix III-A Lab Specific SOP Template


PART IV. Additional Administrative Provisions



2.1. Laboratory and Chemical Security

2.2. PSFC Based Prior Approvals

2.3. MIT-Wide Signature Control Program for the Purchase of Certain Hazardous Materials

2.4. Purchase of Large Chemical Quantities

2.5. Purchase of Non-Returnable Gas Cylinders.

2.6. Purchase of Select Toxins


3.1. Medical Evaluation>

3.2. Medical Surveillance

3.3 Researchers with Medical Conditions

3.4 First Aid Kits


4.1. Exposure Assessment


5.1. Exposure Assessment

5.2. Medical Consultation and Examination

5.3. Training

5.4. Fume Hood Monitoring

5.5. Inspection Reports

5.6. Laboratory-Specific Policies and SOPs


6.1. Inspections and Audits

6.2 Compliance and Enforcement





         10.1  DHS List of 41 Chemicals That Require Prior Approval

         10.2 Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets - New Format

         10.3 Hazard Communication Standard Pictogram


PART I. Getting Started




1.1. Purpose, Policy, and Scope


This document constitutes the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 and regulations of the U.S. Department of Labor including 29CFR1910.1450 "Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories" (the "Laboratory Standard"). The purpose of the Plan is to describe the proper use and handling practices and procedures to be followed by employees, students, visitors, and other personnel working in each laboratory of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center to protect them from potential health and physical hazards presented by chemicals used in the workplace, and to keep chemical exposures below specified limits. While the Plan establishes work practices to promote safety in the laboratory, each individual has the first responsibility for ensuring that good health and safety practices are implemented in the laboratory. Not only does this individual responsibility promote personal well-being and the well-being of others, it also advances MIT's commitment to excellence in research.


Policy and Scope

It is the policy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (as represented by the MIT Corporation and the Office of the President) to provide a safe and healthy workplace in compliance with OSHA regulations including the "Laboratory Standard" referenced above. A link to the full OSHA Laboratory Standard is included in Part I. Section 4.1. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan. This Plan which is located on-line and can be accessed at applies to all laboratories in the PSFC, conducted in buildings NW14, NW15, NW16, NW17, NW20, NW21, and NW22, and all personnel who supervise or work in these labs. For the PSFC, this Plan also applies to non-laboratory areas, and the additional special provisions to ensure these non-laboratory areas are in compliance with OSHA regulations pertaining to the Hazard Communication Standard are included in Part IV, Section 7 of this Plan.


  1.2. Plan Organization

Part I. Getting Started contains the basic, minimal information laboratory personnel need to know before using hazardous chemicals. It is designed to get laboratory personnel directly to the relevant information they need before beginning their laboratory work. This Part contains the purpose, policy, and scope of the Plan, and defines the roles and responsibilities for developing and implementing the Plan. Requirements for training and chemical information available to personnel are also detailed here.


Part II. General Chemical Hygiene Practices contains the minimum required precautions and standard operating procedures for working with laboratory chemicals in MIT laboratories. These precautions address broad classes of chemicals.  This Part contains chemical hazard and risk assessment information, and general procedures for safe chemical management addressing the purchase, use, labeling, storage, disposal and shipping of chemicals.  This Part also discusses common controls for safe use of chemicals including administrative and engineering controls.


Part III. PSFC Specific Chemical Hygiene Practices or Lab Specific Standard Operating Procedures contains standard operating procedures generated by the PSFC CHO or by a specific laboratory for specialized materials, procedures, or practices related to chemical use that are not adequately addressed in Part II. of this Plan. This Part is provided to enable individual Department, Laboratories, or Centers or individual laboratories to customize this Chemical Hygiene Plan for their specific operations and hazards. A Lab Specific SOP Template is contained in this Part to provide assistance to laboratory personnel generating specific safety procedures.


Part IV. Additional Administrative Provisions contains information and procedures essential to a successful chemical hygiene program that address activities other than the direct handling and use of hazardous chemicals. These additional administrative provisions include information on MIT's Environment, Health and Safety Management System; prior approval and procurement requirements; medical evaluations and assessments; record keeping; laboratory inspections and audits; compliance and enforcement; and other related federal regulations that impact chemical use at MIT.




An essential component of any chemical hygiene program is to clearly articulate and clarify the different roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders who work or visit in areas where chemicals are present. Clarifying roles and responsibilities for implementing the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) will establish accountability, streamline processes, enhance safety, and avoid confusion and questions in meeting the Plan's objectives.


2.1. The Plasma Science and Fusion Center Director (PSFC) is Professor Dennis Whyte.

      The PSFC Director has the final responsibility for the safety and health of the employees, students and visitors conducting work in the PSFC and visitors. He shall:

A.    Ensure the Chemical Hygiene Plan is written, and updated.

B.    Appoint the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO). The individual selected must be qualified by training or experience to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of this written Chemical Hygiene Plan. This individual must have appropriate authority to assist with implementation and administration of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

C.    Provide or obtain administrative and financial support, as needed, for implementing and maintaining the Chemical Hygiene Plan and the requirements of the Plan.



 The CHEMICAL HYGIENE OFFICER for PSFC is Karen Cote. She shall:

A.    Know and understand the requirements of the OSHA Laboratory Standard regulation (29CFR 1910.1450) and the PSFC Chemical Hygiene Plan.

B.    Oversee the implementation of the CHP in the PSFC and assist Principal Investigators or Supervisors (PI/Supervisors) with implementing the Chemical Hygiene Plan within their laboratory.

C.    Ensure the Plan is distributed or made available to all in the PSFC who are impacted by the Plan.

D.    Submit one copy of the CHP electronically to the MIT Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office for reference use and to facilitate the annual update process.

E.    Advise Principal Investigators or Supervisors concerning adequate facilities, controls, and procedures for work with unusually hazardous chemicals.

F.    Seek ways to improve the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

G.    Review and update the Chemical Hygiene Plan annually, when directed by the EHS Office.

H.    Support the EHS Coordinator, as needed, with inspection and audit activities and other requirements of the EHS Management System, such as the Space Registration Database.

I.            Participate in investigation of serious accidents involving hazardous chemicals, acting as a liaison to the EHS Office.

J.      Participate in investigation of serious accidents involving hazardous chemicals, acting as a liaison to the EHS Office.

K.     Assist PI/Supervisors, as needed, with obtaining services or supplies and equipment for correcting chemical hygiene problems or addressing chemical hygiene needs.

L.     Ensure periodic exposure monitoring requirements are met and maintain monitoring records.

M.    If requested, review proposed experiments or Lab Specific SOPs for significant environment, health, and safety issues, and/or contact the EHS Office to address concerns.

N.     Co-Chair the PSFC-EHS Committee with the EHS Coordinator.

O.   Attend annual CHO meeting conducted by the EHS Office.



 Karen Cote, EHS Coordinator shall:

A.    Provide assistance to the CHO, if appropriate and as requested, with developing and implementing the PSFC Chemical Hygiene Plan.

B.    Be familiar with the PSFC Chemical Hygiene Plan.

C.    Compile information from the laboratory for the EHS Space Registration Database.

D.    Ensure routine inspections are conducted in the laboratory areas.

E.    Participate in biannual inspections of laboratory operations.

F.    Ensure PSFC staff receives training required by regulation for safe handling and proper disposal of chemicals and that the training is documented.

G.    Serve as contact point for arranging special studies or support from the EHS Office.

H.    Act as a contact for Building Services and Repair and Maintenance staff to address concerns regarding safety for work in the laboratory area.

I.      Ensure appropriate local records are collected and maintained for inspections, inspection follow-up, and lab-specific training for three years.

J.     Arrange for decommissioning of laboratory space.




A.    Be familiar with this Chemical Hygiene Plan and ensure that all work is conducted in accordance with requirements of this Plan. They should contact the CHO for advice and assistance regarding this Plan and implementing the provisions of this Plan when needed.

B.    Assess all chemicals in the research laboratories under their purview, and ensure measures are established for safe use, storage, and disposal of the hazardous chemicals within the laboratory.  Such measures include:

1.     Preparing additional, Lab Specific SOPs for work with potentially hazardous chemicals, equipment or processes when needed. See Part II. Section 3 for more information on when additional XLab Specific SOPs are required.

2.     Providing personal protective equipment needed for safe handling of the chemicals.

3.     Providing proper containers, containment, and cabinetry for safe storage of materials.

4.   Defining the location and processes where particularly hazardous substances will be used, ensuring these areas are labeled, and ensuring that an inventory of these substances is maintained.

5. Pay particular attention and conduct a risk assessment for all work that researchers are conducting alone. Ensure that all personnel abide by the PSFC Policy on Working alone.

C.    Ensure new processes or experiments involving hazardous materials are planned carefully and appropriate hazard information, safety equipment, and  general or Lab Specific SOPs are available prior to commencing work. Always seek to minimize the amount of hazardous chemicals purchased and used for experiments or processes.

D.    Ensure the information regarding the laboratory activities recorded in the Space Registration Database is accurate. This should include emergency contact information to be used in the generation of emergency "green card" laboratory door signs.

E.    Plan for accidents and ensure that appropriate supplies are in place and procedures are established for responding to an accident, including cleaning up chemical spills.

F.    Ensure all employees working in the laboratory receive required training for work with potentially hazardous chemical, including lab-specific training on the hazardous materials that they use.  See Part I. Section 3.  Follow procedures for documenting the lab-specific training.

G.    Ensure that all personnel obtain medical examinations and participate in the MIT medical surveillance program when required due to the materials they are working with.

H.    Monitor the safety performance of the staff to ensure that the required safety equipment, practices and techniques are understood and are being employed and ensure that action is taken to correct work practices that may lead to chemical exposures or releases.

I.      When needed, contact the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office to arrange for workplace air samples, swipes or other tests to determine the amount and nature of airborne and/or surface contamination, inform employees and students of the results, and use data to aid in the evaluation and maintenance of appropriate laboratory conditions.

J.     Ensure laboratory inspections are conducted routinely, and address all areas prescribed in the Level I. and II. Inspections as outlined in Part IV. Section 6. Take action to correct conditions that may lead to accidents or exposure to hazardous chemicals, and to correct problems identified during inspections. See Part IV. Section 6. for more information.

K.    Ensure employees who suspect they may have received an excessive exposure to a hazardous chemical report to the MIT Medical Department for assessment.  Such exposures may occur through accidental inoculation, ingestion, or inhalation of the chemical.

L.     Report all accidents involving an employee's chemical exposure or involving a chemical spill that may constitute a danger of environmental contamination to the EHS Office, the CHO or EHS Coordinator. 

M.   Investigate all chemical accidents and near misses to determine the cause and take appropriate corrective action to prevent similar accidents.  Contact the CHO or the EHS Office, when needed, for assistance with investigations, assessment, and recommendations for corrective action.

N.    Ensure unwanted or excess hazardous chemicals and materials are properly disposed according to all MIT, state, and federal procedures.

O.    Assist the EHS Office, EHS Coordinator, and CHO as requested.

P.    Ensure shipping of all hazardous material is done following all state and federal regulations refer to Part II Section 9 Shipping Dangerous and Hazardous Materials on page 37 of this plan. Following the prudent laboratory practices and risk communication methods outlined in this Chemical Hygiene Plan are key elements in ensuring the Institute's compliance with TSCA requirements.  Refer to Part 1, Section 2 of the Plan for these general responsibilities.  With respect to materials regulated under TSCA, PIs shall ensure that any research agreements, experimental efforts and transfer of materials from the lab are consistent with the definition of "research and development activity" outlined in the EHS SOP "Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):  Procedures for Core Program Compliance".  The EHS Office shall work with Departments to ensure that any required TSCA forms (Import/Export, Allegations of Adverse Reactions, Notification of Substantial Risk and the TSCA New Chemical Transfer Form) are completed; maintain TSCA records; ensure that TSCA compliance updates are communicated; and, support Chemical Hygiene Officers/EHS Coordinators in conducting incident/illness/injury investigations involving new chemicals for which little environmental and health effects information is available (or for existing chemicals, when new symptoms are exhibited).  Laboratory personnel shall contact the EHS Office when a chemical sample will be shipped; when a chemical will be imported into or exported from the U.S.; and, when adverse environmental or human health effects for a new or existing chemical are observed.

           Q.Ensure that personnel adhere to the PSFC policy on working alone.  In particular, undergraduates are not permitted to work alone with hazardous materials, equipment or operations that can result in immediate injury or death.























































































































































































































































































A.    Be familiar with the content and requirements of this Chemical Hygiene Plan and assist the Principal Investigator or Supervisor, as directed, with implementing and complying with requirements of this Plan.

B.    Assist with contacting the PSFC EHS Coordinator or the CHO, when needed, for assistance with addressing requirements for safe handling of chemicals.

C.    Assist with or provide lab-specific chemical hygiene training for laboratory personnel, as directed by the PI/Supervisor.

D.    Assist with dissemination of EHS information to laboratory personnel.

E.    Assist with required routine inspections of the laboratory, correcting problems that can be readily corrected.

F.    Assist with ensuring essential supplies and equipment are in place for safe work in the laboratory.

G.    Assist with monitoring staff work practices for safety.

H.    Report safety problems or concerns to the PI/Supervisor and/or the EHS Coordinator.

I.      Address, as directed, safety problems or concerns in the laboratory.

J.     Review and be familiar with PSFC Emergency Preparedness Plan.




A.    Oversee process for annual update of the CHP, reminding CHOs and EHS Coordinators when annual CHP updates are due and reviewing updated plans.  See the CHP Preparer's Guide on the CHP website ( ) for more information on the annual update process.

B.    Provide a standard CHP template for use in developing and updating Chemical Hygiene Plans.

C.    Provide "General Chemical Hygiene" training by classroom, web, or when requested by a DLC.

D.    Provide "Managing Hazardous Waste" training by classroom, web, or when requested by a DLC.

E.    Provide materials and guidance to assist with Lab-Specific Chemical Hygiene Training.

F.    Establish and maintain a system for maintaining training records.

G.    Conduct an annual meeting for CHOs and EHS Coordinators to update them regarding changes in the Template, the EHS Management System, and to review significant chemical safety concerns from the year.

H.    Conduct special investigations and exposure monitoring, as requested or as required by regulations, making recommendations for control when needed.

I.      Participate in inspections of laboratory operations at least once a year.

J.     Oversee the fume hood survey program.

K.    Provide guidance regarding selection and use of personal protective equipment.  When respirators are required, provide services to ensure personnel are provided the proper equipment, to ensure the equipment fits properly, and to ensure users receive the required training.

L.     Provide guidance and review Lab Specific SOPs for new experiments or operations, as requested.

M.   Provide, as requested, chemical safety information and guidance for appropriate controls of hazards such as proper personal protective equipment and local exhaust ventilation.

N.    Assist with investigations of serious accidents or chemical exposure incidents.

O.   Report all PSFC-specific accidents and incidents, as appropriate, to the PSFC EHS Coordinator.

 2.7. PSFC Office of Environment, Safety and Health

The primary responsibility of the ES&H Office with respect to the Chemical Hygiene Plan is to maintain the CHP and relevant materials; maintain the controlled copies of the SOP's; and maintain training records for all PSFC personnel.




Employees, staff, students, and visitors working with or around hazardous chemicals in a laboratory shall:

A.    Read and understand the OSHA Chemical Laboratory Standard and this Chemical Hygiene Plan.

B.    Understand the hazards of chemicals they handle and the signs and symptoms of excessive exposure.

C.    Understand and follow all standard operating procedures.

D.    Understand and apply all training received.

E.    Understand the function and proper use of all personal protective equipment and wear personal protective equipment when mandated or necessary.

F.    Report to the Principal Investigator or Laboratory Supervisor any significant problems arising from the implementation of the standard operating procedures.

