OSHA compliance in the academic organic chemistry laboratory.

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Newhouse, Marlyn
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Federal Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.1450, "The Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories", applies to school science laboratories where chemicals are found. This may be a new finding to those who thought Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations only apply to industries and manufacturing.
This study documents several steps taken to bring a university chemistry laboratory into compliance with 29 CFR 1910.1450: (1) the process of changing an academic organic chemistry instructional program to microscale, (2) the incorporation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), (3) the determination of hood velocities, and (4) using instrumental analysis to monitor chemically the tasks a student worker would do. Overhead transparency masters are included in the appendices for use in preparing training presentations.
The measurement of the air quality and hood velocities was accomplished using standardized procedures outlined in 29 CFR 1910.1450. Air sample collection was accomplished using personal air pump with charcoal filter tube attached to the worker's collar. While grab sampling with evacuated canisters is usually conducted in EPA air quality studies, the air pump procedure coincides with OSHA studies. Gas chromatography was used to analyze the air samples. The target chemicals were benzene and toluene. The data collected was compared to the American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit values (TLVs), the Occupational Safety and Health Act permissible exposure limits (PEL), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended exposure limits (RELs). Air Sample #1 was the only sample to have a contaminant, benzene, near the legal limits.