Prior Approval for Work with Particularly Hazardous Materials or Processes

Prior Approval is Required to Work with Particularly Hazardous Materials or Processes

Risk Assessment is a process by which the risks associated with the identified hazard
are assessed and decisions are made to implement control measures to prevent the
hazard from occurring. The risks include personal exposure, illness or injury, spills, fires,
and damage to the facility and equipment. The loss of scientific work and achievements,
loss of personal and institutional reputation and possibly research funding are additional
consequences to consider.

Prior to conducting work with a particularly hazardous chemical or process, the
responsible faculty member must consider:
     • the experiment proposed
     • toxicity, reactivity and volume of chemicals
     • environmental and engineering controls available
     • the knowledge and experience of laboratory personnel
     • the safety equipment that is available
     • security of materials

A review is required of unusual research or experiments involving chemicals, hazardous
fumes, ionizing radiation, infectious materials, explosives, etc. (e.g., outside normal lab
or facility use). In part, this review serves to ensure that proper exposure control
programs are in place and that employees are trained and have received information on
the hazards and safe procedures.

Any new procedure should be subjected to peer review, not only from a scientific
standpoint, but also to assure that all safety considerations are in place prior to
implementation. Possible options for material substitution, relocation of experiments and
other additional safeguards must be considered.

Researchers must obtain prior written approval for laboratory operations that involve
particularly hazardous chemicals and processes from the responsible faculty member,
Department Head / Chair, Institutional Chemical Safety Committee (ICSC) and EH&S.

Each Department Head / Chair or departmental safety committee is responsible for
determining which additional procedures and hazardous chemicals will require prior

A Prior Approval for Hazardous Lab Operations form can be downloaded at this webpage. Prior approval documentation should be kept at EH&S with a copy in department

Each faculty member will establish a ‘designated area’ where work with select
carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and highly acute toxic chemicals etc. will be performed
with consideration of special handling, disposal and emergency procedures for this work.
A ‘designated area’ must be posted to identify the hazardous activity. This area can be
a chemical hood, a biosafety cabinet, a specific corner of the laboratory, etc. The faculty
member will determine any additional provisions for employee protection, which may
include special training requirements for personnel performing the work, medical
surveillance, or monitoring to assess exposures.

Chemicals/Activities Requiring PRIOR APPROVAL from the responsible faculty
member, Department Head / Chair, the Institutional Chemical Safety Committee
(ICSC) and EH&S:
     • The storage or use of compressed pyrophoric gases in flammable concentrations
        (e.g., silane, germane, dichloroborane, phosphine, stibine, and others).
     • Any operation involving the use of ‘select carcinogens”.
     • Any operation involving the use of chemicals of high acute toxicity 
     • Any operation involving the use of reproductive toxins.
     • Any process causing excess pressures which may result in explosions or implosions.
     • Any chemical process or procedure that produces results which are unknown, but
are potentially extremely hazardous
     • The storage or use of compressed highly toxic gases or compressed toxic gases with
poor or no ‘warning properties’ (e.g., carbon monoxide, arsine, cyanogen chloride,
diborane, fluorine, phosgene, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen selenide, nitric oxide,
nitrogen dioxide, phosphine, stibine, and others).
     • The storage or use of compressed gases 1) that are select carcinogens, reproductive
toxins, toxic or corrosive in quantities greater than 20 cubic feet, 2) that are plumbed
outside of the source exhausted enclosure (i.e., when all gas use is not inside a
chemical hood, gas cabinet or exhausted enclosure), or 3) when transferring the
gases from one vessel to another.
     • The storage, use and/or generation of :
          - Beryllium or beryllium compounds that involve particles less than 10 microns in size.
          - Hydrogen peroxide in concentrations greater than 50%.
          - Perchloric acid in concentrations greater than 85%
          - Pyrophoric liquids.
     • Chemicals/activities that are difficult to control (e.g., very high vapor pressure or very
small (respirable) particle size) AND are difficult to detect (i.e., poor warning
properties) AND are known to trigger a life-shortening disease/condition in one high
level exposure (e.g., known potent reproductive hazards, known potent carcinogens).
      • Other chemicals/activities that have a significant probability (based on incident
history in the literature) to cause a lethal event (e.g., explosion).
     • Any chemical process or procedure which the Department Head/Chair or
departmental safety committee has determined to be particularly hazardous and
requires approval
     • Any laboratory procedure or activity that cannot be conducted in accordance with the
guidelines established in this Laboratory Health and Safety Plan / Chemical Hygiene
Plan and other state and federal regulations and guidelines. Please consult the Lab Safety Manual/Chemical Hygiene Plan for further information and for definitions of hazardous materials or processes