The Committee on Chemical Safety is pleased to release the final report document on, "Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories". Its draft was initially released in 2013, and since then the task force responsible for authoring the document had 3 goals in mind; (1) Get the document in the hands of people who could begin using the methods described in the document, (2) resolve any comments coming back from these users and (3) create a website where users can suggest similar resources their colleagues may find helpful. This version of the document resolves comments received to date from the community of users. Readers should not expect to see new content, only clarifications throughout the document where appropriate. In the coming months, CCS plans to add the associated web tools and explore possibilities of integrating the new tools within the existing ACS education programs.
This guide was written for researchers without deference to the stage in their careers—undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, instructors, principal investigators, or departmental chairs for implementation in a scientific research laboratory. Consideration was given to the variable nature of research in the preparation of this guide and in the presentation of the techniques provided. The report presents assessment approaches that are intended to be relatively easy to implement and use. While research laboratories and researchers are the primary audience for this guide, other readers may find it equally useful.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) had recommended that the ACS develop guidance for assessing and controlling hazards in research laboratories. CSB met in July of 2015 to review this document and made the following decision:
“ACS’s document, Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories, exceeds the CSB Recommendation No. 2010-05-I-TX-R2. The thoroughness of the publication, accompanied by the additional publication on safety culture, is beyond what the CSB requested in its recommendation. Therefore, the Board voted to change the status of the CSB’s Recommendation No. 2010-5-I-TX-R2 to: “Closed- Exceeds Recommended Action.”
The report provides guidance, suggestions, examples, and recommendations that will help strengthen the safety culture in two- and four-year undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs. It identifies:
Certain skills are expected from new hires as a result of their education in chemistry. In addition to the traditional areas of analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, employers expect a variety of skills related to day-to-day laboratory activity. Safety awareness is among these. Employers expect safety awareness to increase with the level of education of the chemist and chemical engineer. The Safe Practices Subcommittee of the Committee on Chemical Safety has identified the basic skill set necessary for chemists at the Bachelor’s, Masters and Doctoral level of education. These are listed in the Employer’s Safety Awareness Expectations for New Hires. While the employer will need to educate a new hire about site-specific procedures, these basic skills are expected to be part of a recent graduate’s capabilities.
Statement of CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso "Warning Against Use of Methanol During Laboratory" mentions ACS Committee on Chemical Safety.
The Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS) promotes and facilitates safe practices in chemical activities. We provide advice and counsel to ensure safety by calling attention to potential hazards and stimulating education in safe chemical practices. CCS also serves as a resource to other ACS units on matters related to chemical safety and health.
Here you will find publications, tips, and other information to improve safety in schools, the workplace, and beyond.
Elizabeth M. Howson, Chair