G.    Report to the PI/Supervisor all facts pertaining to every accident that results in exposure to toxic chemicals.

H.    Report to the PI/Supervisor or EHS Representative actions or conditions that may exist that could result in an accident. 

I.      Contact the PI/Supervisor, the Chemical Hygiene Officer, the EHS Coordinator, or the EHS Office if any of the above procedures are not clearly understood.

J.     If an emergency occurs related to an experiment, provide emergency response personnel with information about the conditions that caused the emergency and the existing situation in the laboratory.


To ensure the health and safety of visitors, minors and tours to laboratories where potential hazards may exist guidelines should be followed which can be found in an EHS SOPs titled Visitors and Tours Guideline # EHS-0036 and Minors and Pets in Laboratories, and other areas using or storing hazardous materials # EHS-0069 both located at    

The Institute promotes a healthy learning and research environment by controlling potential health hazards and nuisances including prohibiting pets from laboratories and other registered spaces. The exception is for service dogs, police dogs and animals used in research and teaching. Additional guidance can be found in EHS SOP # EHS-0069 mentioned above.



With respect to the Chemical Hygiene Plan, the PSFC EHS Committee shall:

A.    Participate in periodic inspections and/or review inspection reports of PSFC's laboratories and facilities, providing guidance or directives, as needed, for correcting problems found.

B.    Review chemical handling incidents or exposure issues that occur in the PSFC and recommend appropriate corrective action.




MIT has established systems to ensure you are provided with OSHA-required training to inform you of the hazards and precautions for work with chemicals, including chemicals present in your work area.  The process begins when you complete a web-based Training Needs Assessment.  You answer questions specific to your research situation and job duties, and the system will provide you information on your training needs and requirements.  You should then proceed to take the required web courses, or sign up for classroom training.  As a researcher or employee working in a laboratory at MIT, you must complete the Training Needs Assessment, and can do so by going to This will take you to a page that will direct you further.  If you have problems or questions regarding completing the Training Needs Assessment, you should contact your EHS Coordinator or your EHS Representative.


 3.1. Training Requirements

Chemical hygiene training requirements are detailed in the EHS-MS training system, which can be accessed at The following four components are required if you indicate in the Training Needs Assessment within the training system that you use potentially hazardous chemicals in a laboratory, or you are a Principal Investigator or Supervisor for those who use potentially hazardous chemicals in a laboratory.


A.    General Chemical Hygiene Training - can be taken as a web-based course or taken by attending a class offered by the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office.  This course is required only once before beginning work with potentially hazardous chemicals in a laboratory.


B.    Read the Chemical Hygiene Plan - Signing a confirmation of having read and understood the Plan is required one time before beginning work with potentially hazardous chemicals in a laboratory.


C.    Lab-Specific Chemical Hygiene Training - provided by the Principal Investigator or his or her designee on lab-specific chemical hazards.  This training is required before beginning work with potentially hazardous chemicals in a laboratory including chemicals developed in the lab for use exclusively in the lab. These chemicals require a hazard determination and training if the chemical is considered hazardous. Training is also done annually thereafter (usually within a lab group meeting) or whenever a new hazard is introduced. The topics covered will depend, in part, on the nature of the lab and research being done.  Discuss Lab-Specific Chemical Hygiene Training questions and requirements with your PI/Supervisor, EHS Representative, Chemical Hygiene Officer or your EHS Coordinator.


D.    Managing Hazardous Waste - can be taken as a web-based course or taken by attending a class offered by the EHS Office.  Required before beginning work with potentially hazardous chemicals and annually thereafter.


 3.2. Training Records

The PI/Supervisor or designee will keep a copy of the outline of the topics covered in Lab-Specific Chemical Hygiene Training.  The roster or lists of researchers, who have completed the lab-specific training and read the Chemical Hygiene Plan, will be submitted to the EHS Coordinator. These training records are then entered into the EHS-MS Central Training Records Database. Training records are kept for at least 3 years after an employee or student leaves the Institute.




  4.1. Basic Requirements

Information that must be available to laboratory personnel includes:

A.      A copy of the OSHA Laboratory Standard and its Appendices. The Laboratory Standard can be accessed on the OSHA website via and searching under the regulation number "1910.1450".

B.      The Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for OSHA-regulated substances and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for hazardous substances not given OSHA PELs. These lists are provided via a web link in Appendix II-A and II-B of this document.

C.      Signs and symptoms associated with exposure to hazardous substances used in the laboratory. General information is integrated into Part II. Sections 2. and 3. of this document.

D.      The location and availability of known reference materials on hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory. This information is provided in the next section of this document.


E.      In addition, your supervisor, Chemical Hygiene Officer, EHS Coordinator and EHS Office staff are available to provide safety information. Core safety information sources are discussed below.


4.2. Chemical Safety Information Sources

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)


An SDS should be reviewed before beginning work with a chemical to determine proper use and safety precautions. Once a chemical is present in the lab, the MSDS should be either book marked electronically or a hard copy kept on hand for reference, or in case of emergencies. Specific information required by OSHA to be on an SDS includes:


   Product Identity                                     Reactivity Hazards

   Hazard Ingredients                                 Spill Clean-Up

   Physical/Chemical Properties                 Protective Equipment

   Fire and Explosion Hazards                   Special Precautions

   Health Hazards and Exposure Limits


SDSs and additional chemical hazard information can be obtained from a variety of sources as outlined below:


A.    The Internet. The EHS Office has compiled a list of links to sites that contain SDSs. This list can be accessed at

B.    Chemical Manufacturer. A request may be made directly to the chemical manufacturer or supplier. This is often the best source for "products" or "mixtures" to determine what hazardous ingredients are contained in the formulation.

C.    EHS Office. A file of SDSs for common chemicals that are in use at MIT or have been used at MIT is available through the EHS Office on the fourth floor of Building N52. They can be reached at 617-452-3477 (2-EHSS or 2-3477 from an MIT telephone).


Please contact the EHS Office if you need assistance in interpreting SDS information.


Safety Data Sheets

In spring of 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration finalized an update of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard to adopt international Global Harmonization System criteria for:

-        Classifying the hazards of chemicals and chemical products and mixtures.

-      Labeling of hazardous materials with standardized pictograms and standardized language to indicate hazards and precautions

-         Conveying the hazard information on a standardized 16 section Safety Data Sheet.

By June 1, 2015, manufacturers will be required to generate Safety Data Sheets in place of Material Safety Data Sheets.  Safety Data Sheets will have a standardized 16 section format with standardized information in each section.  Appendix 10.2 contains a summary of information about the new "Safety Data Sheet" sections and section content.  More details can be found on the EHS Office web page:

Some of the suppliers of laboratory chemicals are already generating data sheets in this new format.  Until June 1, 2016, you can have either an MSDS or an SDS available for the chemicals you work with.  After June 1, 2016, you will need to have replaced all MSDSs with paper copies or links to SDSs for the chemicals you work with in the laboratory.


Newly Synthesized Chemicals and MSDS or SDS Requirements

New chemical substances synthesized or produced in your laboratory and used or shared outside of your laboratory suite are subject to OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) requirements.  These rules mandate the preparation of a Material Safety Data Sheet for each synthesized substance and labeling of containers containing the chemical substance.


Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries (LCSS)

The LCSSs provide concise, critical discussions of the toxicity, flammability, reactivity, and explosibility of 88 chemicals commonly used in scientific research laboratories. These are particularly useful as they address laboratory use of chemicals.



Chemical Container Labels

Chemical container labels are a good resource for information on chemical hazards. All containers of hazardous chemicals must have labels attached. Labels on purchased chemicals must include:


Most labels provide additional safety information to help workers protect themselves from the substance. This information may include protective measures and/or protective clothing to be used, first aid instructions, storage information and emergency procedures.  

Laboratory personnel are responsible for:


Additional guidance on labeling chemical containers can be found in Part II. Section 6.


Global Harmonization Pictograms and Labels.  Under the 2012 changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, requirements for language on chemical labels is standardized using the Global Harmonization System criteria, and standardized pictograms are to be used to convey the hazards.  Some suppliers of laboratory chemicals have already begun to implement changes on their labels, making use of the new pictograms and language.  Appendix 10.3 contains information about the new pictograms and their meaning.  It is recommended the lab post the chart of pictograms so personnel can become familiar with them and their meaning.  Additional information can be found at:, along with a link to pictogram information for printing and posting.  A color printer should be used because the red borders on the pictograms are a key component.

By June 1, 2015, all suppliers will need to label their containers using the standard labeling criteria but until then you may see different types of labels.


Environment, Health and Safety Reference Literature

The EHS Office maintains a library of reference materials addressing environment, health and safety issues. These references include applicable exposure standards and recommended exposure levels, as well as copies of the OSHA Lab Standard and its Appendices. These materials, as well as additional health and safety references, may be reviewed by visiting the EHS Office located on the fourth floor of Building N52.

PART II. General Chemical Hygiene Practices




Part II of this Chemical Hygiene Plan contains the minimum required precautions and standard operating procedures for working with laboratory chemicals in MIT laboratories. These precautions address broad classes of chemicals.  This Part contains chemical hazard and risk assessment information, and general procedures for safe chemical management addressing the purchase, use, labeling, storage, disposal and shipping of chemicals.  This Part also discusses common controls for safe use of chemicals including administrative and engineering controls, such as fume hoods, personal protective equipment, and designated areas.


Hazardous chemicals can cause harm when they enter the body in sufficient amounts via inhalation, ingestion, injection or skin absorption. Harmful effects can also occur by eye or skin contact alone. The nature of the hazardous chemical and the routes by which it enters or contacts the body determine the type of controls that are needed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other organizations have set occupational exposure limits on airborne chemical exposure. Keeping exposures below these limits is generally believed to protect employees and students. Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) set by OSHA are contained in Appendix II-A. Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) are contained in Appendix II-B. For many laboratory chemicals, exposure limits have not been established.  In addition, little is known about the effects of combined exposures.  Therefore, all laboratory workers should take steps to minimize chemical exposure via all routes of entry.


OSHA recognizes that some classes of chemical substances pose a greater health and safety risk than others. To differentiate this different risk characteristic, OSHA identifies two categories of hazardous chemicals: hazardous chemicals and particularly hazardous substances. Particularly hazardous substances (PHSs) are a subset of hazardous chemicals that is regulated more stringently because they have been deemed to pose a substantially greater risk. Because of this, OSHA requires additional precautions and procedures be undertaken when particularly hazardous substances are used in the laboratory.


Introduction to Standard Operating Procedures

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a written set of instructions or guidelines that detail the uniform procedures to be followed routinely, and safety precautions to take when carrying out a particular experiment or procedure. The development and implementation of SOPs for critical activities is a core component of promoting excellence in a laboratory and for ensuring a safe, healthy, and environmentally sound workplace. For these reasons, the use of general SOPs and the development and use of Lab Specific SOPs is an essential administrative tool to be used in the laboratory and is a tool that is required by the OSHA Laboratory Standard.  The equivalent of Lab Specific SOPs should also be developed for research conducted in the field where hazardous materials or processes are used ensuring proper safety, storage and controls in the field. For more information on Field Safety visit     



Literally thousands of different compounds are involved in the research being conducted in campus laboratories.  The specific health hazards associated with many of these compounds are unknown, and many substances are new compounds which have not been reported previously in the chemical literature.  Consequently, it is impossible in this Chemical Hygiene Plan to provide standard operating procedures for each specific hazardous substance.  Instead, this Part outlines general procedures that should be employed in the use of all hazardous substances.  Individual research groups may be required to supplement these general procedures with additional Lab Specific SOPs for handling specific hazardous substances that are used in their laboratories.


This Chemical Hygiene Plan contains core standard operating procedures for the safe use of two categories of chemicals: hazardous chemicals, and particularly hazardous substances (PHS). These standard operating procedures are contained in Part II. Section 3. These general safety procedures are designed to ensure basic levels of staff health and safety in the laboratory, for routine and common practices, uses, and chemicals.


You are required to develop additional Lab Specific SOPs if the general SOPs provided in Part II of this Plan DO NOT adequately ensure the protection of personal health and safety, and the environment for a particular activity, operation, or experiment conducted in your laboratory. This requirement is particularly applicable if a procedure requires detailed and specific guidance to avoid dangerous exposures or consequences such as an explosion. Lab Specific SOPs must be developed prior to initiating any significantly hazardous procedures.


Guidelines and a template for preparing Lab Specific SOPs when required as noted above, are contained in Part III. of this Plan. A copy of all Lab Specific SOPs developed must be located in the laboratory spaces, and be available to all people in the laboratory. It is recommended, but not required, that all additional Lab Specific SOPs be included in Part III. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan.


Prior to working with chemicals following the SOPs in Part II. Section 3, there are certain steps you must take to understand the hazards of the work you are doing with chemicals. A process for assessing the hazards of chemical use is outlined below.




Determine the specific chemicals you are working with and the type of hazard they present. Many of the substances encountered in the laboratory are known to be toxic or corrosive, or both.  Compounds that are explosive and/or are highly flammable pose another significant type of hazard.  New and untested substances that may be hazardous are also frequently encountered.  Thus, it is essential that all laboratory workers understand the types of toxicity, recognize the routes of exposure, and are familiar with the major hazard classes of chemicals.  The most important single generalization regarding toxicity in chemical research is to treat all compounds as potentially harmful, especially new and unfamiliar materials, and work with them under conditions to minimize exposure by skin contact and inhalation.


When considering possible toxicity hazards while planning an experiment, it is important to recognize that the combination of the toxic effects of two substances may be significantly greater than the toxic effect of either substance alone.  Because most chemical reactions are likely to contain mixtures of substances whose combined toxicities have never been evaluated, it is prudent to assume that mixtures of different substances (e.g., chemical reaction mixtures) will be more toxic than the most toxic ingredient contained in the mixture.  Furthermore, chemical reactions involving two or more substances may form reaction products that are significantly more toxic than the starting reactants.


The OSHA Laboratory Standard defines a hazardous chemical as "a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.  The term 'health hazard' includes chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic systems, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes".  Highly flammable and explosive substances comprise a category of hazardous chemicals.


The major classes of hazardous and particularly hazardous chemicals and their related health and safety risks are discussed in further detail below.


   2.1.Possible Animal Carcinogens

Carcinogens are chemical or physical agents that cause cancer.  Generally they are chronically toxic substances; that is, they cause damage after repeated or long-duration exposure, and their effects may only become evident after a long latency period.  Chronic toxins are particularly insidious because they may have no immediate apparent harmful effects. For a large number of compounds there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity to animals from studies involving experimental animals.  These compounds should be handled using the general procedures for work with hazardous substances outlined in Part II. Section 3.1 and 3.2 below. 


Certain select carcinogens are classified as "particularly hazardous substances" and must be handled using the additional special precautions described in Part II. Section 3.3. Select carcinogens (defined in detail below) consist of compounds for which there is evidence from human studies that exposure can cause cancer.  It is important to recognize that some substances involved in research laboratories are new compounds and have not been subjected to testing for carcinogenicity. 


  2.2. Corrosive Substances

As a health hazard, corrosive substances cause destruction of, or alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact.  Major classes of corrosive substances include strong acids (e.g., sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric, and hydrofluoric acids), strong bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and ammonium hydroxide), dehydrating agents (sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, phosphorus pentoxide, and calcium oxide), and oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, and bromine). Symptoms of exposure for inhalation include a burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting. For eyes, symptoms include pain, blood shot eyes, tearing, and blurring of vision. For skin, symptoms may include reddening, pain, inflammation, bleeding, blistering and burns. As a physical hazard, corrosive substances may corrode materials they come in contact with and may be highly reactive with other substances.  It is important to review information regarding materials they corrode, and their reactivity with other substances, as well as information on health effects.


