Hazard Reviews/Risk Assessment
Hazard reviews/Risk Assessment are used to determine if there are potential hazards and risks involved with a procedure. These evaluations are:
- required by federal law
- standard practice in industry
- protect laboratory workers and facilities
When Should I Conduct a Hazard Review?
The PI/Laboratory Supervisor should review and give approval to proceed with a laboratory task whenever:
1. There is a new procedure, process or test, even if it is similar to older practices.
2. There is a change, substitution, or deletion of any of the ingredient chemicals in a procedure.
3. There is a substantial change (25% or more) in the quantity of chemicals used.
4. There is a failure of any of the equipment used in the process, especially such safeguards as fume hoods or clamp apparatus.
5. There are unexpected test results, in which case a review of how the new result impacts safety practices must be made.
6. When members of the laboratory staff become ill, suspect exposure, detect a chemical's odor, or otherwise suspect a failure of any safeguards.
How Do I Conduct a Hazard Review/Risk Assessment?
Step 1: Before you begin the hazard/risk assessment, you will need to know:
- Possible physical and health hazards of all chemicals and hazardous materials used in the procedure.
- Hazards related to the lab equipment used in the procedure.
- Required engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.
- Waste disposal requirements.
- Emergency requirements.
Step 2: You will also need to know what the exposure potential to these materials are, including:
- Amount of material used
- Dispersion Potential (Volatility, Dustiness)
- Operating Temperature
- Frequency of Use
- Safety controls available
This information will not always be available for all the hazardous materials and processes in the procedure. It is possible to group these during a risk assessment based on prior knowledge
- Assign categories of risk to some or all chemicals (carcinogens, reproductive toxics, acutely toxics, explosives, unstable processes, pyrophoric materials), apparatus and equipment.
- Apparatus under high vacuum, heated oil baths, ultra-centrifuges, NMR equipment and high temperature ovens are classified as presenting a greater risk compared with other apparatus and equipment.
- Vacuum distillations, Class III and IV lasers, radioactive materials, unstable or explosive chemicals, highly toxic, reproductive hazards and carcinogens are high risk.
Step 3: Evaluate the risk: Hazard + Exposure = Risk
The level of risk can be assessed using "What if ?"
- There is a potential failure or misoperation of the procedure.
- There is equipment failure, human error or external events including utility interruptions.
That if the assessment shows that the risk is too great?
- Consider ways to lower the hazards, exposures or risks by:
- Substitute hazardous chemical for a less hazardous alternative.
- Reduce the quantity to lessen the intensity of any hazardous condition. Work with a few grams or a fraction of a gram.
- Purchase and use dilute solutions instead of concentrated solutions.
- Replace equipment requiring 120 volts AC with equipment that will run on 24 volts AC.
- Reduce buildup of static charge by grounding the containers or apparatus involved.
- Use lower temperatures instead of higher temperatures.
Use these forms to help in conducting a hazard assessment for your procedures:
- Biological Hazard Operations
- Biological Risk Assessment
- Radioactive Materials Hazard Operation
- Machine Shop Risk Assessment
Hazard Review/Risk Assessment forms the basis for developing a Standard Operating Procedure.