- Whom do I contact?
- Are specific approvals required to obtain and work with chemicals?
- How do I get started using chemicals and other hazardous materials in lab research?
- What are the training obligations? Are educational resources available?
- What are my responsibilities related to the use of chemicals?
- Will there be auditing or monitoring?
- Relevant policies, procedures, ethical statements, etc.
1. Whom do I contact?
The Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Office oversees chemical safety at The University of Iowa.
Phone: (319) 335-8501
Chemical Safety staff contacts:
LuAnn Hiratzka, MS, Chemical Hygiene Officer; 335.7964
Periyasamy Subramanian, Ph.D., Senior Chemical Safety Specialist, Industrial Hygiene; 335.8299
Rick Byrum, Emergency Preparedness Specialist; 335.9379
The EHS Chemical Safety Section provides oversight and assistance for programs that include:
- chemical inventory program (for labs and non-research areas),
- chemical hygiene program,
- chemical hazard assessments, consulting and assistance with safe chemical handling and management
- respiratory protection and personal protective equipment for labs,
- all fume hood performance testing,
- hazard assessment for required personal protective equipment (PPE)
- emergency and spill preparedness for hazardous materials.
2. Are specific approvals required to obtain and work with chemicals?
In general, no specific approvals are required at this time to obtain and work with chemicals in research labs. However, research investigators are responsible for obtaining the smallest quantities necessary to complete the work and are required to maintain a current accurate chemical inventory in the EHS Assistant inventory system administered by the EHS Chemical Safety Section.
According to the Office of Animal Resources policies, some chemicals may require approval for use in animal protocols.
3. How do I get started using chemicals and other hazardous materials in lab research?
Contact Deborah Kratz (319)353-5678 to schedule a New Principal Investigator Orientation at your location. You will be provided fundamental information on the pertinent chemical health and safety programs as well as on the EHS laboratory review process.
For additional questions on setting up a lab, please contact LuAnn Hiratzka, Chemical Hygiene Officer (319) 335-7964.
4. Will training be required?
All lab employees are required to complete two on-line courses.
To access these courses,
- Login to Employee Self Service.
- On the Personal tab, under the heading Learning and Development, click on My Training.
- Click on Available Online ICON Courses
- Select the courses below.
Lab Chemical Safety – W008CM
This training required initially and recommended annually. To finish your training requirement, you must also know specific information unique to your own work area. Use the Site-Specific Training checklist located within the course content to review site-specific training items with your supervisor or designated work area trainer.
Audience: Persons who work with chemicals in research labs.
Approximate duration: 35 min.
PPE Awareness for Labs – W157CM
This training is on personal-protective equipment is required initially and recommended annually. To finish your training requirement, you must also know specific information unique to your own work area.
Audience: Personnel using gloves, goggles, safety glasses and other protective apparel.
Approximate duration: 20 min.
5. What are my responsibilities related to the use of chemicals?
Guidelines and manuals for chemical safety are available on the EHS website.
- The Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP)
A CHP must be implemented in each lab by the Principal Investigator. EHS provides a generic written program that includes sections on all aspects of safe chemical use and management including safe compatible storage and minimization of hazards during use. PIs are expected to include laboratory-specific procedures as attachments to the CHP and, in particular, procedures for dealing with particularly hazardous chemicals. Training, including lab-specific training, is also required by the Lab Standard. Labs should include emergency preparedness and response training and resources to staff as part of the required training.
- Personal protective equipment
Labs must comply with Institution of Occupational Safety and Health regulations regarding the use of personal protective equipment and respirators. A hazard assessment must be conducted by each PI or their designee. Training, including lab-specific training, is required to convey to laboratory workers the personal protective clothing and equipment expectations and availability.
- Chemicals of Interest
Investigators are also responsible for becoming aware of chemicals listed as chemicals of interest (COIs) in the Department of Homeland Security Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Standards and work with EHS Chemical Safety staff prior to the purchase of selected COIs. The investigator’s chemical inventory must be accurately maintained to allow for University COI tracking and specific reporting requirements of the regulation.
- Special Requirements in Dept. of Defense (DoD) Grants
EHS manages the institutional safety program required for DoD grant recipients. A Facility Safety Plan is part of the safety program and has been sponsor-approved for the University. Additional items pertinent to investigators include:
- Investigators need to contact EHS whenever the DoD requests a PI Safety Assurance document
- The investigator and EHS will briefly discuss safety issues associated with the funded project during a site visit to the lab
- The investigator will be required to submit simple internal forms to EHS declaring project hazards, safety programs in place in the lab, and changes in hazards and equipment from one year to the next
6. Will there be auditing or monitoring?
A member of the safety advisor team within EHS will be assigned to your laboratory. Your safety advisor will conduct safety round observations, monitor the laboratory, and review the annual lab self-audit to assist lab staff with complying with safety regulations and University policies.
7. Resources and links:
- For general lab chemical health and safety and CHP questions, chemical hazard assessments, and personal protective equipment assessments, see: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/chemical-safety
- For assistance with requirements for the grant safety, see: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/grant-hazardsafety-information
- For questions about regarding chemical inventory management, see: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/chemical-inventory
- For questions about emergency preparedness and response, go to: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/incident-injury-spill-management
- For questions about fume hoods, see: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/chemical-fume-hoods
- For questions about hazard assessments for PPE determination and documentation, go to: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/ppe-research-laboratory-hazard-assessment-tool and for respirators, go to: http://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/ppe-respirator-dust-mask-lab-evaluation-request