  2.3. Irritants

Irritants are defined as non-corrosive chemicals that cause reversible inflammatory effects on living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact.  A wide variety of organic and inorganic compounds, including many chemicals that are in a powder or crystalline form, are irritants and consequently, skin contact with all laboratory chemicals should always be avoided.


 2.4. Sensitizers

A sensitizer (allergen) is a substance that causes exposed people to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure to the substance.  Examples of allergens include diazomethane, chromium, nickel, formaldehyde, isocyanates, arylhydrazines, benzylic and allylic halides, and many phenol derivatives.


2.5. Flammable, Highly Reactive and Explosive Substances

A number of highly flammable substances are in common use in campus laboratories. Highly Reactive substances are materials that decompose under conditions of mechanical shock, elevated temperature, or chemical action, with the release of large volumes of gases and heat. Some materials, such as peroxide formers, may not be explosive, but may form into substances that will deflagrate or explode.


Explosives are any chemical compound, mixture or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function as by explosion; i.e., with substantially instantaneous release of gas or heat. The term includes, but is not limited to, dynamite and other high explosives, black powder, pellet powder, initiating explosives, detonators,  safety fuses, squibs, detonating cord, igniter cord, and igniters. The possession or use of explosive materials are highly regulated by federal and state agencies, contact the EHS office 617-452-3477 for assistance before contemplating use. For the list of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) explosive materials see



 2.6. Hazardous Substances with Toxic Effects on Specific Organs

Substances included in this category include (a) hepatotoxins (substances that produce liver damage such as nitrosamines and carbon tetrachloride); (b) nephrotoxins (agents causing damage to the kidneys such as certain halogenated hydrocarbons); (c) neurotoxins (substances which produce their primary toxic effects on the nervous system such as mercury, acrylamide, and carbon disulfide); (d) agents which act on the hematopoietic system (such as carbon monoxide and cyanides which decrease hemoglobin function and deprive the body tissues of oxygen); and (e) agents which damage lung tissue such as asbestos and silica.



2.7.   Particularly Hazardous Substances/Select Carcinogens

As discussed in earlier sections of this Chemical Hygiene Plan, hazardous chemicals are chemicals for which there is scientific evidence that adverse acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed workers.  An agent is an acute toxin if its toxic effects are manifested after a single or short-duration exposure.  Chronically toxic agents show their effects after repeated or long-duration exposure and the effects usually become evident only after a long latency period.  Many of the substances in frequent use in laboratories are classified as hazardous substances, and the procedures for working with these chemicals are detailed in Part II Section 3.1. and 3.2  There are some substances, however, that pose such significant threats to human health that they are classified as "particularly hazardous substances" (PHSs).  The OSHA Laboratory Standard requires that special provisions be established to prevent the harmful exposure of researchers to PHSs.  General procedures for working with such materials are presented in detail in Section 3.3.


For information and a list of PHSs, see


Chemicals are classified as particularly hazardous substances if they belong to one or more of the following three categories. Compounds classified as particularly hazardous substances generally must then be handled using the procedures outlined in Part II. Section 3.3 in addition to the procedures outlined for hazardous chemicals in Part II. Section 3.1 and 3.2.  Appendix II. C. provides procedures to assist you in how to determine if a chemical is a particularly hazardous substance, as well as additional information on PHSs.


2.7.1 Select Carcinogens

Certain potent carcinogens are classified as "select carcinogens" and treated as PHSs.  A select carcinogen is defined in the OSHA Laboratory Standard as a substance that meets one of the following criteria:


a)     It is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen,

b)    It is listed as "known to be a carcinogen" in the latest Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP),

c)     It is listed under Group 1 ("carcinogenic to humans") by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), or

d)    It is listed under IARC Group 2A or 2B, ("probably carcinogenic to humans") or under the category "reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen" by the NTP, and causes statistically significant tumor incidence in experimental animals in accordance with any of the following criteria: (i) after inhalation exposure of 6-7 hours per day, 5 days per week, for a significant portion of a lifetime to dosages of less than 10 mg/m3; (ii) after repeated skin application of less than 300 mg/kg of body weight per week; or (iii) after oral dosages of less than 50 mg/kg of body weight per day.


The following Table on the next page lists the substances meeting criteria (a), (b), or (c).  For information on compounds meeting criteria (d), examine IARC Group 2A and 2B lists and the NTP lists that are available on the Internet. See Appendix II-C for more information on PHSs.



Partial List of Select Carcinogens (Includes OSHA Carcinogens)





arsenic and certain arsenic compounds





bis(chloromethyl) ether

1,3 butadiene

1,4-butanediol dimethylsulfonate (myleran)



chloromethyl methyl ether

chromium and certain chromium compounds

coal-tar pitches

coal tars

coke oven emissions

conjugated estrogens



3,3'-dichlorobenzidine (and its salts)




dimethyl sulfate

ethylene dibromide

ethylene oxide







methylene chloride

methylene dianiline

mustard gas

N,N'-bis(2-chloroethyl)-2-naphthylamine (chlornaphazine)



nickel carbonyl




thorium dioxide


vinyl chloride


Note:  the above list is not intended to be complete, and it is the responsibility of the researcher (in consultation with their laboratory supervisor) to evaluate each compound involved in their work and to determine whether it should be handled as a select carcinogen.


2.7.2 Reproductive and Developmental Toxins 

Reproductive toxins can affect the reproductive health of both male and female employees and students if proper procedures and controls are not used. For women, exposure to reproductive toxins during pregnancy can cause adverse effects on the fetus; these effects include embryolethality (death of the fertilized egg, embryo or fetus), malformations (teratogenic effects), and postnatal functional defects.  Examples of embryotoxins include thalidomide and certain antibiotics such as tetracycline.  Women of childbearing potential should note that embryotoxins have the greatest impact during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Because a woman often does not know that she is pregnant during this period of high susceptibility, special caution is advised when working with all chemicals, especially those rapidly absorbed through the skin (e.g., formamide).  Researchers who are pregnant or intending to become pregnant should arrange for a confidential consultation with MIT Medical. They should also consult with their laboratory supervisor and the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office before working with substances that are suspected to be reproductive toxins. As minimal precautions, the general procedures outlined in Part II. Section 3.3 below should then be followed for work with such compounds. For men, the affects of certain reproductive toxins may include decline in fertility, malformations in off-spring, and certain types of cancer. Therefore, adequate protection from exposure must be employed.


Information on reproductive toxins can be obtained from Material Safety Data Sheets, by contacting the EHS Office Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477).  


The following Table lists some common materials that are suspected to be reproductive toxins; in most laboratories it will be appropriate to handle these compounds as particularly hazardous substances.


Partial List of Reproductive Toxins


arsenic and certain arsenic compounds


cadmium and certain cadmium compounds

carbon disulfide

ethylene glycol monomethyl and ethyl ethers

ethylene oxide

lead compounds

mercury compounds


vinyl chloride



Note:  The above list is not intended to be complete, and it is the responsibility of the researcher (in consultation with their laboratory supervisor) to evaluate each compound involved in their work and to determine whether it should be handled as a reproductive toxin.


2.7.3 Compounds with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity

Compounds that have a high degree of acute toxicity comprise a third category of particularly hazardous substances as defined by the OSHA Laboratory Standard.  Acutely toxic agents include certain corrosive compounds, irritants, sensitizers (allergens), hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents that act on the hematopoietic systems, and agents which damage the lungs, skins, eyes, or mucous membranes.  Substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity are interpreted by OSHA as being substances that "may be fatal or cause damage to target organs as the result of a single exposure or exposures of short duration". 


Toxic and Highly Toxic Agents

OSHA regulations (29 CFR 1910.1200 Appendix A) define toxic and highly toxic agents as substances with median lethal dose (LD50) values in the following ranges:


Test                                    Toxic                                                    Highly Toxic


Oral LD50                             50-500 mg/kg                                        <50 mg/kg

(albino rats)


Skin Contact LD50                200-1000 mg/kg                                     <200 mg/kg

(albino rabbits)


Inhalation LC50                     200-2000 ppm/air                                   <200 ppm/air

(albino rats)


It is important to note that the above classification does not take into consideration chronic toxicity (e.g. carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity).  Also, note that LD50 values vary significantly between different species, and the human toxicity for a substance may be greater or less than that measured in test animals. OSHA considers substances that are either toxic or highly toxic, as defined above, to be particularly hazardous substances.


In evaluating the acute toxicity of chemical substances, the HMIS (Hazardous Materials Identification System) rating criteria developed by the National Paint and Coatings Association may be helpful.  HMIS numbers can often be found in MSDSs.  LD50 values can be found in MSDSs and in references such as the Sigma-Aldrich Library of Chemical Safety Data and Patnaik's A Comprehensive Guide to the Hazardous Properties of Chemical Substances.


The following Table lists some of the compounds that may be in current use in campus laboratories and that have a high degree of acute toxicity:


Partial List of Compounds with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity



nitrogen dioxide


osmium tetroxide







diborane (gas)

sodium azide

hydrogen cyanide

sodium cyanide (and other cyanide salts)

hydrogen fluoride


methyl fluorosulfonate


nickel carbonyl



Note:  the above list is not intended to be complete, and it is the responsibility of the researcher (in consultation with their laboratory supervisor) to evaluate each compound involved in their work and to determine whether it is a substance with a high degree of acute toxicity. 


Compounds classified as having a high degree of acute toxicity must generally be handled using the procedures outlined in Part II. Section 3.3 below in addition to the procedures outlined for hazardous chemicals in Part II. Section 3.1 and 3.2.  Finally, several of the compounds listed may require prior approval from the PSFC EHS Committee before work with them can be carried out.  See Part IV. Section 2. for a discussion of prior approval requirements.


In evaluating the hazards associated with work with toxic substances, it is important to note that a number of factors influence the response of individuals to exposure to toxic compounds.  For example, people are rarely exposed to a single biologically active substance.  With this point in mind, it is noteworthy that one toxin can influence the effect of a second.  This underscores the importance of maintaining good laboratory practices at all times, and with all chemicals.




  3.1. Preliminary Steps and Procedures

All work involving chemicals in MIT laboratories must be conducted using the "Standard Operating Procedures" outlined below. In addition, laboratory workers must determine whether any of the chemicals to be handled in the planned experiment meet the definition of a particularly hazardous substance (PHS) due to high acute toxicity, carcinogenicity, and/or reproductive toxicity (PHS definition refer to Part II 2.7 p.15) by:


1.    Performing a check to see if the chemical(s)meets definition and  is on the phs list If your chemical(s) is not listed it should still be evaluated for high acute toxicity, carcinogenicity, and/or reproductive toxicity. For more guidance on how to determine if a chemical is a PHS see Part II 10.3 Appendix IIC p.40.

2.    If listed or determined to be a PHS chemical then do a risk assessment to see if there are any procedures or protective measures "beyond" those already required for hazardous chemicals outlined in this section. Consider the total amount of the substance that will be used, the expected frequency of use, the chemical's routes of exposure, and the circumstances of its use in the proposed experiment.

3.    If it is determined that the PHS requires additional protective measures they can be found in Part II section 3.3 p. 27.

4.    If the chemical is not listed or determined to be a PHS or does not require additional protective measures then follow the procedures for Hazardous Chemicals outlined in this section.


For very toxic or hazardous substances, or specialized practices, consideration must be given to whether additional consultation with safety professionals and development of Lab Specific SOPs is warranted or required. Note:  Additional consideration should be given to laboratory operations involving hazardous substances that are sometimes carried out continuously or overnight.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to design these overnight experiments with provisions to prevent the release of hazardous substances in the event of interruptions in utility services such as electricity, cooling water, and inert gas.  Laboratory lights should be left on and appropriate signs should be posted on the entrance door(s) as well as near the experiment identifying the nature of the experiment and the hazardous substances in use.  In some cases arrangements should be made for periodic inspection of the operation by other workers. Information should be posted on the signs indicating how to contact you in the event of an emergency.


STEP 1: Determine the toxicity and warning properties of the chemicals to be used in your experiment.

  1. Identify the chemicals involved in the proposed experiment and determine the amounts that will be used.
  2. Use an up-to-date LCSS or MSDS to determine the exposure limit, type of toxicity, warning properties (smell, irritation, etc.) and symptoms of exposure for each chemical involved in the planned experiment.
  3. If a new chemical substance(s) will be produced during the experiment and the toxicity is unknown, assume it is a particularly hazardous substance and follow the procedures in Part II. Section 3.3.
  4. Assumethat any mixture of chemicals will be more toxic than its most toxic component.
  5. Consider substituting less toxic chemicals by using MIT's Green Chemical Alternative Wizard at


STEP 2: Determine most likely routes of exposure based on how chemicals will be used and their physical/chemical properties.



STEP 3: Determine required control measures, personal protective equipment, and proper work practices to minimize exposure.


A.    Inhalation Control Measures

Determine When to Use Laboratory Chemical Hoods (Fume Hoods)

Procedures involving volatile toxic substances and those operations involving solid or liquid toxic substances that may result in the generation of vapors or aerosols should be conducted in a laboratory hood or other type of local exhaust ventilation. See Part II. Section 5. for a more detailed discussion of laboratory hoods. Other types of control devices include glove boxes, custom designed hoods, shut-off valves, and monitoring equipment linked to alarms and shut-off valves.


Determine Whether Respirators Might Be Required

Generally, hazards should be controlled by use of ventilation and it should not be necessary to use respirators. Contact the Industrial Hygiene Program for help in evaluating the need for a respirator.  If one is needed and you are medically qualified to wear a respirator, obtain one of the correct type and size from the Industrial Hygiene Program. A respirator will be provided at no charge to employees and researchers if one is needed to keep their exposure below applicable PELs. Do not use a lab mate's respirator. The MIT Respirator Protection Program is described in full at


B.    Personal Protective Equipment For Eyes and Skin

Note:  More details regarding (list PSFC here) policy for use of eye protection in the laboratory is found in section 4.2 below.

Select and wear appropriate eye and face protection. Wearing eye protection is required by OSHA regulation whenever and wherever potential eye hazards exist.  Hazards requiring eye and/or face protection include flying particles; molten metal; liquids including acids and caustic materials, biological or radioactive materials; chemical gases or vapors; and potentially injurious light radiation.  Many Departments, Labs and Centers require eye protection at all times in labs and shops, and post "eye protection required" signs on the doors or in the hazardous areas.  Use safety glasses with side shields as basic eye protection for handling chemicals where there is a low risk of splash or splatter.  When pouring large amounts of chemicals, observing processes that are under heat or pressure, making adjustments to chemical containing apparatus, or performing other operations or tasks with a moderate to high potential splash risk or severe consequences in the event of a splash, chemical goggles should be used.  A face shield can be used with the goggles to protect the face under these circumstances. 


Wear appropriate clothing in the laboratory when working with hazardous substances. Wear shoes that cover your feet while working in any lab. (No flip-flops, sandals, or open-toed shoes).  Wear clothing that fully covers your legs and arms when handling hazardous chemicals. As noted in 4.1 below:  "At a minimum, a laboratory coat or equivalent protective clothing is required for work with hazardous chemicals, unsealed radioactive materials, and biological agents at BL2 or greater." In some cases, through a hazard assessment, laboratory supervisors may identify situations (a task, experiment, or area) where alternative or more protective apparel must be worn.


Avoid skin contact and ingestion of hazardous substances by using appropriate hand protection, protective clothing, and proper work practices.

Contact with the skin is a frequent mode of chemical injury.  A common result of skin contact is localized irritation, but an appreciable number of hazardous substances are absorbed through the skin with sufficient rapidity to produce systemic poisoning.  Ingestion of substances is rarely deliberate, but may occur because of contamination of hands handling food, contamination of common work surfaces in the lab, and incidental contamination of food or materials that come in contact with the mouth, and through poor work practices. Avoid contact with, and ingestion of, hazardous substances by taking the following precautions:


Properly use and maintain personal protective equipment (PPE).

