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Back to Policy Section VI: General Administration
Section VI: General Administration

Policy Number: VI-18.00(A)

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

(Approved by the President )

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

  1. 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 doors;
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. Designated Department Representatives shall:
    1. Assure that laboratory signs are completed for each laboratory and laboratory support space in their area;
    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 signage;
    4. Notify DES when individual signs are altered, damaged or missing; and
    5. Maintain current Emergency Contact Information and transmit changes to DES.
  4. 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 DES.
  5. 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.