Updated On March 24, 2017 - 3:34pm

UC Lab Safety Settlement Overview

Charges Dropped Against UC Regents

On July 27, 2012, the UC Regents and the Los Angeles District Attorney reached a settlement to remove the criminal charges against the UC system in connection with the fatal lab accident that occurred in December 2008. As part of the settlement, UCLA and the other UC campuses are required to provide and document certain lab safety training and resources.

Lab Safety Program Improvements

EH&S has overhauled the Lab Safety Program and provided numerous lab safety resources to the campus in the form of:

  • Enhanced and expanded lab safety training
  • Electronic Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT)
  • Safety videos
  • Fact sheets
  • Standard Operating Procedure Template Library
  • Lab inspection checklist and process

Campus Impact

Because of the hard work over the past three years, many of the settlement requirements have already been met. Still, there is much work to do as we continue our efforts to make laboratories even safer. While the settlement applies specifically to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA and the other UC campuses will extend the requirements to all laboratories to protect the health and safety of all lab workers. The following provides an overview of the settlement requirements.

1. Training

As is already required, lab PIs and lab workers are required to receive lab safety training. Minor changes may be made to the training sessions, but you do not need to retake the lab training if you have already taken it.

  • All PIs must attend “Lab Safety Training for PI’s and Lab Supervisors” which covers lab safety and the PI’s responsibilities for safety in the lab. (Note: PIs are not allowed to operate a lab facility until they have attended this training).
  • All lab personnel must attend “Lab Safety Fundamental Concepts” training which covers lab safety and workers’ safety rights and responsibilities.

2. Assessing Hazards

The existing Lab Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT) has been a requirement for the past 3 years. All PIs must complete the LHAT to ensure that PPE is adequate for the work being done in the lab and in accordance with the MSDS and manufacturer recommendations; UCLA Policies 905 and 907; and, the Laboratory Standard in CCR Title 8. The LHAT includes a PPE Selection Guide to help match PPE to specific
hazards in the lab.

3. Minimum PPE Requirements

As stated in UCLA Policy 905: Research Laboratory Personal Safety and Protective Equipment, minimum PPE requirements are:

  • Full-length pants, or equivalent
  • Closed-toe shoes that cover the area of the skin between the shoe and ankle (loafers or ballet-flats that expose the top of the foot are not allowed)
  • Protective gloves appropriate for the materials being used and the working conditions
  • Laboratory coats when working with all hazardous chemicals, biological or unsealed radiological materials. Coats must be buttoned to their full length and not allow skin exposure between the gloves and coat sleeves
  • Flame-resistant laboratory coats when working with pyrophoric materials or flammable liquids. Cotton or other natural-fiber (nonsynthetic) clothing must also be worn when working with these materials
  • Appropriate eye protection or equivalent engineering controls

No One is Allowed to Work without PPE
PIs or EH&S are required to remove anyone from the lab who is not wearing the required PPE and maintain a written record of any such removal.

4. Issuing & Maintaining PPE

Employees must be provided with all PPE free of charge. Professional laundry services must be provided to clean lab coats (employees may not take lab coats or other PPE home to clean). Written records must be maintained by each lab verifying the date and type of PPE issued. No one will be permitted to work in or occupy a lab area without first being provided the required PPE.

5. Lab Safety Manual

EH&S developed a fully compliant Lab Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene plan two years ago that has been approved by Cal/OSHA and used as a model for other institutions. All labs must maintain a Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan in a visible location. Electronic copies are acceptable, provided they are readily accessible to all lab personnel. Contact EH&S if you would like a hardcopy for your lab.

6. Standard Operating Procedures

All labs are also required to maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

  • For chemicals listed in Exhibit A of the settlement, SOPs must be written by the most experienced and knowledgeable lab personnel who are routinely involved in the chemical process.
  • The PI and all personnel who perform the procedure must sign the SOP acknowledging understanding.
  • SOPs must be routinely reviewed by qualified personnel.

Online SOP Template Library
EH&S has developed an extensive SOP Template Library that is continuously updated. Templates must be modified by lab personnel to make them specific to the lab processes.

7. Working with Pyrophoric Materials

Anyone working with pyrophoric materials must follow UCLA’s SOP for working with pyrophoric liquid reagents. As this policy stipulates, lab personnel may not work alone when handling pyrophoric materials. EH&S also developed a Pyrophoric Liquids Safety video to help lab personnel work safely with these materials.

8. Safety Inspections

EH&S Inspections
EH&S is required to conduct comprehensive chemical safety inspections and immediately stop any activity that is found to be a serious safety risk. EH&S already conducts these types of lab safety inspections routinely, including unannounced PPE inspections.

Cal/OSHA Inspections
As part of the settlement, Cal/OSHA will have full access to any lab facility to conduct inspections and determine safety compliance.

  • See the EH&S Cal/OSHA Inspection Fact Sheet that covers the components of a Cal/OSHA inspection and what to do if an inspector arrives at your department or lab.
  • Always contact EH&S immediately by calling the EH&S Hotline at (310) 825-9797 in the event of an inspection. Do not call your specific EH&S lab inspector, as they may not be able to respond to you immediately.

9. Injury Reporting Requirements

PIs must immediately report all occupational injuries or illnesses to EH&S that may be recordable by Cal/OSHA and secure the scene:

  • When in doubt, call EH&S. It is better to be on the conservative side in reporting incidents to allow EH&S to determine whether an incident is serious enough to report to Cal/OSHA.
  • See the EH&S website for more information on How to Report an Injury and the EH&S Serious Injury Poster.
  • The scene must be immediately secured for 24 hours from all access. EH&S will help in securing the scene until Cal/OSHA arrives or until the incident is determined to be non-recordable.

10. Listing of all Labs

UCLA must provide a list of all lab facilities. This has been completed by EH&S and is currently undergoing a quality assurance check.

Need More Information?

For further information, read the full settlement and check the UCLA Newsroom’s continuing coverage of this story. If you have any questions about laboratory safety, please call the EH&S Hotline at (310) 825-9797 or email laboratorysafety@ehs.ucla.edu.

 

Related Information

UC Lab Safety Settlement (PDF)

Settlement Requirements Table (PDF)

Exhibit A Chemical List (PDF)