Personal protective equipment should be kept clean and stored in an area where it will not become contaminated. Personal protective equipment should be inspected prior to use to be sure it is in good condition.  It should fit properly and be worn properly.  If it becomes contaminated or damaged, it should be cleaned or fixed or, in the case of disposable equipment, discarded and replaced.


For additional requirements and information on selection of PPE, see Part II. Section 4. and visit the EHS Office website at



STEP 4: Be Prepared for Emergencies


Before beginning an experiment, know what specific action you will take in the event of the accidental release of any hazardous substances involved.  Know the location and how to operate all safety equipment, eye washes, safety showers, spill carts and spill control materials. Be familiar with the location of the nearest fire alarm and telephone, and know what telephone numbers to call in the event of an emergency.  Know the location of the circuit breakers for your laboratory.  For information on fire blankets see


For all accidents requiring emergency police, fire, or medical response, contact Campus Police at 617-253-1212 or 100 from an MIT telephone.

An MIT Emergency Response Guide should be posted in every laboratory in an area accessible to all. This guide outlines the procedures to follow for most types of emergency situations. The MIT Emergency Response Guide is available electronically at Carefully review the guidelines for handling medical emergencies, personal injury, chemical spills and fire in the laboratory. This information could save your or your lab mate's life.  Only a subset of that information is repeated here.


In addition, Emergency Action Plans are required for each Department, Laboratory, or Center (DLC) under the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations. All staff and students should be familiar with their laboratory's Emergency Action Plan, as it specifies the appropriate response and building exit plans for a variety of life-safety emergency situations.


A.    Chemical Contamination

If the victim or their clothes are chemically contaminated, put on appropriate personal protective equipment and remove victim's contaminated clothing. Using a chemical shower, eyewash, or sink in a safe area, flood contaminated body part(s) with large amounts of water for 15 minutes and seek medical assistance.


B.   Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

As time permits, and if you will not be placed at risk, attempt to identify the chemicals involved and obtain SDS, or other relevant information. Provide the SDS to the ambulance crew.


C.   Chemical Spills - Minor vs. Major

Be prepared in advance. Have spill supplies available for the types of spills that might occur. Know under what circumstances you should clean up the spill, or when you should evacuate and seek help.


Minor hazardous materials or waste spills that present no immediate threat to personnel safety, health, or to the environment can be cleaned up by laboratory personnel that use the materials or generate the waste.  A minor hazardous material spill is generally defined as a spill of material that is not highly toxic, is not spilled in large quantity, does not present a significant fire hazard, can be recovered before it is released to the environment, and is not in a public area such as a common hallway.  Such a spill can usually be controlled and cleaned up by one or two personnel. For assistance for the cleanup of minor spills call the EHS Office 617-452-3477 or nights and weekends the Facilities Operations Center 617-253-4948 or internally 3-4948 (fixit).


Major hazardous material and waste spills should be reported to the MIT emergency number (617-253-1212, or 100 from an MIT telephone) to receive immediate professional assistance and support in the control and clean up of the spilled material.  Major hazardous materials or waste spills are generally defined as having a significant threat to safety, health, or the environment.  These spills generally are a highly toxic material or a less toxic or flammable material spilled in a large enough quantity that may present a significant fire hazard, cannot be recovered before it is released to the environment, or is spilled in a public area such as a common hallway.  Upon reporting such a spill personnel should stand-by at a safe distance to guide responders and spill cleanup experts to the spill area.  Reporting personnel should also keep other personnel from entering into the spill area.


In the case of a spill that presents a situation immediately dangerous to life or health, or a situation with significant risk of a fire, personnel should evacuate the area and summon emergency assistance by dialing the MIT emergency number (617-253-1212, or 100 from an MIT telephone), activating a fire alarm station, or both.


 3.2. Essential Laboratory Work Practices


3.2.1.     Properly use, maintain, and dispose of laboratory glassware and other sharps.

Improper use of glassware is a frequent cause of injuries and accidents in the laboratory.



3.2.2.     Attend to housekeeping by establishing and following routine cleaning procedures as part of the work you do.

There is a definite relationship between safety and orderliness in the laboratory.  The following housekeeping rules should be adhered to in all laboratories:



3.2.3.  Working alone is prohibited on operations or experiments which may be hazardous. This includes, but is not limited to work on: high-energy materials; significant quantities of flammable or toxic materials; high pressure systems; radioactive and cryogenic materials; moving equipment and machinery; energized electrical systems; Class IV lasers; and high magnetic fields.


3.2.4.     Discourage children and pets in laboratories.

Prudent safety practices discourage allowing children and pets in laboratories where hazardous substances are stored or are in use. In fact, regulations prohibit pets from certain biosafety-rated laboratories.  At the PSFC, pets are prohibited from all laboratories.  It is therefore urged that children and pets not be permitted in laboratories. However, if children are allowed, they must be under the direct supervision of their parent or other qualified adult, and should be allowed to visit only for a brief period of time.  Those expecting to bringhave babies or small children into areas such as the control rooms in NW21 must get written permission from the PI for those spaces.


3.2.5.     Establish and follow safe chemical storage procedures for your laboratory.

Researchers should consult the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office website for chemical storage information at: and the standard operating procedure (SOP) on Chemical Storage at for a discussion of procedures for storing chemicals in laboratories.  All procedures employed must comply with OSHA, flammable material, and building code regulations. The following minimum guidelines must be adhered to:



3.2.6.     Take precautions when transporting hazardous substances between laboratories.

Chemicals must be transported between stockrooms and laboratories in break-resistant or approved secondary containers.  Approved secondary containers are defined as commercially available bottle carriers made of rubber, metal, or plastic, with carrying handle(s), and which are large enough to hold the contents of the chemical container in the event of breakage.  When transporting cylinders of compressed gases, always strap the cylinder in a suitable hand truck and protect the valve with a cover cap. For shipping hazardous materials off-site, please refer to Part II. Section 9.


3.2.7.     Follow established procedures for handling excess and waste chemicals to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Consideration of the means of disposal of chemical wastes should be part of the planning of all experiments before they are carried out.  The cost of disposing of excess and waste chemicals has become extremely expensive, and frequently exceeds the original cost of purchasing the chemical.  Whenever practical, order the minimum amount of material possible in order to avoid the accumulation of large stocks of "excess chemicals" which will not be needed in future research.  Such collections of "excess chemicals" frequently constitute safety hazards, since many substances decompose upon long storage and occasionally their containers become damaged or degrade.  In addition, the disposal of significant quantities of excess chemicals ultimately presents a very significant financial burden to faculty research accounts.


The procedures for handling excess and waste chemicals are outlined in Part II. Section 8.


3.2.8.     Take additional precautions for work with flammable substances.

Flammable substances are among the most common of the hazardous materials found in campus laboratories.  Flammable substances are materials that readily catch fire and burn in air.  A flammable liquid does not itself burn; it is the vapors from the liquid that burn.  The rate at which different liquids produce flammable vapors depends on their vapor pressure, which increases with temperature.  The degree of fire hazard depends also on the ability to form combustible or explosive mixtures with air, the ease of ignition of these mixtures, and the relative densities of the liquid with respect to water and of the gas with respect to air.


An open beaker of diethyl ether set on the laboratory bench next to a Bunsen burner will ignite, whereas a similar beaker of diethyl phthalate will not.  The difference in behavior is due to the fact that the ether has a much lower flash point.  The flash point is the lowest temperature, as determined by standard tests, at which a liquid gives off vapor in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid within the test vessel.  As indicated in the following table, many common laboratory solvents and chemicals have flash points that are lower than room temperature and are potentially very dangerous.


                               Flash Point (°C)                                              Flash Point (°C)  

Acetone                          -17.8                             Ethanol                      12.8

Benzene                          -11.1                             Hexane                      -21.7

Carbon disulfide              -30.0                             Methanol                    11.1

Cyclohexane                    -20.0                             Pentane                     -40.0

Diethyl ether                    -45.0                             Toluene                      4.4


Precautions for handling flammable substances include:



3.2.9.     Take additional precautions for handling highly reactive or peroxide forming substances.

Highly reactive substances are materials that decompose under conditions of mechanical shock, elevated temperature, or chemical action, with the release of large volumes of gases and heat.  Special precautions are required for the safe use of highly reactive materials.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to evaluate the reactive hazards involved in their work and to consult with their supervisor to develop detailed standard operating procedures for any work involving highly reactive substances.  Work with highly reactive materials will generally require the use of special protective apparel (face shields, gloves, lab coats) and protective devices such as explosion shields and barriers.


Organic peroxides are among the most hazardous substances handled in campus laboratories.  As a class, they are low-power explosives, hazardous because of their sensitivity to shock, sparks, and even friction (as in a cap being twisted open).  Many peroxides that are routinely handled in laboratories are far more sensitive to shock and heat than high explosives such as Dynamite or trinitrotoluene (TNT), and may detonate rather than burn.  All organic peroxides are highly flammable, and most are sensitive to heat, friction, impact, light, as well as strong oxidizing and reducing agents.


Some peroxides in use at MIT are commercial compounds such as m-chloroperoxybenzoic acid, benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and t-butyl hydroperoxide.  However, many common solvents and reagents are known to form peroxides on exposure to air, and these chemicals often become contaminated with sufficient peroxides to pose a serious hazard.  Classes of compounds that form peroxides by autoxidation include:



Precautions for work with peroxide forming materials:


Store peroxide forming materials away from heat and light.



For assistance in disposing of larger quantities of peroxides or other explosive materials, contact the EHS Office at 617-452-3477.


3.2.10.   Take additional precautions for handling explosives.

Follow manufacturer's instructions for handling and use of explosives. Contact EHS office at 617-452-3477 for assistance


3.2.11.   Take additional precautions for work with corrosive substances.

Corrosivity is a complex hazard. Corrosives can be solids, liquids, and gases and includes acids, bases, oxidizers, as well as other chemical classes. Corrosives may belong to more than one chemical class. What is at risk varies, as well. Elemental mercury is considered a toxic substance, but it is shipped as a corrosive substance because it can deteriorate some metals. For purposes of these standard operating procedures, a corrosive is any chemical that can rapidly damage human tissue, metals, and other compounds, such as wood or concrete by chemical action. Store by compatibility. Segregate acids from bases. Segregate oxidizing acids, such as nitric acid from organic acids, such as acetic acid.



3.3.  Additional Procedures for Work with Particularly Hazardous Substances

3.3.1.     Compile Information.

Before beginning a laboratory operation, each researcher should consult the appropriate literature for information about the toxic properties of the substances that will be used.  The precautions and procedures described below should be followed if any of the substances to be used in significant quantities is known to have high acute or moderate chronic toxicity.  If any of the substances being used is known to be highly toxic, it is desirable that there be at least two people present in the area at all times.  These procedures should also be followed if the toxicological properties of any of the substances being used or prepared are unknown. Part II 10.3 Appendix II-C p.40 outlines a process for determining whether a chemical is considered a particularly hazardous substance (PHS).  


3.3.2.     Establish designated areas in the laboratory for use of Particularly Hazardous Substances.

A key requirement of the OSHA Laboratory Standard is that all work with particularly hazardous substances be confined to designated areas.  The designated area established in your laboratory depends on the circumstances of use for the PHS.  A designated area may be the laboratory, a specific area of the laboratory, or a device such as a glove box or fume hood.  There also may be designated equipment such as a specific balance, or centrifuge in which you work with or process PHS materials.  It is most common for laboratory hoods to serve as designated areas for most research.  Laboratory supervisors are required to notify the Chemical Hygiene Officer of the specific location of any designated areas established in their research groups that are not laboratory hoods.


3.3.3.     Make sure designated areas are posted with a yellow and black caution sign.

It is the responsibility of laboratory supervisors to define the designated areas in their laboratories and to post these areas with conspicuous signs reading "DESIGNATED AREA FOR USE OF PARTICULARLY HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES--AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY".  Printed signs can be obtained from the EHS Office.  In some cases it may be appropriate to post additional signs describing unusual hazards present and/or identifying the specific hazardous substances in use. You can also consider marking with yellow tape a section of a bench space or section of a lab hood where PHSs are used.


3.3.4.     Use particularly hazardous substances only in the established designated areas.

Using PHSs outside of areas designated for their use, poses a significant danger to you and the others in your laboratory and surrounding areas, as well as violates MIT and OSHA rules and regulations.


3.3.5.     Take action to prevent skin contact.

Contact with the skin is a frequent mode of chemical injury.  Avoid all skin contact with particularly hazardous substances by using suitable protective apparel including the appropriate type of gloves or gauntlets (long gloves) and a suitable laboratory coat or apron that covers all exposed skin. Always wash your hands and arms with soap and water immediately after working with these materials. In the event of accidental skin contact, the affected areas should be flushed with water and medical attention should be obtained as soon as possible.


3.3.6.     Avoid inhalation of PHSs.

Avoid inhalation of PHSs by ensuring that work involving potential for exposure to a gas, vapor or airborne dust is conducted in a laboratory hood, or other suitable containment device such as a glove box. Purchase material in liquid form rather that powder form when possible.


3.3.7.     Thoroughly decontaminate and clean the designated area(s) at regular intervals.

Decontamination procedures should be established in writing, especially those involving chemical treatments, and consist of any necessary periodic (daily, weekly, etc.) procedures performed to control exposure of employees. Depending on the chemical material, this may consist only of wiping a counter with a wet paper towel, or periodic use of a neutralizing agent. To determine the proper decontamination procedures, one must consider the chemical (or type of chemical), the amount of chemical used, the specific use, the location of use, and other factors. Contact the EHS Office if assistance is needed to determine the most appropriate decontamination procedures at 617-452-3477.


3.3.8.     Be prepared for accidents.

The laboratory worker should always be prepared for possible accidents or spills involving toxic substances.  To minimize hazards from accidental breakage of apparatus or spills of toxic substances in the hood, containers of such substances should generally be stored in pans or trays made of polyethylene or other chemically resistant material and, particularly in large-scale work, apparatus should be mounted above trays of the same type of material.  Alternatively, the working surface of the hood can be fitted with a removable liner of adsorbent plastic-backed paper.  Such procedures will contain spilled toxic substances in a pan, tray, or adsorbent liner and greatly simplify subsequent cleanup and disposal.


If a major release of a particularly hazardous substance occurs outside the hood, then the room or appropriate area should be evacuated and necessary measures taken to prevent exposure of other workers.  The EHS Office should be contacted immediately (617-452-3477) for assistance and equipment for spill clean-up. EHS Office personnel can be contacted for assistance after working hours by calling Campus Police (617-253-1212, or 100 from an MIT telephone).  Spills should only be cleaned up by personnel wearing suitable personal protective apparel. Contaminated clothing and shoes should be thoroughly decontaminated or incinerated.  See Part II. 3.1. for further discussion of the control of accidental releases of toxic substances.


3.3.9.     Don't contaminate the environment. 

Vapors that are discharged from experiments involving particularly hazardous substances should be trapped or condensed to avoid adding substantial quantities of toxic vapor to the hood exhaust air.  The general waste disposal procedures outlined in Part II. Section 8. should be followed; however, certain additional precautions should be observed when waste materials are known to contain substances of high toxicity. 


3.3.10.   Recordkeeping.

It is required that every research group in the department maintain a list of all particularly hazardous substances in use in their laboratories, including an inventory of the maximum quantity present at any given time.  It is recommended that EHS Representatives be assigned the responsibility for ensuring that this inventory list is kept up to date.  In addition, records that include amounts of material used and names of workers involved should be kept as part of the laboratory notebook record of all experiments involving particularly hazardous substances.


