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Regulatory Compliance » OSHA Laboratory Standard
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About The OSHA Laboratory Standard

No matter where we work, we come into contact with products that are produced using chemicals.

While life is made easier and better by using chemicals, some of these substances can be potentially hazardous. It is important for the safety of our workplace to learn which chemicals in our facility can be harmful, what we can do to limit exposure and how to handle a chemical emergency.

Because these issues are vital to everyone's safety, the government has established a set of regulations to help employees working in laboratories to guard against the unsafe use of chemicals.

Early in 1984, OSHA put in place the Federal Hazard Communication Standard that has come to be known as the "Right-To-Know" law. The law originally affected producers and suppliers of chemicals, as well as most "manufacturers" that used "potentially hazardous chemicals".

However, in October of 1985, the courts decided that these regulations should apply to all facilities, including laboratories!

Yet, even during the early days of "Right-To-Know", a number of people felt that the operations of many laboratories were "different" enough to make many provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard inappropriate for their environment.

Differences most often pointed to included the educational level of the average laboratory employee, the small quantities of chemicals used in many laboratories and the "research" orientation of much laboratory work.

After reviewing these and other questions regarding the appropriateness of the Hazard Communication Standard to laboratories, OSHA concluded that indeed many types of laboratories should have their own standard regarding working with hazardous chemicals.

As a result, early in 1990, OSHA issued 29 CFR Part 1910 "Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories", more commonly known as the OSHA Laboratory Standard.

This Standard applies to many, but not all, laboratories. Those laboratories not covered by this Standard remain covered by the Hazard Communication Standard.

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OSHA Laboratory Standard
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