The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated a non-mandatory appendix in OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standard. This new revision addresses current laboratory practices, security, and emergency response, as well as promoting safe handling of highly toxic and explosive chemicals and their waste products. The non-mandatory appendix was revised to include the contents of the latest National Academy of Sciences publication entitled, “Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards,” 2011 edition. The effective date of this technical amendment to the standard is January 22, 2013.
As background, when the OSHA Laboratory Standard was published in 1990, the non-mandatory Appendix A was based on the 1981 edition of “Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories” and the 1983 edition of “Prudent Practices for Disposal of Chemicals from Laboratories”. Since then, there have been many changes in the culture of safety in laboratories. The National Academies of Science (NAS) recognized these changes and has revised and updated its earlier “Prudent Practices,” reflected in the 2011 edition of “Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards”. The 2011 edition of “Prudent Practices” was used by OSHA as the basis for non-mandatory Appendix A because of its wide distribution and acceptance and because of its preparation by recognized authorities in the laboratory community.