3.3.11.   When necessary, restrict access to designated areas when particularly hazardous substances are in use.

Designated areas should be posted with special warning signs indicating that particularly toxic substances may be in use. As discussed above, many laboratory hoods are designated areas for work with particularly hazardous substances.


3.4.  Additional Requirements for Work with Select Toxins

Select Toxins are biologically derived toxic chemicals that are specifically regulated by the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under regulation 42 CFR Part 73 when handled at levels above specified quantities.  To ensure that MIT inventories of select toxins are maintained at levels below the regulatory threshold, all researchers using these toxins must order them and register their research through the Biosafety Program (BSP) of the EHS Office.  For details regarding ordering these materials, contact the BSP at 617-452-3477 or visit the EHS Office website at  A list of Select Toxins is provided in Appendix II-C.


These materials are highly toxic and special precautions should be taken whenever handling concentrated forms, even in small amounts.  Stocks of these chemicals should be stored under lock and key.  A log must be maintained that tracks the use of these materials.  Researchers working with these materials should contact the EHS Office for Select Toxin information and should develop a Lab Specific SOP for work with these materials based on Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) guidelines, Appendix I (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC: 1999).  This Lab Specific SOP should be maintained and accessible in the researchers’ laboratory space and should be provided to the Chemical Hygiene Officer. It is suggested that Select Toxin Lab Specific SOPs be added to the Chemical Hygiene Plan in Part III.  Information and a template form are available from the EHS Office for assistance with development of an SOP for work with Select Toxins.  Contact the EHS Office at 617-452-3477 for information and assistance.


3.5.  Special Precautions for Work with Hydrofluoric Acid

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a particularly hazardous substance, like many acids, but has added dangers that make it especially dangerous to work with. HF is less dissociated than most acids and deeply penetrates the skin.  Symptoms of exposure may be delayed for up to 24 hours, even with dilute solutions. HF burns affect deep tissue layers, are extremely painful, and disfiguring. The highly reactive fluoride ion circulates throughout the body and can cause multiple organ toxicity, including heart arrhythmias and death, if not treated.  Any suspected exposure to HF should be immediately flooded with water, decontaminated with calcium gluconate gel, and treated at MIT Medical.


All employees are required to be trained by the EHS Office before beginning work with HF.  The training covers safe use, personal protective equipment, and decontamination procedures.  The training can be taken on the web or in the classroom.  Please go to the EHS Training website ( ) to register for the training. All laboratories using HF must have unexpired calcium gluconate decontamination gel on hand.  The gel can be obtained at no cost from the EHS Office at 617-452-3477. 


3.6.  Special Precautions for Work with Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a particularly hazardous substance that is widely used at MIT and is covered under a specific OSHA Standard 1910.1048.  MIT must identify all laboratory activities that are above the OSHA action level or STEL through initial air monitoring and provide training, medical surveillance, and engineering and work practice controls if air levels warrant it.


Formaldehyde is an animal carcinogen and a suspect human carcinogen according to OSHA and IARC.  It is also a sensitizer and can cause allergic skin reactions and asthma-like respiratory symptoms.  It is an irritant to eyes, nose, and throat. 


The Industrial Hygiene Program (IHP) has performed extensive air sampling for formaldehyde during a variety of lab activities such as animal perfusion, dissections, and tissue fixation and found the results to be below OSHA levels provided that suitable exhaust ventilation is used.  Almost all formaldehyde procedures should be performed with ventilation such as a fume hood, slot hood, or vented downdraft table.  All work should be done using gloves with adequate resistance to formaldehyde, such as the Best N-Dex brand (a disposable nitrile glove). 


With proper exhaust ventilation, you should not detect any odors from formaldehyde work nor experience any symptoms of exposure such as eye tearing or throat irritation.  If you do, please contact IHP immediately at 617-452-3477 for an evaluation. IHP sends a questionnaire annually to laboratory EHS representatives to survey formaldehyde use and conducts air sampling of procedures where there may be a potential for exposure.  Notify IHP for an evaluation if your procedures change and you work with large quantities of formaldehyde, perform animal perfusions, or do extensive tissue dissection work. 


3.7 Special Precautions for Work with Nanomaterials


Nanomaterials are defined by the ASTM as a material with two or three dimensions between 1 to 100 nm. They can be composed of many different base materials (carbon, silicon, and metals such as gold, cadmium, and selenium).  They can also have different shapes:  such as nanotubes, nanowires, crystalline structures such as quantum dots, and fullerenes.  Nanomaterials often exhibit very different properties from their respective bulk materials: greater strength, conductivity, and fluorescence, among other properties. 


The toxicity of most nanomaterials is currently unknown.  Preliminary toxicity testing has indicated that some nanoparticles may be more toxic than the corresponding micron sized particle because of their greater surface area and reactivity.  Nano-sized titanium dioxide produces 40 fold more lung inflammation than micron-sized particles.  In preliminary tests, carbon nanotubes have produced lung inflammation and fibrosis similar to crystalline quartz and asbestos.  Nanoparticles are similar in size to viruses and are easily taken up by the body's cells, translocate around the body, and can possibly pass into the brain and through the skin.


The MIT EHS Office considers nanoparticles that have the potential for release into the air to be handled as particularly hazardous substance because their toxicity is, for the most part, unknown and early studies have been suggestive of toxic effects.  In the future, many types of nanoparticles may turn out to be of limited toxicity but precaution should be used until more is known.  Work with nanoparticles that may release particles should be conducted in enclosures, glove boxes, fume hoods, and other vented enclosures.  All work should be done with gloves, at a minimum disposable nitrile gloves. More information on additional precautions and a review of the toxicity of some types of nanomaterials are on the EHS web site at:   This article also lists good reference sources for researchers to consult to keep up with toxicity information on their materials as it develops.  Currently, nanoparticles and solutions containing them are being disposed of as hazardous waste.  Please call the EHS Office at 617-253-0344 for exposure evaluation of experimental setups and additional information. *Label all containers of nanomaterials (including waste) with the designation "nano".


3.8 Special Precautions for Work with Cyanide Salts and Compounds

Cyanides have a white crystalline or granular powder appearance and the dry salts are odorless but the reaction with atmospheric moisture may produce hydrogen cyanide which has a faint odor of bitter cyanide gas. Cyanides are used in chemical synthesis and electroplating. A hazard assessment should be done addressing safe work practices, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and training prior to work. Please review "laboratory Ues of Cyanide Salts Safety Guidelins"




Personal protective equipment (PPE), to include eye and face protection, gloves, protective clothing, head protection, hearing protection, protective footwear, and respiratory protection may be needed to ensure an employee is adequately protected from hazards associated with the work they are doing. When personal protective equipment is needed, it is required by regulation that a hazard assessment be made to identify the specific hazards of concern and the PPE required for protection from those hazards. This hazard assessment may be done for a work area, or for a specific experiment, job, or task. The protective equipment is selected based on the hazard assessment. This assessment needs to be documented in writing. This hazard assessment and documentation requirement would be satisfied through the application of the standard operating procedures outlined in this Chemical Hygiene Plan, namely Part II. Section 3. or through the development of additional Lab Specific SOPs in Part III., except for the use of respiratory protective equipment. If you believe respiratory protection is warranted, you must first contact the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office for a consultation. For more information on PPE, visit the EHS Office website at


Laboratory coats.  The MIT Committee on Toxic Chemicals and the Institute EHS Council has established the following policy with respect to laboratory coats: "At a minimum, a laboratory coat or equivalent protective clothing is required for work with hazardous chemicals, unsealed radioactive materials, and biological agents at BL2 or greater." In some cases, through a hazard assessment, laboratory supervisors may identify situations (a task, experiment, or area) where alternative or more protective apparel must be worn.


4.1  The Guidance Document "Laboratory Coat Selection, Use, and Care" at  provides additional details to aid in the process of performing a hazard assessment to select an appropriate lab coat based on the hazards in the lab area, and provides information on the use and care of lab coats, including laundry service options.


4.2  Eye Protection: The Committee on Toxic Chemicals established a policy in 2009 to assure special emphasis is placed on the use of appropriate eye protection for work with hazardous chemicals in laboratories.   The policy states:

 "For every laboratory room where hazardous chemicals are stored or are in use a determination must be made as to the level of eye protection that shall be required. The level of eye protection required shall be identified in writing. Where no determination has been made regarding the level of eye protection required in an area, the default shall be that eye protection is required." 


Eye protection is also required when there is the potential for eye injury due to other hazards besides hazardous chemicals.  Examples of this include working with tools, power tools, and/or shop equipment when the work emits debris or flying particles, or when working with molten metal.  Work with unsealed radioactive sources, lasers and certain biological agents also require eye protection by regulation.


Eye protection provided shall meet the requirements of ANSI 787.1 - 1989, or equivalent.


In the PSFC, the use of eye protection shall be determined by each lab PI with assistance from the EHS Coordinator and EHS Office. Together, they are responsible for identifying and documenting those lab processes involving chemical, biological, radiological or mechanical agents where eye protection is required. In some areas eye protection may be required at all times. The eye protection policy for each lab will be communicated to lab members when the assessment is completed and thereafter during Lab Specific Chemical Hygiene Training.


Hazard assessments are performed to identify eye protection requirements.  The EHS Coordinator and EHS representative conduct hazaerd assessments to determine the eye protection required fore each lab area and document the assessment.  This reviewed and signed by the PI, and the assessment is posted in the lab area.  When new experiments or procedures are introduced to the lab, a new assessment is made and the lab personnel are informed of any changes.


The selection as to the type of eye protection to be used shall be stated in the SOP. Eye protection provided shall meet the requirements of ANSI 787.1  1989, or equivalent.  The EHS Office Guidance Document "Eye Protection Laboratories Assessment Selection, Use and Maintenance" is used to guide eye protection selection.  It is available at


All members of the lab are provided safety glasses.  The procedure for obtaining prescription glasses is described at: Eye protection is available for visitors to the lab.


If you are concerned that your labmates are not wearing the required eye protection, discuss it with your EHS Rep and PI.  The PI is responsible for enforcing eye protection requirements.




5.1. Laboratory Fume Hoods/Ventilation

Laboratory Fume Hoods

Local exhaust ventilation is the primary method used to control inhalation exposures to hazardous substances.  The laboratory hood is the most common local exhaust method used on campus; other methods include vented enclosures for large pieces of equipment or chemical storage, and snorkel types of exhaust for capturing contaminants near the point of release.  Some systems are equipped with air cleaning devices (HEPA filters or carbon adsorbers).


It is advisable to use a laboratory hood when working with all hazardous substances.  In addition, a laboratory hood or other suitable containment device must be used for all work with "particularly hazardous substances". For more information see Part II. Section 3.3.  A properly operating and correctly used laboratory hood can control the vapors released from volatile liquids as well as dust and mists.


General Rules

The following general rules should be followed when using laboratory hoods:


A.    No hoods should be used for work involving hazardous substances unless it has a certification label less than one year old.


B.    Always keep hazardous chemicals at least six inches behind the plane of the sash.


C.    Never put your head inside an operating laboratory hood to check an experiment.  The plane of the sash is the barrier between contaminated and uncontaminated air.


D.    Work with the hood sash in the lowest possible position.  The sash will then act as a physical barrier in the event of an accident in the hood.  Keep the sash closed when not conducting work in the hood.


E.    Do not clutter your hood with bottles or equipment.  Keep it clean and clear.  Only materials actively in use should be in the hood.  This will provide optimal containment and reduce the risk of extraneous chemicals being involved in any fire or explosion that may occur in the hood.


F.    Clean the grill along the bottom slot of the hood regularly so it does not become clogged with papers and dirt.


G.    Promptly report any suspected hood malfunctions to the Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477).


Do not make any modifications to hoods or duct work without first contacting the PSFC EHS Coordinator and the Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477).  Any changes made to the local exhaust system must by approved by the Industrial Hygiene Program.  Do not use a laboratory hood for large pieces of equipment unless the hood is dedicated to this use (large obstructions can change the airflow patterns and render the hood unsafe for other uses).  It is generally more effective to install a specifically designed enclosure for large equipment so that the laboratory hood can be used for its intended purpose.


The Industrial Hygiene Program annually inspects all laboratory hoods on campus.  This inspection consists of measuring the face velocity of the hood and using a smoke stick to check its containment effectiveness visually.  If the laboratory hood passes both the face velocity and smoke containment tests, then it is posted with an updated certification label.  If the hood does not pass and the problem is so severe that the hood is unsafe for use, then it is labeled with a "DO NOT USE" sign. For more information on fume hoods, please visit


5.2. Fire Extinguishers, Safety Showers, and Eyewash Stations

5.2.1.     Fire Extinguishers

Laboratory supervisors are required to instruct new personnel in the location of fire extinguishers, safety showers, and eyewashes before they begin research in the laboratory. Laboratories where a potential fire hazard exists (use and/or storage of flammable and combustible liquids, solids, or gases; any spark producing work, welding, use of open flames, etc.) should be outfitted with fire extinguishers. All fire extinguishers should be mounted on a wall in an area free of clutter or stored in a fire extinguisher cabinet. Research personnel should be familiar with the location, use, and classification of the extinguishers in their laboratory.


It is MIT policy that personnel are not required to extinguish fires that occur in their work areas. Researchers are not permitted to use fire extinguishers unless they have attended a Fire Extinguisher Training Session presented by the MIT EHS Office.  Refer to MIT's standard operating procedure on Portable Fire Extinguishers available at  Any time a fire extinguisher is used, no matter for how brief a period, it should be inspected and recharged.  


5.2.2.     Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations

Every laboratory where the use of materials that are either corrosive or that otherwise present a significant skin/eye contact or absorption hazard must have access to an unobstructed safety shower and eyewash facility that meets the requirements of OSHA regulations (29 CFR 1910.151(c)). For the weekly inspection of the eyewash it is recommended that in each lab a person, such as the EHS Representative or EHS Coordinator, be assigned the inspection task that  includes checking access and flushing the eyewash by running the water for one minute. This will flush out any bacteria that grow in the stagnant water. If an eyewash or safety shower needs to be tested or repaired, call the Department of Facilities and give the operator the location of the defective equipment and (for safety showers) the number on the blue preventive maintenance tag.

5.3. Safe Use of Warm and Cold Environmental Rooms

Both warm and cold rooms at MIT use a refrigerant gas (Freon-22, R-12, or MP39) to control temperatures. In order to keep temperatures stable, there is minimal ventilation to the rooms. These rooms are NOT designed for chemical use because of the minimal ventilation. Do not store flammable, volatile toxic or corrosive chemicals in cold or environmental rooms unless they have been specifically designed for such purposes. Storage or use of dry ice should not be done in cold rooms because large quantities of carbon dioxide are released when dry ice sublimes, displacing oxygen in the room.


Each room is alarmed if the temperature changes by more than one degree, which may indicate that a door has been left open or in rare instances, that refrigerant gas is leaking. If an alarm sounds, please leave the room and the alarm should reset. If it does not, please call the Department of Facilities (617-253-4948, or FIXIT from an MIT telephone) and report the alarm condition. Do not enter the room until it has been checked. Minimize time spent in environmental rooms. Notify a coworker if you are using the room alone.


If you have any questions about work or general air quality in environmental rooms, please contact the Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477) for an evaluation. For more information on safe use of warm and cold rooms, go to





Labeling is important for safe management of chemicals, preventing accidental misuse, inadvertent mixing of incompatible chemicals, and facilitating proper chemical storage. Proper labeling helps assure quick response in the event of an accident, such as a chemical spill or chemical exposure incident. Finally, proper labeling prevents the high costs associated with disposal of "unknown" chemicals.


