Washington State University

Revised 5-12
Reviewed 7-13
Environmental Health and Safety

Chemical Hygiene Plan for Laboratories

PDF link


Washington State University has developed the chemical hygiene plan to aid units in promoting a high standard of health and safety. The plan applies to all University laboratories. (See the definition of "laboratory" below.)

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) publishes the general WSU chemical hygiene plan in the form of the Laboratory Safety Manual (LSM) to provide valuable and accessible information to all personnel working in University laboratories.

To view the University's chemical hygiene plan, go to the EH&S Laboratory Safety Manual website at:


However, since each laboratory is unique in purpose and function, the LSM lacks laboratory-specific details that only the principal investigator or supervisor can provide. The principal investigator or supervisor responsible for the laboratory-specific processes must supply additional details on the required yellow informational pages. Alternatively, a Microsoft Word version Chemical Hygiene Plan Guide is available that contains the required pages in an easy-to-complete format. (See below). To obtain copies of the Guide, see the EH&S website at:



Department Chair/Director

The department chair or director:

Principal Investigator/Faculty/Supervisor

The principal investigator, faculty member, or laboratory supervisor:

Completes Supervisor's Accident Investigation Reports, if applicable. See 2.26.


The employee or student:

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S):



The Chemical Hygiene Plan must contain:


EH&S provides the basic elements of a general or "core" chemical hygiene plan in the form of a Laboratory Safety Manual. The manual includes the established policies of Washington State University and various regulatory agencies.

Each laboratory must provide additional information specific to that laboratory to complete the Chemical Hygiene Plan. The principal investigator or laboratory supervisor must complete the required information indicated in the Chemical Hygiene Plan Guide as outlined below or provide the material in a similar format. (See above for a link to the Chemical Hygiene Plan Guide.)

Laboratory-Specific Information

The information that must be completed is as follows:

  1. Site specific responsibility for chemical hygiene and safety

  2. Specific information on your department's chemical receiving, storing, or dispensing procedures

  3. Standardized secondary labeling system for your laboratory

  4. Description of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and other references available in the laboratory

  5. Laboratory floor plan

  6. Location of the laboratory spill kit and special instructions for clean-up and emergency response

  7. Site specific ventilation information

  8. Required elements of standard operating procedures

The laboratory must complete and record these pages in the plan or manual in order to be in compliance with the regulations mandated by the state of Washington's "Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories" standard. (WAC 296-802)


Contact EH&S at 335-3041, if assistance is needed with the implementation of the chemical hygiene plan.


The department must make the chemical hygiene plan readily available to all employees and students in the laboratory. The department must also provide the plan on request to EH&S staff and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (WDLI) representatives.

The area for which the chemical hygiene plan is written may be adjoining rooms, a single room, or an area within a room (see definition below).

The spatial definition of a laboratory is left to the discretion of the individual who ultimately takes responsibility for the safety of all employees who work within that area. This individual is to be a principal investigator (PI) or a laboratory supervisor.



Laboratory means a facility where the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals occurs. It is a workplace where relatively small quantities of hazardous chemicals are used on a nonproduction basis.

For the purposes of this policy, laboratory activities are research and quality control activities. "Dry" laboratories such as computer labs are not covered by this policy.

Laboratory Use of Hazardous Chemicals

Laboratory use of hazardous chemicals means the handling or use of hazardous chemicals in which all of the following conditions are met:

Laboratory Scale

Laboratory scale means work with substances in which the containers used for reactions, transfers, and other handling of the substances are designed to be easily and safely manipulated by one person.

Laboratory scale excludes those workplaces whose function is to produce commercial quantities of materials.

Readily Available

Readily available means accessible to all laboratory staff at any time during the work period, day or night.

Hazardous Chemical

Hazardous chemical means a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence, based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles, that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.

The term "health hazard" includes chemicals that are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic systems, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

Particularly Hazardous Substance

Particularly hazardous substances include select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and substances that have a high degree of acute toxicity.