I. Safety Program Objectives and Responsibilities

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rev 2/2009

A. Science Center Safety Objectives

Mount Holyoke College is committed to protecting the health and safety of its employees, students, and visitors to the campus including providing a safe environment in which students may learn to be responsible, creative and effective scientists.  This commitment includes fulfillment of the College’s responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, namely:

(1) to furnish to each employee a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees;

(2) to comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulation, and orders issued pursuant to the Act that are applicable to its own actions and conduct.

The Science Center Safety Handbook has been developed to comply with the OSHA Laboratory Standard[1] and other regulatory standards applicable to laboratories, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health 105 CMR 120.000, Standards for Protection Against Radiation. While the OSHA Standard applies only to employees of the College, the same standards of protection are established for students and other members of the Community. Additional safety requirements may be established by Departments, Programs and individual faculty members to ensure the health and safety of the students and staff under their supervision.

In addition to the departments and programs located within the Science Center (Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Geography, Environmental Studies, Physics, Astronomy, and Biochemistry), this Handbook also covers the Neuroscience and Behavior Program; and the Center for the Environment. The term Department will be used throughout the Plan to refer to Departments and Programs.

B. Oversight of the Safety Program

The Safety Handbook is administered by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.  Policy and procedure development is done with the assistance of the Science Safety Committee and ad hoc faculty and staff working groups. General policy development and oversight is provided by the Science Advisory Board. The Science Advisory Board includes the Chair of each science department and program, the Dean of Faculty, and the Director of the Science Center, and the Director of Sponsored Research. The Board is chaired by the Director of the Science Center.

C. Responsibilities of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety

The Director of Environmental Health and Safety in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety maintains the Safety Handbook, identifies requirements for new or revised policies and procedures,  and works with ad hoc faculty committees and the Science Advisory Board in developing or revising policies and procedures.  The Director serves as the Chemical Hygiene Officer as defined by the OSHA laboratory standard, and oversees the activities of the consulting Radiation Safety Officer. As Chemical Hygiene Officer, the Director: determines which activities are encompassed by the OSHA definition of “laboratory use of hazardous chemicals”; conducts periodic laboratory compliance reviews; conducts exposure monitoring; provides chemical safety training for all laboratory employees (faculty, staff, and student employees) and support staff (e.g. custodians); reviews the Handbook annually; and assists faculty members in establishing safety procedures for individual laboratories.  Additional duties with regard to implementation of specific requirements are described throughout the Handbook.

D. Responsibilities of Faculty

Faculty are responsible for: (1) following the policies and procedures of this Safety Handbook in their laboratories; (2) acquiring information needed to recognize and control hazards in the laboratory; (3) selecting laboratory practices that reduce the risk of injury or chemical, biological, or radiation exposures; (4) informing staff, students or visitors under their supervision of the specific hazards and required safety procedures associated with the work being performed; (5) arranging for immediate response to injuries or other emergencies in areas under their supervision; (6) reporting any unsafe conditions which cannot be immediately remedied; (7) attending safety training; (8) informing employees under their supervision who use hazardous chemicals or frequent areas where hazardous chemicals are used that they must complete chemical safety training course provided by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety; (9) providing safety training for all radiation users in their laboratory;  (10) providing required information to all staff and students under their supervision who are exposed to formaldehyde as described in Chapter V(m); (11) establishing guidelines for their laboratory which describe what laboratory procedures require their prior approval, and (12) providing health and safety information requested by Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Radiation Safety Officer, or Science Advisory Board.

E. Responsibilities of the Science Safety Committee

The Science Safety Committee consists of a representative of each of the departments and programs covered by the Safety Handbook, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, the Chemical Stockroom Manager, and the Associate Dean of Faculty for Science. The department or program chair designates a representative each year. The Associate Dean of Faculty for Science serves as Chair of the Committee. The Committee meets at least once a semester.

The Science Safety Committee is responsible for (1) reviewing policies and procedures necessary to achieve the safety objectives of the Safety Handbook for all safety issues with the exception of radiation safety and animal use; (2) acting as a liaison with their respective departments and programs in the review and implementation of those policies and procedures; (3) reviewing accident reports submitted and (4) bringing to the Committee any safety concerns raised within their department or program.

F. Responsibilities of Staff and Student Employees

All staff member and student employees are responsible for: (1) knowing and complying with the policies and procedures of this Safety Handbook and other health and safety policies or procedures established by the Department or supervising faculty member; (2) reporting all accidents, chemical spills, and unsafe conditions to the supervising faculty member; and (3) attending health and safety training at the request of the supervising faculty member.

G. Responsibilities of Students

All students are responsible for: (1) working in a safe and responsible manner in the laboratory; (2) performing all work in accordance with the procedures established by the Department and supervising faculty member (3) wearing required protective equipment (e.g., goggles); (4) following established emergency procedures in the event of an accident or chemical spill; and (5) reporting all accidents, chemical spills, and unsafe conditions to the supervising faculty member.

H. Availability of this Safety Handbook

The official version of this Safety Handbook is maintained by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. A printed Handbook is available in each Department and program office and to faculty and staff by request.

I. Laboratory Compliance Reviews

The Environmental Health and Safety Office periodically conducts laboratory compliance reviews. This review may be an informal walk through of the lab or a more formal review. The faculty or staff member responsible for the laboratory will be invited to participate in formal reviews.


1OSHA Standard 29 CRF 1910.1450 "Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories" is referred to as the OSHA Laboratory Standard throughout this Handbook.