Labeling requirements. With the exception for transient containers that will contain chemicals for brief periods, one day or less, all containers of chemicals being used or generated in MIT research laboratories must be labeled sufficiently to indicate contents of the container. On original containers, the label should not be removed or defaced in any way until the container is emptied of its original contents. Incoming containers should be inspected to make sure the label is in good condition. It is also advisable to put a date on new chemicals when they are received in the lab, and to put a date on containers of chemicals generated in the lab and the initials of the responsible person. For chemical management expiration dates should also be placed on the label see Part II section 3.2.9 Precautions for Work with Peroxide Forming Chemicals page 25 of this document.


Abbreviations, or other acronyms may be used to label containers of chemicals generated in the lab, as long as all personnel working in the lab understand the meaning of the label or know the location of information, such as a lab notebook, or log sheet that contains the code associated with content information. In addition, small containers, such as vials and test tubes, can be labeled as a group by labeling the outer container (e.g., rack or box). Alternatively, a placard can be used to label the storage location for small containers (e.g., shelf, refrigerator, etc.).


Containers of practically non-toxic and relatively harmless chemicals must also be labeled with content information, including containers such as squirt bottles containing water.




Compressed gas cylinders are used in many workplaces to store gases that vary from flammable (acetylene) to inert (helium). Many of these cylinders store gases at high pressures that can turn a damaged cylinder into a torpedo, capable of going through multiple concrete block walls. Other cylinders store the contents as a liquid (acetylene) and have special orientation requirements. If handled properly, compressed gas cylinders are safe. Regardless of the properties of the gas, any gas under pressure that is improperly stored can result in a hazardous release of energy.


Any person who handles compressed gas cylinders should be informed of their potential health and safety hazards and trained to handle them properly. The EHS Office has developed a standard operating procedure, "Compressed Gases", located at Refer also to for securing gas cylinders.


For additional advice, and/or assistance in training, contact the EHS Office.





8.1. Waste Management Responsibility

Hazardous waste may be generated from laboratory operations, construction and renovation activities, photo processing, and a variety of other activities at the Institute. The proper disposal of waste chemicals at the Institute is of serious concern, and every effort must be made to do it safely and efficiently. The responsibility for the identification and proper management of waste chemicals within the Institute prior to pick-up by the Environment, Health and Safety Office or their designated contractor, rests with the individuals who have generated the waste.


8.2. Training

All personnel using hazardous chemicals must complete the training requirements on managing hazardous waste as outlined in Part I. Section 3. of this Plan.


8.3. Procedures for Hazardous Waste Generators

The following summary provides a general overview of regulatory requirements applicable to hazardous waste generators.


8.3.1.     Waste Identification

A.    Waste Identification:

Hazardous waste (HW) includes materials that possess hazardous characteristics (e.g. toxic, ignitable, corrosive or reactive), or substances that are listed as hazardous waste by the regulatory agencies.


B.    Containers and Labeling:

Separate containers must be used for different categories of chemical wastes and the container must be compatible with the waste contained. Compatible wastes can be consolidated. Empty containers in the lab can be reused for collecting hazardous waste provided the old label is removed or completely defaced. Only compatible chemicals shall be combined in a container. Any chemicals spilled on the outside of the container must be immediately cleaned off. Containers that store hazardous waste must be properly and clearly labeled. Labels must include: 1) the words "Hazardous Waste"; 2) the chemical names of constituents written-out with no abbreviations (e.g. "ethanol"); and 3) the hazards associated with the waste in words (e.g. "TOXIC"). The hazardous waste labels are available from the EHS Office Environmental Management Program (617-452-3477 or ).


8.3.2.     Accumulation and Storage

A.    Accumulation & Storage:

Federal Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and Massachusetts state regulations allow for two types of hazardous waste management areas: less than 90-day storage areas (90-day areas) and satellite accumulation areas (SAAs).


Satellite Accumulation Areas: SAAs must be established at or near the point of generation and remain under the control of the person generating the waste. SAAs must be clearly delineated and are to be posted with the sign "Hazardous Waste Satellite Accumulation Only." The Environmental Management Program has green "Hazardous Waste Satellite Accumulation Only" stickers available upon request.


A maximum of 55 gallons of hazardous waste or 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste may be accumulated at each SAA. Only one in-use container is allowed per waste stream. Hazardous waste containers must be closed unless waste is being added to the container.


Hazardous wastes with free liquids must be kept within secondary containment. EMP will provide secondary containers upon request. In addition, containers of incompatible wastes must be kept segregated and stored in separate secondary containers.


Hazardous waste containers in SAAs must be marked or labeled with the following:



Once a hazardous waste container is filled, the label must be dated and the container removed from the satellite accumulation area within three business days. The Environmental Management Program provides a hazardous waste pick-up service for the waste ready for disposal, or you can move those containers to a 90-day area if one is available. Hazardous waste pick-up can be requested online at or by calling the Environmental Management Program (617-452-3477).


Less than 90 Day Storage Area: The Environmental Management Program must set up and manage your less than 90-day storage area. EMP will delineate the 90-day area with appropriate markings. All wastes in the 90-day area must be labeled as per SAA requirements with the additional requirement that the date must be marked on the waste tag. Hazardous waste containers must be closed unless waste is being added to the container.


B.    Inspections

Hazardous waste areas (satellite accumulation areas and 90-day storage areas) must be inspected on a weekly basis. Personnel managing satellite accumulation areas are responsible for conducting their area's inspections. Environmental Management Program personnel conduct the weekly inspection of all 90-day areas.


8.3.3.     Waste Minimization

Guidelines for Waste Reduction

Plan a procedure for waste disposal before you start on a project. Protection of the environment makes the disposal of large quantities of chemical and solid wastes a difficult problem. It is in everyone's best interest to keep quantities of waste to a minimum.


The following suggestions may help:


A.    Order only the amount of material you need for your project or experiment even if you can get more quantity for the same money.


B.    Use only the amount of material that is needed for conclusive results.


C.    Avoid storing excess material, particularly if it is an extremely toxic or flammable material as this often only adds to the waste stream.


D.    Before disposing of unwanted, unopened, uncontaminated chemicals check with others in your department who may be able to use them. 


E.    On termination of a research project or completion of a thesis, all unused chemicals to be kept by the laboratory shall be labeled.


F.    Make sure all samples and products to be disposed of are properly identified, labeled with its chemical name, and containerized.  Do not leave them for others to clean up after you. 


8.3.4.     SPECIAL PROCEDURES REQUIRED for Lab Waste Stream

Unknown waste chemicals cannot be accepted for disposal.  It is the responsibility of the Department, Laboratory, or Center involved to identify all chemicals and this may require polling laboratory personnel, students and faculty members to ascertain the owner of such unknown waste and its identity. If identification is not possible, the Environmental Management Program can arrange for analysis of unknown materials and the Principal Investigator/Lab Group will be responsible for the cost of analysis.


Gas cylinders are to be returned to the supplier.  Some small lecture bottles are non‑returnable, which become a disposal problem when empty or near empty with a residual amount of gas.  The Environmental Management Program will arrange for disposal of lecture bottles. However, the Principal Investigator/Lab Group is responsible for the cost of disposal.  As outlined in Part IV. Section 2.4, small non-returnable gas cylinders originally purchased from MIT's preferred vendor Airgas, can be returned to the vendor.


Controlled drugs to be discarded cannot be disposed of as hazardous waste.  The handling, records, and disposal of controlled drugs are the responsibility of the Department, Laboratory, or Center involved operating within the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulations. However, the Environmental Management Program can provide assistance during the process.


Laboratories often generate wastes that may consist of a combination of radioactive, biohazardous, or hazardous chemical contaminants.  In addition any waste material contaminated with radioactive, biohazardous or hazardous chemical waste and is also considered a "sharp" requires segregation from other regulated wastes.  Consult the EHS Lab Waste Streams Chart for guidance on the proper segregation and labeling of the wastes.  The chart may be downloaded from:



8.4 Sink Discharges/Wastewater

The EHS Office has developed a list of chemicals and materials that may be discharged into the sinks or floor drains. The list is based on regulatory requirements, MIT EHS policy, specific buildings, operations and activities knowledge, best practices and professional judgment regarding the potential impact of a chemical if discharged down the drain.  The following materials are the only allowable discharges to laboratory sinks:




Aluminum, Al3+

Borate, BO33-, B4O72-

Ammonium, NH4+

Bromide, Br-

Calcium, Ca 2+

Carbonate, CO32-

Cesium, Cs+

Chloride, Cl-

Iron, Fe+

Bicarbonate, HCO3-

Lithium, Li+

Bisulfite, HSO3- , Bisulfate, HSO4-

Magnesium, Mg2+

Fluoride, F-

Manganese, Mn2+ , Mn3+ , Mn4+ , Mn7+

Hydroxide, OH-

Potassium, K+

Iodide, I-

Sodium, Na+

Nitrate, NO3_  , Nitrite, NO2_

Strontium, Sr2+

Oxide, O2-

Tin, Sn2+

Phosphate, PO43-

Titanium, Ti3+, Ti4+

Sulfate, SO42-  , Sulfide, SO32-

Zirconium, Zr2+

Thiosulfate, S2O32-

The list is available as a sticker that could be placed near the sink.

All materials that are not on the list of the allowed discharges must be accumulated and managed as hazardous waste. For a case-specific evaluation of materials that are not on the list, a request can be made to the Environmental Management Program (EMP) of the EHS Office or the PSFC EHS Coordinator.




The transportation of hazardous materials and compressed gases over public roads or by air is strictly governed by federal and state regulations.  Dangerous goods, as defined by governing regulations, include:


Any shipment of these items that is to travel over public roads or by air must comply with regulations regarding quantity, packaging, and labeling.  The principle regulations are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) (49 CFR 100-185), regulations for shipping hazardous materials. Information can be accessed at   PSFC personnel who intend to ship materials by air or land, or convey these items over public roads by Institute or personal vehicles must contact the EHS Office.  More details regarding shipping hazardous materials and the EHS Office service can be found on the EHS Website at:


If you plan to ship materials, the EHS Office offers two awareness courses:  "Shipping Hazardous Chemicals Awareness" and "Shipping Biohazardous Materials Awareness". You should select options in the EHS Training Needs Assessment to indicate you may ship hazardous chemicals or biological materials, to assure you are provided the appropriate awareness training.    Individuals may register for the courses at .


If you are shipping or receiving chemicals that are not generally found in commerce (i.e. available commercially), you may be subject to additional rules through the EPA Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). See Part IV. Section 8. for additional information on TSCA.


If you plan to ship materials to other countries, this will be considered an export, and there are additional requirements you need to meet to assure the materials are properly shipped.  More guidance is on the EHS shipping website at:





10.1.   Appendix II-A OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)

Most MSDSs provide PELs for individual chemicals, if a PEL has been established. For a complete list of all PELs, consult the OSHA web site at


10.2.   Appendix II-B ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs)

Most MSDSs also provide TLVs for individual chemicals.  American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) TLVs can also be looked up on the National Library of Medicine Toxnet web site at, (then search the Hazardous Substance Data Bank by individual chemical). A complete list of all ACGIH TLVs is available at the EHS Office (N52-496) or can be purchased at


10.3.   Appendix II-C How to Determine if a Chemical is a Particularly Hazardous Substance

As discussed in Section 3, particularly hazardous substances (PHSs) are those chemicals with special acute or chronic hazards.  OSHA did not provide a list of PHSs because new chemicals are continually being developed and tested in research laboratories.  The OSHA Laboratory Standard provides a definition with which researchers can classify their chemicals to determine which ones have special hazards. OSHA defines PHSs as those chemicals that are select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or have a high degree of acute toxicity. Details of the definitions and places to obtain information are provided below.


10.3.1.   Particularly Hazardous Substance Evaluation of Common Laboratory Chemicals Used at MIT

The first place to look for information on PHSs is on the searchable list Toxicity Evaluation of Common Laboratory Chemicals Used at MIT, available from the EHS Office at the Chemical Hygiene Plan website ( ). The EHS Office has taken 160 chemicals used widely in MIT laboratories and evaluated them to determine whether they are particularly hazardous.  If a chemical is not on the list, it does not mean that it is not a PHS.  You then must perform your own determination using the criteria provided below.


10.3.2.   Select Carcinogens

Certain potent carcinogens are classified as "select carcinogen" by OSHA and treated as PHSs.


A select carcinogen is a chemical that is:


OSHA Carcinogens: A list of all OSHA carcinogens is provided in Part II. Section 3. under Partial List of Select Carcinogens. For more information on any of these chemicals, consult the OSHA web site at .


NTP and IARC Carcinogens:  The MSDS for an individual chemical frequently lists whether the chemical is an NTP or IARC carcinogen.  If not provided on the MSDS, go to the National Library of Medicine Toxnet web site at and search the Hazardous Substance Data Bank by individual chemical.  The data bank will indicate if the chemical is an NTP or IARC carcinogen. If you want additional information on why these chemicals were classified as confirmed or possible human carcinogens or complete lists of all chemicals evaluated, consult the NTP or IARC web sites.  The NTP Annual Report on human carcinogens can be found at: .  The IARC Monographs on human carcinogens can be found at:


10.3.3.   Reproductive Toxins

Reproductive toxins are chemicals that adversely affect the reproductive process. These toxins include mutagens that can cause chromosomal damage and teratogens, the effects of which include retarded fetal growth, birth defects, fetal malformations, and fetal death.  They also include chemicals that may injure male and female reproductive health.


Knowledge of how chemicals affect reproductive health is in its preliminary stage. It has been only since 1973 that manufacturers were required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to test chemicals other than drugs for their effects on reproductive health. Only a limited number have been tested thoroughly on animals for reproductive effects.


MSDSs will often indicate if the chemical has been found to have reproductive health effects.  If there is no information on the MSDS, the most comprehensive list of reproductive toxins is the chemical list of the State of California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).  This list includes chemicals known to the State of California to cause reproductive toxicity and indicates whether it causes female, male, or developmental health effects. The list is available on the web at:


You may also consult general references such as the Catalog of Teratogenic Agents, Seventh Edition, T.H. Shepard, ed., 1992, and other references available in the EHS Office library in N52-496.  Please call the Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477) for additional information.


10.3.4.   Substances with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity

Acutely toxic substances produce adverse effects when exposed individuals receive only small doses of that substance for a short period of time (hydrogen fluoride, for example). OSHA defines substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity as those "which may be fatal or cause damage to target organs as the results of a single exposure or exposures of short duration."


For many chemicals, the health effects in humans may not have been tested.  Frequently, only basic animal testing has been done, such as the LD50 or the LC50.  The LD50 is the Lethal Dose that kills 50 percent of the animals when the chemical is given orally or applied to the skin.  The LC50 is the Lethal Concentration in air that kills 50 percent of the animals.


OSHA has given dose criteria for substances of high acute toxicity based on LD50 and LC50 animal tests as follows:


Compounds with High Degree of Acute Toxicity:





Oral LD50 (albino rats)

50-500 mg/kg

<50 mg/kg

Skin Contact LD50 (albino rabbits)

200-1000 mg/kg

<200 mg/kg

Inhalation LC50 (albino rats)

200-2000 ppm in air

<200 ppm in air

Probable Equivalent Lethal Oral Dose for Humans (for 70 kg or 150 lb person)

<35 g (about 1 oz or 2 tablespoons)

<3.5 g (about 1/10 oz or 1/2 teaspoon)


Note: both "toxic" and "highly toxic" chemicals in the table above are considered by OSHA to have a high degree of acute toxicity, and therefore are particularly hazardous substances.


Animal toxicity test results are often presented in MSDSs.  If not provided on the MSDS, go to the National Library of Medicine Toxnet web set at and search the Hazardous Substance Data Bank by individual chemical. Under your chemical, select "Animal Toxicity Studies" and then "Non-Human Toxicity Values" from the table of contents to obtain LD50 and LC50 test results.


