Penn State University – lab banding

Lab Banding
Lab Banding
 More than assigning # of air changes/hour to lab
 Lab operations risk assessment with hands on approach to ensure safe
operation while reducing energy consumption via reduced ventilation
Lab Banding Background
A system using professional judgment to qualitatively assess the risk of chemical
hazards in laboratories and assign safety control.
• Groups similar hazards into “bands” based on risk assessments
• Developed by industrial hygienists (chemical safety specialists) to identify control
methods to address situations in which hazard information is limited, or the
hazards of concern change regularly.
• Acknowledges that in chemical laboratory settings, general dilution ventilation is a
core engineering control of occupant chemical exposures.
Lab Banding - Components
Hands-on site assessments of lab operations by qualified individuals
• Criteria must be readily understood by laboratory stakeholders
• Process must incorporate ongoing training of these stakeholders and facility
support staff
Lab Banding - Components
Partnership and commitment between academic work unit administration and EHS
to implement and ensure laboratory safety compliance
• Identify clear lines of responsibilities for program implementation between work
unit, EHS and facility staff
• Define work unit POC to be responsible for implementation and oversight and to
work closely with EHS
Lab Banding - Components
Includes monitoring and oversight of laboratories by EHS/work unit to ensure
ongoing sustainability of safety and energy conservation
• Initial and ongoing communication and education of laboratory users on proper
chemical handling/use procedures
• Monitor laboratory changes in research activities that may have consequences in
assignment of risks and provide tools to work unit POC for implementation
• Perform risk assessment process for lab renovations, new users and new uses
• Match regular EHS inspections of laboratories to level of risk (band) assigned
Lab Banding
Lab Banding Considerations
• Type of chemistry used including chemical hazard classes, quantity used and
concentrations, including chemical volatility
• Fume hoods in the lab – number, controls, sash height, monitors and usage
• The effectiveness of laboratory ventilation within the room such as supply and
exhaust diffusers, storage of chemicals or equipment in ventilation paths
• Number of people working in the lab
Lab Banding at Penn State
Penn State is aggressively moving forward in the implementation of our first,
comprehensive control banding process. We have completed Pilot banding of a
major research facility and have received commitment from their academic
administration to proceed.
Lab Banding Next Steps for
Hire a consultant to continue implementation beginning with the initial building,
continuing with others based on findings
Develop Laboratory Ventilation Management Plan following ANSI Z9.5 to describe
and define our institutional ventilation management practices as part of our overall
laboratory safety program.

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