EHS Professionals face some unique challenges in laboratory environments. When I took a job last March at a research and technology center, I found myself having to reference new standards relative to laboratory operations, and change my approach to basic EHS processes. Traditional EHS tools and processes could take longer to run through than it would take a chemist to run an experiment. This can make it very difficult to have laboratory personnel accept valve in safety processes and, more importantly, take time to complete these processes.
Although this paper could not possibly cover all the unique aspects that a laboratory can offer an EHS professional, the intent is to capture lessons learned from someone that has recently been assigned responsibility in this type of facility. Discussed below are laboratory issues regarding codes and standards, ventilation, environmental concerns, chemical management and inventory, and process safety.