Select Toxins

As a result of requirements of the U.S. Patriot Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have identified a select group of biologically-derived toxins, which are considered particularly hazardous because of their acute toxicity.  They have enacted regulations pertaining to these agents when they are present in amounts above regulatory threshold quantities. These agents and the threshold quantities are provided in the tables below.


DHHS Toxins


Regulatory Threshold Quantity Requiring CDC Certificate of Registration


100 mg


100 mg


1000 mg


100 mg


100 mg


100 mg

Shiga-like ribosome inactivating proteins

100 mg




        Overlap Toxins (DHHS and USDA)


Regulatory Threshold Quantity Requiring CDC or USDA Certificate of Registration

Botulinum neurotoxins

0.5 mg

Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin

100 mg


100 mg

Staphylococcal enterotoxins

5 mg

T-2 toxin

1000 mg


Please see Part II. Section 3.4 for MIT requirements for ordering, use and storage of these biotoxins to ensure that the Institute as a whole does not exceed threshold quantities, and to ensure that the Institute manages these biotoxins safely.


Please note also that there are other biotoxins such as aflatoxins and picotoxin that are not regulated under DHHS and USDA, but that would be considered PHSs because they meet the definition of acute toxicity.  Appropriate precautions should be taken when handling these biotoxins, as well as other biotoxins not mentioned because, as a class of chemical, they are usually highly toxic.


10.3.5.   Substances with Unknown Toxicity

New substances used in laboratories frequently have not been tested for their acute, carcinogenic, or reproductive toxicity.  These compounds should be used with the utmost caution and generally handled as if they are particularly hazardous substances. For example, a laboratory working with chemicals it knows to be potent mutagens, but which have not yet been screened for carcinogenic or reproductive effects, may choose to consider these chemicals PHSs and handle them accordingly.  

PART III. PSFC Specific Chemical Hygiene Practice or Lab Specific




The PSFC has developed a number of standardized SOPS for the use of the most common chemicals and processes found at the PSFC. These can be customized for the use in specific labs, or there is a template for developing Lab Specific SOPs is included in this Part to provide assistance to laboratory personnel generating specific safety procedures. The standardized procedures include:



Additional Lab Specific SOPs must be developed for any operation or hazardous material for which the general safety procedures contained in Part II. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan are inadequate to address hazards. These procedures must be written to clearly identify additional or special precautions, controls, personal protective equipment and emergency procedures that are required, as well as the nature of the hazards the procedure is intended to minimize. Each Lab Specific SOP must be reviewed by the PI and the PSFC Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO).  EHS is available to assist with development or review of Lab Specific SOPs as well.


A Lab Specific SOP that addresses the requirements noted above must be documented and maintained in the laboratory and it is suggested the SOP be included in Part III. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan. A Lab Specific SOP template is provided in Appendix III-A, paragraph 4 below, to facilitate Lab Specific SOP development. Instructions regarding use of the SOP template are contained in the following section.




2.1.   Title, Authors, Reviewers, Date and Hazard Type

Complete the blanks shown in this section. The revision date should indicate when the most recent modifications were made to this procedure. The title of the procedure should indicate the specific chemical, task or experiment for which it was written. Note that each procedure, and its subsequent revisions, should be reviewed by the PI, and the  Chemical Hygiene Officer. The EHS Office can review the SOP as well.  The most appropriate box to indicate hazard type covered by the Laboratory Specific SOP should be checked.


2.2.   Scope and Applicability

Complete boxes.  Include a general description of what activities are covered under this procedure. List any specific examples of when the procedure must be implemented or any exemptions when the procedure is not required. If authorization for this procedure is limited to designated staff, that fact should be noted in this section.  The brief description of the operation or experiment should be used to summarize the basic safety concerns or hazards and critical controls.


2.3.   Chemical Hazards

Complete the hazard description table for each of the principal materials utilized in this procedure. Material Safety Data Sheets, when available, should be obtained and attached to the procedures template. Many operations can result in secondary materials or hazardous by-products. A discussion of these materials should be included in this section if they represent a significant, but different hazard than the other materials, or if the hazard is unknown.Information about the SDS location for chemicals should be noted, or the SDS (s) could be attached to the SOP.


2.4.   Step by Step Hazard Summary

In most cases, the hazard is not just about the chemical(s) being used, but how they are being used. In some cases the hazards may be related to the equipment being used for a step, or to the nature of the process involving materials used.  This section is appropriate for a procedure involving several steps or tasks, as do most experiments, highlighting concerns at critical points in the process.  List the step, hazards associated with the step, and the controls to contain the hazard.  Example SOPs are provided at:


2.5.   Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Conduct a comprehensive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) evaluation for the referenced materials or operation. The determination should include both the type of protective equipment or clothing materials. The results from this evaluation should be identified by completing the PPE and Clothing tables, but could also be included in the step by step process in section 2.4 above.

This section can be used to provide more details regarding PPE to be used, such as gloves, clothing, eye protection, etc.  For guidance on PPE assessment, go to:   

2.6.   Special Precautions

Provide general information on specific training requirements for the procedure, any medical surveillance   requirements, or other precautions that might be warranted.


2.7.    Special Emergency Procedures

Generic information related to emergency response activities is already addressed in Part II. Section 3.  of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. List any additional or specific equipment, supplies or procedures that are unique to the process or operation in this SOP. 



3.1.   Appendix III-A Lab Specific SOP Template

This template form is available at:


Please mark an "X" in the gray boxes where appropriate to indicate selection.








Revision #:  


Reviewed by (Check all applicable):                                   __CHO           __ PI             __ EHS


Name and Signature:






Chemical Specific


 Process/ Equipment (primarily chemical hazard)          


 Process/ Equipment (primarily physical hazard)







DLC: PSFC     



Research Group:   



Lab Bldg., Room(s):  



Brief Description of Operation/Experiment , key hazards and summary of controls:











Principal Chemicals Used

Peroxide Former






Biological Toxin

Acutely Toxic



Shock Sensitive


Penetrates  Skin







Other Comments























































































































































Describe how and where SDS information for above chemicals is maintained in the lab (notebook or on computer or attached to this SOP)






Step by Step Hazard Analysis


Enumerate the steps to be followed in performing the procedure and the required precautions to avoid harm. The steps should be detailed and should include prohibited activities and cautionary statements, where applicable.  Include in procedure waste management requirements.


































Special PPE required is noted below.  Note:  Standard PPE, listed in Part II of the PSFC CHP should always be worn in the lab.  The section below is for additional PPE required due to the unusual nature of materials involved.  If no additional PPE is needed, this section can be deleted.  





Faceshield                                                 Safety Glasses


Protective Clothing, Special lab coat, chemical resistant apron, etc. (list type)



Other (list item or items)



Gloves  (thickness, length, and whether disposable or reusable should also be considered in gloves selected.)










Nitrile – double glove


Silver shield or 4H












Other (list)



Respirator (If checked, contact EHS Office for additional assistance, unless already in program)








Medical Surveillance: 



Temperature/Pressure Sensitive:



Primary Containment (i.e. BSC, Fume Hood, Glove Box):






This section is for any emergency procedures different from standard responses, or for additional emergency information due to the nature of materials or task.






Chemical Spill:





Personal exposure or other medical emergency:






 I give permission for EHS to post this on accessible only to the MIT Community


Definitions:  BSC: Biosafety Cabinet

CHP: Chemical Hygiene Plan

                  CHO: Chemical Hygiene Officer

EHS: Environment, Health and Safety

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment

SDS: Safety Data Sheet                       

                  SOP: Standard Operating Procedure



PART IV. Additional Administrative Provisions




MIT has designed and implemented a comprehensive and integrated Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHS-MS). This management system provides better institutional accountability for achieving and maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local environment, health and safety regulations in MIT's departments, laboratories, and centers, while simultaneously retaining the independence of research and teaching. The EHS-MS also seeks to create a more sustainable campus by encouraging the incorporation of positive initiatives into activities, such as reducing wastes and toxics, preventing pollution, and conserving and reusing resources. One of the defining features of MIT's EHS-MS is the integration of regulatory compliance with positive initiatives and educational programs in a decentralized academic research setting.


This Chemical Hygiene Plan is an integral component of the EHS-MS. It is an administrative tool that provides for the establishment of safe and sound workplace practices in the laboratory, and ensures the Institute's regulatory compliance with the OSHA Laboratory Standard.  The Chemical Hygiene Plan incorporates and advances core components of the EHS-MS, such as clarifying roles and responsibilities, outlining training requirements, identifying chemical risks, and documenting safe operating procedures to mitigate those risks. For more information on the EHS Management System, please visit 





2.1. Laboratory and Chemical Security


To minimize the theft and improper use of hazardous chemicals including toxic and corrosive substances the following actions should be taken:


1.  Inventories must be maintained for all hazardous chemicals. Hazardous chemicals include chemicals for which there is statistically significant evidence of health effects following exposure as well as flammable and explosive substances. The use of MIT's centrally provided chemical inventory platform is strongly recommended. Effective Spring 2015 MIT will be migrating to a new platform which offers more features and funtionality. The platform is called CISPro Cloud. For more information please contact the EHS Office by filling out the online request form or by calling 2-3477. In addition please indicate whether a chemical substance is an engineered nanomaterial, having at least one dimension in the nano range (1 to 100 nm), by adding the designation "nano" to the name.  This includes engineered nanoparticles, wires, tubes, and other nano structures

2.  Access to all hazardous chemicals, including toxic and corrosive substances, should be restricted. Specifically, these materials should be stored in laboratories or storerooms that are kept locked when laboratory personnel are not present.

3. In the case of unusually toxic or hazardous materials, additional precautions are advisable, such as keeping the materials in locked storage cabinets or storerooms. Unusually toxic or hazardous materials include substances with a high degree of acute and/or chronic toxicity and also may include explosives, certain highly reactive and/or corrosive substances. Unusually toxic chemicals are those that meet the OSHA definition of high acute toxicity (oral LD50 <50mg/kg, skin contact Ld50 < 200 mg/kg, or inhalation LC50 <200 ppm in air).

4.  Areas where biological agents and radioactive material are stored should be kept secure when not in use.

5.  Restrict access to the laboratory to authorized personnel only and become familiar with these people

6.  Ship chemicals by following requirements in Part II section 9 to ensure safety and security.



2.2. PSFC Prior Approvals


Researchers must obtain prior approval from the PSFC EHS Coordinator before purchasing any of the 41 chemicals (see Part IV Appendix 10.1) with low threshold reporting quantities from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) larger list of chemicals of interest (COI). EHS Coordinators will inform the EHS Office when a chemical from the list is purchased (though no prior approval from the central EHS office is required).


Standard operating procedures (SOP's) must be developed to outline the procedures and precautions to be followed whenever a new chemical is introduced if that chemical is not covered by an existing SOP. New users of a chemical already covered by an SOP may be required to develop a new SOP as well, at the direction of their supervisor or the CHO. Thus, when considering the purchase of a new chemical, the supervisor must initiate the development of an appropriate SOP.

The PSFC Fiscal Office staff will refer any purchase order involving the purchase of chemicals to the CHO or the CHO's designated representative. All purchase orders, interdepartmental requisitions and EREQ's for hazardous chemicals must be approved by the CHO or her designate. Chemicals should not be purchased with MIT credit cards without the express written prior approval of the CHO.

This provides a mechanism for maintaining and updating the chemical inventory. The CHO shall maintain contact with the supervisor to ensure that an appropriate SOP is developed.



2.3. MIT-Wide Signature Control Program for the Purchase of Certain Hazardous Materials

The MIT Procurement Department through its Purchasing Policies and Procedures has established Institute-wide restrictions on the purchase of certain hazardous materials. These materials require pre-approval by authorized MIT agents prior to purchase. These materials include:


Radioactive Materials

Nitrous Oxide Gas

Controlled Substances, such as drugs


Hypodermic Needles and Syringes

Liquid Petroleum Gases

Ethyl Alcohol

Certain Biological Materials

Certain Poisons



Detailed information on the purchase of these materials can be found on the Procurement Department's website at  


2.4. Purchase of Large Chemical Quantities 

In most cases, MIT discourages the practice of bulk ordering of chemicals that reduces the chemical cost per unit volume. Although bulk orders may save individual Departments, Laboratories, and Centers (DLCs) money in the short-term, in the long run, the cost of disposal of unused chemicals can far outweigh any savings from the bulk order. However, if it can be demonstrated that the bulk purchase of a chemical for an on-going laboratory process can simultaneously reduce disposal costs and not increase risks to environment, health and safety, the EHS Office may support some degree of bulk purchasing. Contact the EHS Office to discuss particular situations if you are considering a bulk purchase.  


The following points should be addressed to determine the proper volume of any chemical to order:



If you need assistance in making a determination on the most appropriate quantity of chemical to purchase, please contact the EHS Office at 617-452-3477.


2.5. Purchase of Non-Returnable Gas Cylinders

The purchase of non-returnable gas cylinders should be avoided. All gas cylinders should be returned to the supplying vendor when their use is completed. All non-returnable cylinders will have to be disposed of as hazardous waste, and the cost of doing so will be charged to the Department, Laboratory, or Center.


"Lecture bottles" are often considered non-returnable by the vendor. However, MIT has an agreement with their preferred chemical vendor, Airgas, to take back non-returnable gas cylinders, including "lecture bottles" that were purchased through them. Contact Airgas Gas on-campus directly at 617-253-4761 (3-4761 from an MIT telephone) for more information.


2.6. Purchase of Select Toxins

Certain biological toxins are governed by special regulations that require strict controls if threshold amounts are exceeded.  Researchers working with regulated toxins must submit paper requisitions to the EHS Office Biosafety Program.  More details are provided at  .





3.1. Medical Evaluation

Employees or students who wish to discuss occupationally-related medical issues with the MIT Medical Department may do so.  During this medical evaluation, the clinician will determine if a medical examination is necessary.  Medical evaluations and examinations may be arranged by contacting the Medical Department, Occupational Medicine Service at 617-253-8552.


When a Medical Evaluation May be Necessary

Any employee who exhibits adverse health effects from a chemical or hazardous material exposure as a result of MIT-related research or work should report to the Medical Department immediately for a medical evaluation. 


Employees or students who work with hazardous materials are entitled to a medical evaluation when any of the following conditions occur:



Information to Provide to the Clinician

At the time of the medical evaluation, the following information shall be provided to the clinician:


Clinician's Written Opinion

The MIT Medical Department and the Industrial Hygiene Program within the Environment, Health and Safety Office have a collaborative relationship in dealing with chemical and other work-related exposures that may result in the need for medical care.  This collaborative relationship includes protecting patient information while ensuring that supervisors receive the information necessary to ensure that an individual's return to work following medical treatment for a work-related exposure does not compromise the patient's health.


All patient medical information is protected by law and is considered strictly confidential.  A patient, however, is entitled to view his/her medical record.  When a work-related exposure has occurred that results in medical examination and/or treatment, the Medical Department will notify the supervisor of the incident, along with any recommended restrictions on work activity.


Additional Steps to be Taken

MIT requires the Supervisor's Report of Occupational Injury and Illness to be completed within 24 hours, when a spill or other accident triggers a medical evaluation or examination.  The report, to be completed by the Supervisor, is available online at the secure MIT Human Resources website "". An MIT personal certificate is required to access this document.


The MIT EHS Office has developed a standard operating procedure (SOP), "Reporting Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses of OSHA-Covered Personnel" to assist Departments, Laboratories, or Centers (DLCs) in this type of reporting, which OSHA requires.  The SOP may be found at .



