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Industrial Hygiene

Industrial Hygiene and Safety Guidelines for All Areas


  1. All chemicals must be stored in clearly labeled, leak-tight containers. Aluminum foil over the top of a solvent containing coffee can is unsuitable as are a number of variations of that theme. All flammable chemicals are to be stored in leak-tight containers, in specially designed flammable cabinets.
  2. The Flammables Cabinet must be kept neat and clean at all times. Any spills, even a small one must be handled immediately. All containers which are to be stored in the cabinet must be clean and dry on the outside in addition to being tightly sealed and properly labeled. Nothing is ever to be placed in front of the door to the cabinet. The door to the cabinet must be closed at all times except when a person is putting back or removing containers.
  3. All solvent soaked rags, paper towels, etc., must be disposed of in a Red Label Hazardous Waste disposal container which should be located in each room where chemicals of any type are used. Note that the container must be maintained in good working order with a tight fitting cover. Any openings in the seal between the cover and the container will allow the solvent inside to evaporate into the room. Administration should pick up the containers on a regular basis or immediately if called by a faculty member because of some unusual circumstances.
  4. Any chemical spills must be cleaned up immediately, but only if you have been properly trained and that all appropriate materials to clean the spill are available. The University Safety Officer (ext. 8242) and administration should be notified of any spill of 1 gallon or more of any chemical. This includes powders as well as liquids. The waste chemicals, once picked up, must not be put down the drain. The rags and paper towels are to go into the red can. Any liquids should be sealed in a jar or bottle or as a last resort, a can. The University Safety Officer (ext. 8242) is to be called immediately for disposal of the waste chemicals. Extreme caution must be exercised when picking up a spill. Protective gear must be worn. In most cases this will include a respirator with appropriate cartridges, safety goggles, impermeable gloves and an impermeable apron. Make sure that all of the exhaust systems in the room are operating, preferably in the high speed mode if available on the local exhaust control unit.
  5. Before a student leaves his or her area for an extended period of time, over lunch for example, all containers at his or her workstation are to be tightly sealed in clearly labeled, non-food oriented containers. All contaminated papers, rags, brushes, work tools, etc. in open solvent containers is permitted only while the student is in the room. Work tools must not be left soaking in any open container after the student leaves the room.
  6. Floors should be kept as particulate free as practical. People walking over a surface and disturbing the collected particulate generally cause the highest concentration of particulate material in the air in buildings. This is especially important in areas where the dust or particulates are toxic. Note that a specially designed, high collection efficiency vacuum cleaner may be required. Standard vacuum cleaners will generate a high degree of respirable dust into the breathing space and should not be used except for rugs.
  7. All chemicals, whether flammable, toxic or not, must be stored neatly in designated areas. Chemicals should never be stored at a student's workplace unless clearly approved by a faculty member.

Eye & Ear Protection

  1. Each person should have his or her own pair of safety goggles, which are suitable for the type of work anticipated. For example, different goggles would be used in the welding shop that in a sculpting studio, and in an area where acids are being used.
  2. Safety glasses must be worn at all times in all areas that are designated as safety glass areas even if the student or faculty member is not performing any contaminating activity. A designated safety glasses area is an area where everyone wears safety glasses even if nothing is happening in the room at that moment. OSHA frequently levies fines when personnel are not wearing safety goggles in a designated safety glass area or performing an eye threatening activity, such as drilling, grinding, sawing, or splashes occuring from mixing dyes, solvents, chemicals etc., even in a non-designated area. Faculty members are expected to enforce this regulation.
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