I am a colleague of Leslie’s and would like to ask for input on a different perspective of this, which is essentially the legal perspective.
We have grown tremendously in the past few years, when I came here a decade ago, we did not even have a chemical hygiene plan, this year we just opened a brand new Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences building. Our campus is currently designated as a Carnegie “Research Intensive” institution, but many of our practices trace back to when we were a primary teaching institution. Leslie and members of our EH&S committee are putting together a draft one page “white paper” on the creation of a central receiving and distribution center for the campus which would ultimately go to the Chancellor.
Right now chemicals for chemistry are delivered to the front office of the chemistry department, which is staffed by a secretary and undergraduate student workers (neither of whom have any formal training in the handling of chemicals – and the work-study students are often not even chemistry students). This office is open to the public, chemicals are piled in front of the mailboxes in an open access area, and yes, I sometimes have to reach over stacks of boxes to reach my mail,…and the secretary often babysits her grandchildren in the same room (I saw them there this week).
So we are looking for material which would justify the creation of a central receiving and distribution center, and I believe cognizance of the legal issues would be of value. I am familiar with Dawn Lee’s 2004 “Cradle to Grave” paper in the online Chemical Health and Safety course DCHAS and DivCHED sponsored, http://science.widener.edu/svb/olcc_safety/papers/lee.pdf , which provides some regulatory information. Does anyone know of something more current which would provide an up-to-date synopsis of legal and regulatory issues? We are looking for information which could help us justify the expenditures such an endeavor would cost the University, and it is our hope we will do this proactively, and not retroactively in response to an incident.
Also, does anyone also know of any incidents which have occurred that caused a University to change its policy with respect to the receiving and distribution of chemicals?
How is ordering of chemicals managed? Is it done by individual PIs/department, or is it centralized?
At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, ordering is done by departments or individuals. (Ideally, by a purchasing agent in a department, sometimes by an individual PI with a procard. For the Chem department, all ordering of hazardous materials must be done by the primary admin and/or stockclerk and approved by the safety officer.)
Is central receiving part of a chemistry department, part of an EHS department (or other)?
Not centralized. In the Chem department, it comes to the main office, and is moved to a holding area on the second floor (for teaching lab materials) or on a cart inside a research lab (for research lab materials). Very large or expensive items go to a central receiving building.
Where is the central receiving area located? Inside buildings where there are labs, a separate building near laboratory buildings, or at a distant location (across campus)?
Most boxes come to the main chemistry office. Large quantities go to the loading dock at the back of the building. Very large/expensive items first go the central receiving (which is located several miles away from the Chemistry building).
Are chemicals used in art/engineering/theater departments included in requirements for chemicals to all be received at the one location?
How many personnel and what is the scope of their duties? (ordering/receiving/delivering only; part of laboratory inspection and safety training programs)
Not sure I can answer that.
The committee will likely have more questions, but this is a start.
Thanks for your input!
Leslie B. Coop, CCHO | Lab Manager, Safety Coordinator | Chemistry Department
Laboratory Coordinator/Safety Coordinator
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
(907) 474-6748; 194A Reichardt Bldg
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