You are here

University of Maryland Policy on Hazard Warning Signage System for Educational, Research and Diagnostic Laboratories

Consolidated USM and UMD Policies and Procedures


(Approved by the President, June 1, 1998)

  I.   Purpose
       The University of Maryland, College Park (UM) is dedicated to
       providing safe and healthful facilities for all employees and
       students, and complying with federal and State occupational
       health and safety standards.  Administrators, faculty, staff
       and students share the responsibility to reduce potential
       physical and health risks encountered in the performance of
       duties requiring entry into educational, research and
       diagnostic laboratories and laboratory support locations. The
       University believes that a Hazard Warning Signage System
       significantly advances this objective. This policy is designed
       to identify and designate responsibilities for the
       implementation and maintenance of such a system.
  II.  Policy
       The University of Maryland shall establish a uniform process
       for warning individuals who enter University laboratories
       about the known potential hazards associated with specific
       laboratory spaces.  A Hazard Warning Signage System (HWSS) is
       a laboratory signage system which sets the conditions under
       which the sign components are to be posted.  It is important
       that all employees, visitors and emergency responders are
       aware of the hazards identified by applicable signs.
       The HWSS shall be implemented for all laboratory and
       laboratory support facilities at UM.  Employees and students
       who are authorized to enter a UM laboratory must be provided
       access to the HWSS definitions. The definitions will also be
       supplied to applicable emergency response and laboratory
       systems maintenance personnel.  Contractors working in
       laboratory buildings may access HWSS definitions through the
       campus department administering their contract or the
       Department of Environmental Safety (DES). A complete copy of
       the HWSS may be requested from the DES.
  III. Policy Implementation
       A.   Department of Environmental Safety shall:
            (1)  Identify a standard system for laboratory hazard
                 warning signage on UM campus laboratory doors;
            (2)  Establish standardized symbols and definitions for
                 recognized laboratory hazards for posting laboratory
            (3)  Assist Principle Investigators/Lab Managers in
                 identifying laboratory hazards and the appropriate
                 labels to complete laboratory signs;
            (4)  Maintain a supply of the signage system components;
            (5)  Establish the initial hazard warning elements and
                 data collection instruments for laboratories; and
            (6)  Provide copies of this document to emergency
                 responders/authorized personnel.
       B.   University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) shall:
            (1)  Assure confidential on-line access to the current
                 database of emergency contact information for UM
                 laboratories based upon information collected by DES
                 through designated department representatives; and
            (2)  Provide laboratory emergency contact numbers to
                 ranking emergency responders upon request during
                 emergency events involving laboratories.
       C.   Designated Department Representatives shall:
            (1)  Assure that laboratory signs are completed for each
                 laboratory and laboratory support space in their
            (2)  Coordinate annual audits of laboratory signage to
                 assure signs are current;
            (3)  Contact DES to obtain additional warning signs or
                 labels as necessary to maintain departmental
            (4)  Notify DES when individual signs are altered,
                 damaged or missing; and
            (5)  Maintain current Emergency Contact Information and
                 transmit changes to DES.
       D.   Laboratory Managers shall:
            (1)  Assure that labels associated with laboratory
                 signage reflect current use of the lab;
            (2)  Assure that visitors are aware of the hazards
                 indicated by the laboratory signage;
            (3)  Assure that the laboratory sign is maintained in a
                 complete and readable condition at all main access
                 points to their laboratories; and
            (4)  Supply current emergency contact information for the
                 placard. Listed emergency contact personnel must be
                 familiar with the hazards in the posted location.
                 The Principle Investigator must be one of the
                 emergency contacts.  Contact information must be
                 updated immediately upon a change in staffing
                 through the Designated Department Representative and
       E.   Laboratory Users shall:
            (1)  Be aware of the meanings of the signage labels; and
            (2)  Use appropriate safety precautions based upon the
                 supplied information.
  IV.  Information
       Assistance will be provided by the Department of Environmental
       Safety to any department or individual requesting guidance to
       satisfy implementation of this policy. The Department of
       Environmental Safety may be contacted at 301-405-3960.