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Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP): Definition & Use

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will discuss how to create and apply information from a chemical hygiene plans (CHP) to keep workers safe in a lab containing hazardous materials.

Definitions and Background

To what lengths are employers required to go to keep employees safe while working with chemicals in a lab? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is a part of the United States Department of Labor, requires that employees that work with hazardous lab chemicals are protected by a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) that outlines policies and procedures that keep workers safe. Let's examine the components of a CHP.

Required Elements

There are eight required components of a CHP which are outlined below:

  1. Standard operating procedures must be established for each use of hazardous chemicals.
  2. Control measures must be developed and implemented to reduce exposure to hazardous materials, such as the use of safety equipment.
  3. Fume hoods and other protective equipment must be properly installed and in working order.
  4. Employees must have access to the Laboratory standard, the CHP, permissible exposure limits, signs and symptoms of exposure, reference materials on the hazards, safe handling procedures, and storage/disposal methods for all hazardous materials.
  5. Processes and procedures must be established for acquiring permission to perform particularly hazardous procedures.
  6. A Chemical Hygiene Officer must be assigned to implement the CHP.
  7. Procedures must be established for providing additional worker protection for known carcinogens and substances with a high degree of toxicity that includes establishing a designated area, using containment devices, procedures for removal of contaminated waste, and decontamination procedures.
  8. Annual review and evaluation of the CHP with updates as needed.

Worker Training

Even the best plans are ineffective if the people who are expected to implement them are not properly educated. The Chemical Hygiene Officer must document that all employees have been trained to monitor and detect the hazardous release of chemicals. Workers must also have a clear understanding of health risks associated with hazardous chemicals in their work area. Employees should know how to keep themselves safe from exposure by understanding procedures, how to use protective equipment, and what to do in the event of an emergency. If there are other lab-specific safety issues that are included in the CHP, employees must be trained accordingly.

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