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Chapter 6 - Info and Training

Requirements

Federal and state laws and Cornell University policy require all laboratory workers to receive Laboratory Safety and Chemical Waste Disposal training and be informed of the potential health and safety risks that may be present in their workplace. Documentation must be maintained to demonstrate that such training was provided and received. In order to assist laboratory personnel comply with this requirement, laboratory safety training must be obtained either through EHS (classroom or web-based sessions) or documented as having been received from an alternative source.

The OSHA Laboratory Standard requires employers to provide employees with information and training to ensure they are apprised of the hazards of chemicals present in their work area. The Laboratory Standard goes on to state that such information shall be provided at the time of an employee’s initial assignment to a work area where hazardous chemicals are present and prior to assignments involving new exposure situations.

As per the OSHA Laboratory Standard, information that must be provided to employees includes:

  • The contents of the Laboratory Standard and its appendices (Appendix A and Appendix B) shall be made available to employees.
  • The location and availability of the employer's Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • The permissible exposure limits for OSHA regulated substances or recommended exposure limits for other hazardous chemicals where there is no applicable OSHA standard. 
  • Signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory. 
  • The location and availability of identified reference materials listing the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory including, but not limited to, SDSs received from the chemical supplier.
  • The Laboratory Standard goes on to state this training shall include:
  • Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical. 
  • The physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area. 
  • The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and PPE to be used.

The employee shall be trained on the applicable details of the employer’s written Chemical Hygiene Plan.

While the OSHA Laboratory Standard is specific to working with hazardous chemicals, as per the University Health & Safety Policy 8.6, laboratory employees must also be provided with the proper training and information related to the other health and physical hazards that can be found in their work environment, including the hazards described within this Laboratory Safety Manual.

It is the responsibility of Principal Investigators and laboratory supervisors to ensure personnel working in laboratories under their supervision have been provided with the proper training, have received information about the hazards in the laboratory they may encounter, and have been informed about ways they can protect themselves.