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California State University, Long Beach
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Chemical Hygiene Plan Regulations

Division 1, Chapter 4
Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 16. Control of Hazardous Substances
Article 109. Hazardous Substances and Processes
ยงยง5191. Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.

  1. Scope and application
    This section shall apply to all employers engaged in the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals as defined below.
  2. Definitions

    Chemical Hygiene Officer: An employee who is designated by the employer, and who is qualified by training or experience, to provide technical guidance in the development and implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. This definition is not intended to place limitations on the position description or job classification that the designated individual shall hold within the employer's organizational structure.

    Chemical Hygiene Plan: A written program developed and implemented by the employer which sets forth procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment and work practices that:

    1. are capable of protecting employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in that particular work place and
    2. meets the requirements of subsection 5191(e).

    Hazardous chemical: 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.

    Laboratory: A facility where the "laboratory use of hazardous chemicals" occurs. It is a workplace where relatively small quantities of hazardous chemicals are used on a non-production basis.

  3. Exposure limits
  4. Employee exposure determination
  5. Chemical hygiene plan

The Following Elements Are Mandatory

  1. Where hazardous chemicals as defined by this regulation are used in the workplace, the employer shall develop and carry out the provisions of a written Chemical Hygiene Plan which is:
    1. Capable of protecting employees from health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in that laboratory and
    2. Capable of keeping exposures below the limits specified in subsection 5191(c).
  2. The Chemical Hygiene Plan shall be readily available to employees. employee representatives and, upon request, to the Chief.
  3. The Chemical Hygiene Plan shall include each of the following elements and shall indicate specific measures that the employer will take to ensure laboratory employee protection;
    1. Standard operating procedures relevant to safety and health considerations to be followed when laboratory work involves the use of hazardous chemicals;
    2. Criteria that the employer will use to determine and implement control measures to reduce employee exposure to hazardous chemicals including engineering controls, the use of personal protective equipment and hygiene practices; particular attention shall be given to the selection of control measures for chemicals that are known to be extremely hazardous;
    3. A requirement that fume hoods comply with Section 5154.1, that all protective equipment shall function properly and that specific measures shall be taken to ensure proper and adequate performance of such equipment;
    4. Provisions for employee information and training as prescribed in subsection 5191(f);
    5. The circumstances under which a particular laboratory operation, procedure or activity shall require prior approval from the employer or the employer's designee before implementation;
    6. Provisions for medical consultation and medical examinations in accordance with subsection 5191(g);
    7. Designation of personnel responsible for implementation of the Chemical Hygiene Plan including the assignment of a Chemical Hygiene officer and, if appropriate, establishment of a Chemical Hygiene Committee; and
    8. Provisions for additional employee protection for work with particularly hazardous substances. These include "select carcinogens," reproductive toxins and substances which have a high degree of acute toxicity. Specific consideration shall be given to the following provisions which shall be included where appropriate;
      1. Establishment of a designated area;
      2. Use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes;
      3. Procedures for safe removal of contaminated waste; and
      4. Decontamination procedures.
  4. The employer shall review and evaluate the effectiveness of the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually and update it as necessary.

Note: Appendix A of this section is non-mandatory but provides guidance to assist employers in the development of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Note: Employers shall have developed and implemented a written Chemical Hygiene Plan no later than October 31, 1991.

Additional Resources

  • MSDS online
  • CA Code of Regulations, Titles 1-27
  • CA Laws and Codes
  • CA Dept. of Industrial Relations; Cal/OSHA
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. NIOSH Publication #90-117. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health.
  • Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories. National Research Council. National Academy Press, Washington D.C. 1995.
  • Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary. Revised by N. Sax and R. Lewis. Van Nostran, 1997.