Laboratory and R&D environments present unique challenges to EH&S managers due to their dynamic nature and the wide array of hazards that they contain.

Specifically, the learning outcomes include understanding the challenges that face EH&S Managers in laboratory and R&D environments, understanding why it is important to have a broad knowledge of EH&S regulations in laboratory and R&D environments, and developing strategies to keep up with the constantly changing hazards and other challenges.

Challenges Faced in Laboratory and R&D Environments

Due to the dynamic nature of the workspace, the EH&S manager is faced with a constant stream of new materials, new processes and new equipment; all of which lead to new hazards. Many times, they are not even made aware of the changes until after they are introduced to the site. There are many situations that need to be considered. For example, employees may think that safety procedures do not need to be followed for small samples, whereas pallet loads of materials present a storage issue. In this section, we will discuss changes managers need to consider, inventory and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) management, regulatory reporting, and hazard assessments.

Changes to Consider

New chemicals, process, or pieces of equipment are frequently brought onsite in an R&D environment. These new factors may require updates to permits, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, etc. Some of these changes EH&S managers should consider whenever a new material, process, or piece of equipment is brought onsite include:

  • Regulatory Reporting (SARA Tier II, etc.)

  • Safety/OSHA Requirements

  • Inventory Control

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS/MSDS)

  • M-E-P Requirement for New Equipment/Processes

  • Permits (air, wastewater, building)

  • New/Modified Waste Streams

  • Training Requirements

  • Personal Protective Equipment

  • Potential Incompatibilities With Existing Work

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