3.2. Medical Surveillance

Medical surveillance is the process of using medical exams and/or biological monitoring to determine potential changes in health as a result of a hazardous chemical or other exposure.  Certain OSHA standards require a clinician evaluation as part of medical surveillance.  Medical surveillance is required when initial monitoring reveals exposure levels that exceed levels (called “action levels”) allowed under OSHA standards.  MIT Medical Department provides medical surveillance services.  If you expect that your work will involve a hazardous exposure that may not be sufficiently addressed through engineering or administrative controls, a baseline exam may be advised before beginning work.  The baseline exam is compared against follow up exams to determine any changes in health that may have resulted from exposure to the hazard.  In addition, medical surveillance is offered to employees or students who are routinely exposed to certain hazards.  Examples of hazards that are monitored through the medical surveillance program include:



This is not a full list of hazards for which medical surveillance is available.  Individuals with questions pertaining to occupational hazards and the possible need for medical surveillance are encouraged to contact the Occupational Medicine Service within the MIT Medical Department.  The Occupational Medicine Service in turn works collaboratively with the EHS Office to determine the need for and extent of medical surveillance.   



Enrollment in Medical Surveillance

For those individuals whose work involves exposures with potential medical surveillance requirements, it is the responsibility of supervisors to identify new employees/students who are exposed to hazards, and to provide names, work addresses, and MIT Identification Numbers (MIT ID) to the EHS Office.  Individuals not otherwise identified but who believe that they incur hazardous exposures, or believe they may have been inadvertently omitted, may self-enroll by dialing 617-452-3477.  Supervisors who believe that individuals have been inadvertently omitted from medical surveillance may also contact this number.  Finally, the EHS Office may identify individuals or populations of individuals at risk and invite their participation. 


More information on Medical Consultation, Evaluation, and Surveillance may be obtained from the Medical Department's Occupational Medicine webpage at


3.3. Researchers with Medical Conditions

Individuals with medical conditions that could lead to sudden incapacity and who work with hazardous materials or processes during the course of their research may be at increased risk for injury to themselves or others. Anyone with such a medical condition who believes that they may be at increased risk is recommended to contact MIT Occupational Medicine services (E23-171, 253-8552) for consultation and advice on how they may more safely perform their work. Supervisors who have concerns about an individual's health condition and its effect on that person's ability to safely work in a laboratory should also consult with MIT Occupational Medical Services.


Postdoctoral researchers in need of special accommodation as a result of a medical condition should contact the MIT Disability Services Office (E19-215, x4-0082). Students should contact MIT Office of Student Disabilities Services (7-145, x3-1674). Supervisors who have concerns regarding an individual’s accommodation requests should contact the appropriate Disabilities Services Office. It is MIT's policy to make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations necessary for researchers to carry out their work.


3.4 First Aid Kits

It is the policy of MIT Medical and EHS not to recommend or issue generic first aid kits for general use on the MIT Campus.  Such supplies are readily available at E23 Urgent Care, or can be brought to the scene by Campus Police (X100) within minutes if indicated. Individual workers may choose to purchase first aid kits for their own personal use in treating trivial incidental injuries. Kits that meet ANSI and AMA standards are available for purchase in the Pharmacy at MIT Medical. Purchasing, securing, and maintaining such kits are the personal responsibility of the individual. Work environments with specific potential health hazards on the MIT Cambridge Campus should be equipped with appropriate emergency equipment and in certain limited cases, with medical supplies. Contact the EHSO 2-3477 for a hazard assessment and possible recommendation for such special supplies which the affected Departments will purchase accordingly. This may include ANSI and AMA approved simple first aid kits that would be procured and maintained by the Department or their designee. For the Medical Department’s Policy on First Aid Kits at MIT, visit:





4.1.  Exposure Assessment

The EHS Office Industrial Hygiene Program provides exposure assessment services to the Institute community.  Exposure assessments are measurements of air contaminants, noise levels, or other health hazards such as heat stress to determine if they are within limits that are considered safe for routine occupational exposure.  Employees who believe they have had an exposure should report it to the PI/Supervisor or the EHS Representative. The PI should contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer or the Industrial Hygiene Program (617-452-3477) for an evaluation.  The employee can also contact the CHO or the EHS Office directly, but should notify their PI/Supervisor of the situation.  In addition, anyone with a reason to believe that exposure levels for a substance routinely exceed the action level, or in the absence of an action level the PEL, may request exposure monitoring.  Monitoring may be requested at any time, however, the Chemical Hygiene Officer must be notified of monitoring requests.  The Industrial Hygiene Program will conduct, or arrange to have conducted, exposure monitoring. 


If the initial monitoring reveals an employee exposure over the action level (or the PEL) for a hazard for which OSHA has developed a specific standard (e.g. lead), the exposure monitoring provisions of that standard, including medical surveillance, shall be followed.  It will be the responsibility of the Principal Investigator or Supervisor to insure that necessary periodic monitoring requirements are met.


Within 15 working days after the receipt of any monitoring results, the Industrial Hygiene Program will notify the employee or student of the results in writing, either individually or by posting results in an appropriate location that is accessible to employees.  The PI/Supervisor and CHO will also be notified of monitoring results and be provided a copy of a written report. A copy will be kept in the Industrial Hygiene Program's records. 

The Industrial Hygiene Program and the Chemical Hygiene Officer will establish and maintain for each employee an accurate record of any measurements taken to monitor exposures.  Records, including those from monitoring provided by other qualified services, will be managed in accordance with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1020, Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records. 




5.1. Exposure Assessment

The Industrial Hygiene Program and the Chemical Hygiene Officer will establish and maintain an accurate record of any measurements taken to monitor exposures.  Records, including those from monitoring provided by other qualified services, will be managed in accordance with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1020, Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records.


5.2. Medical Consultation and Examination

Results of medical consultations and examinations will be kept by the MIT Medical Department for a length of time specified by the appropriate medical records standard. This time will be at least the term of employment plus 30 years as required by OSHA.


5.3. Training

The PI/Supervisor or designee must keep a copy of the outline of the topics covered in Lab-Specific Chemical Hygiene Training.  The roster or lists of researchers who have completed the lab-specific training and read the Chemical Hygiene Plan must be submitted to the EHS Coordinator.  These training records are then entered into the EHS-MS central training records database.  Web-based training records are automatically entered into the database when a course is completed. The EHS Office is responsible for entering training records into the database for the courses they teach. When an employee or student leaves the Institute, their training records are moved into an archive training database.  Training records are kept for at least 3 years after an employee or student leaves the Institute.


5.4. Fume Hood Monitoring

Data on annual fume hood monitoring will be kept by the EHS Office. Fume hood monitoring data are considered maintenance records, and as such, the full data will be kept for one year and summary data for 5 years.


5.5. Inspection Reports

A copy of the most recent Level II. Laboratory Inspection Checklist and PI Inspection Report, as outline below, should always be maintained locally within the Department, Laboratory, or Center by the EHS Coordinator. An additional copy will be maintained centrally by the EHS Office.


5.6. Lab Specific Policies and SOPs

If Lab Specific SOPs are developed in addition to the SOPs contained in Part II. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan, copies must be maintained in the laboratory accessible to laboratory personnel. In addition, copies of the additional Lab Specific SOPs may be included in Part III. of this Chemical Hygiene Plan.





6.1.  Inspections and Audits

As a component of the MIT Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHS-MS), the Institute has implemented a framework for conducting laboratory/work space inspections and audits to determine laboratory/work space-specific compliance with environment, health, and safety policies, laws, and regulations. The EHS-MS inspections examine a broad spectrum of areas including postings, documentation and training, safety equipment, laboratory/shop protocol, waste, and satellite accumulation areas (SAA).


The purpose of the inspection and audit system is to assist the Institute and laboratories in maintaining a safe work and study environment, ensuring compliance with regulations, identifying the locations where training or retraining is needed, and to fulfill MIT's commitment to environment, health and safety stewardship. This program will satisfy the PSFC requirements for chemical hygiene inspections.

The MIT EHS-MS requires three levels of inspection and audit that must be implemented across the Institute: Local Periodic Inspections (Level I. Inspections), PSFC-Wide Inspections (Level II. Inspections), Institutional Audits (Level III. Audit). For more information on the MIT EHS Inspection and Audit Program, visit the EHS Management System website at and click on "Inspections" in the EHS-MS Manual.


6.2. Compliance and Enforcement

Each individual at the Institute is responsible for complying with all MIT, state, and federal rules, regulations, and required procedures; and is held accountable for their actions. If a PI/Supervisor does not take appropriate action to address problems noted during inspection or audits, he or she may be subject to compliance and enforcement action.  Issues of non-compliance will be taken to the PSFC EHS Committee for recommendations regarding disciplinary action.  The EHS Committee will provide recommendations to the PSFC Director for action.  Deliberate failure to comply that results in serious jeopardy to personnel safety and health or the environment may result in loss of laboratory privileges.  


A framework for establishing consequences for poor EHS performance and incentives for promoting best management practices has been adopted by the Institute. Visit the EHS Management System website for additional detail at and click on "Roles and Responsibilities" in the EHS-MS Manual.




The PSFC reserves the right to institute a Hazared Communication program for non laboratory areas. Until such a program is launched, however, all employees, visitors, and students who will be working with any chemicals are subject the requirements detailed in the PSFC Chemical Hygiene Plan and to take all required training, up to date as specified.


OSHA Hazard Communication Requirements

This Chemical Hygiene Plan also applies to those areas within this Department, Lab, or Center where hazardous chemicals are used that are not laboratory operations.  Such spaces include [Note: List operations here such as machine shops, the kitchens for glassware cleaning, etc.].  All provisions of this Plan apply to these spaces.  In addition, for these work areas the PI/Supervisor must:


With respect to training, employees and students working in these areas may choose to take General Chemical Hygiene for Laboratories or General HAZCOM training for non-laboratory areas.  They will still need work area-specific training.


With respect to chemical labeling, all potentially hazardous chemicals transferred from their original container to a second container must be labeled with the chemical name and the principal hazard. For more information on labeling, see Part II. Section 6.


Note:  Part I, 4 of this document, provides information on changes to OSHA Hazard Communication Standard in Spring of 2012, to adopt the International Global Harmonization System, which will result in changes to Material Safety Data Sheets, and to chemical labels.  Please review that section for more details.




The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a set of EPA regulations (40 CFR 700-799) designed to assess new chemicals for environmental and health risks before they enter the market, and remove existing chemicals from the market if they pose substantial environmental, health and safety risks.  Certain laboratory activities may be regulated under TSCA. 


MIT developed a streamlined program for complying with the TSCA New Chemicals Program exemption for Research and Development, TSCA Import and Export requirements, and TSCA Allegations of Adverse Effects and Notification of Substantial Risk Reporting.  Note:  carbon nanotubes are considered "new chemicals" under TSCA.


Please contact the EHS Office at 617-452-3477 if you:


In addition, the following roles and responsibilities help ensure TSCA compliance: 



The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III regulations were developed by the EPA to deal with the release of hazardous materials into the community, emergency response planning, and community right to know.  A section of these regulations requires that all facilities in a community using hazardous chemicals report quantities greater than the "Threshold Planning Quantity" to local fire departments, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Massachusetts State Department of Environmental Protection.  The purpose is to give fire fighters and emergency responders information on what is inside a facility before an emergency occurs. 


To comply with this regulation, MIT submits a chemical inventory each year on March 1 that covers both its facilities and laboratory operations.  The EHS Representative in each laboratory receives a list of approximately 40 SARA Title III chemicals in December. The quantity of each SARA Title III chemical on hand must be inventoried and reported back to the EHS Office.  The EHS Office tabulates the lab inventories for the entire campus and reports total amounts and amounts by location to the required authorities.  Note that most of the SARA Inventory chemicals are particularly hazardous substances (as defined by OSHA). The SARA Inventory includes only those chemicals that are in wide use on campus and is most likely only a partial list of all the particularly hazardous substances that may be in use in a lab.  A separate list of all particularly hazardous substances is recommended under the OSHA Laboratory Standardbut does not require quantity information to be tabulated.


10.  Appendix


10.1.   DHS List of 41 Chemicals With Low Threshold Reporting Quantities That Require Prior Approval From The PSFC EHS Coordinator Before Purchasing


Chemical of Interest


Chemical Abstract Service   (CAS) Number

 Screening Threshold Quantity (lbs)


































Methyl phosphonyl difluoride







o,o-Diethyl S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] phosphorothiolate




Diethyl methylphosphonate




N,N-Diethyl phosphoramidic dichloride








N,N-Diisopropyl phosphoramidic dichloride








N,N-Dimethyl phosphoramidic dichloride








Ethyl phosphonyl difluoride




Ethylphosphonothioic dichloride




HN1 (nitrogen mustard-1)




HN2 (nitrogen mustard-2)




HN3 (nitrogen mustard-3)




Isopropylphosphonothioic dichloride




Isopropylphosphonyl difluoride




Lewisite 1




Lewisite 2

Bis (2-Chlorovinyl)chloroarsine



Lewisite 3

Tris (2-Chlorovinyl)chloroarsine



Methylphosphonothiotic dichloride




Sulfur Mustard (mustard gas (H))

Bis (2-chloroethyl) sulfide



O-Mustard (T)

Bis (2-chlorothioethyl) ether



Nitrogen mustard hydrochloride

Bis (2-chloroethyl)methylamine hydrochloride



Propylphosphonothiotice dichloride




Propylphosphonyl difluoride





o-Isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate




1,2-Bis(2-chloroethylthio) ethane




o-Pinacolyl methylphosphonofluoridate












o-ethyl-S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methyl phosphonothiolate




Appendix 10.2

Taken from OSHA website at:

Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets – New Format

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of hazardous chemical products. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS will require new SDSs to be in a uniform format, and include the section numbers, the headings, and associated information under the headings below:

·         Section1, Identification includes product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.

·         Section 2, Hazard(s) identification includes all hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.

·         Section 3, Composition/information on ingredients includes information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.

·         Section 4, First-aid measures includes important symptoms/ effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.

·         Section 5, Fire-fighting measures lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.

·         Section 6, Accidental release measures lists emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.

·         Section 7, Handling and storage lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

·         Section 8, Exposure controls/personal protection lists OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).

·         Section 9, Physical and chemical properties lists the chemical's characteristics.

·         Section 10, Stability and reactivity lists chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.

·         Section 11, Toxicological information includes routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.

·         Section 12, Ecological information*

·         Section 13, Disposal considerations*

·         Section 14, Transport information*

·         Section 15, Regulatory information*

·         Section 16, Other information, includes the date of preparation or last revision.

*Note: Since other Agencies regulate this information, OSHA will not be enforcing Sections 12 through 15(29 CFR 1910.1200(g)(2)).

This is the new standard format for what will now be called Safety Data Sheets, not Material Safety Data Sheets.  More details about content are at  Some chemical suppliers are already using this format.  If you have questions about information or interpretation, contact the MIT EHS Office at 617-452-3477 or

Appendix 10.3

Taken from OSHA website at:


This handout and other GHS information is available on MIT EHS website at:

Hazard Communication Standard Pictogram

As of June 1, 2015, the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will require pictograms on labels to alert users of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed. Each pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s). The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification.


HCS Pictograms and Hazards

Health Hazard

Health Pictogram

  • Carcinogen
  • Mutagenicity
  • Reproductive Toxicity
  • Respiratory Sensitizer
  • Target Organ Toxicity
  • Aspiration Toxicity


Health Pictogram

  • Flammables
  • Pyrophorics
  • Self-Heating
  • Emits Flammable Gas
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides

Exclamation Mark

Health Pictogram

  • Irritant (skin and eye)
  • Skin Sensitizer
  • Acute Toxicity
  • Narcotic Effects
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
  • Hazardous to Ozone Layer (Non-Mandatory)

Gas Cylinder

Health Pictogram

  • Gases Under Pressure


Health Pictogram

  • Skin Corrosion/Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals

Exploding Bomb

Health Pictogram

  • Explosives
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides

Flame Over Circle

Health Pictogram

  • Oxidizers



Health Pictogram

  • Aquatic Toxicity

Skull and Crossbones

Health Pictogram

  • Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)