Pol-Formaldehyde Safety

policy Formaldehyde Safety modified Tue Jul 28 2020 14:50:37 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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University of Louisville

OFFICIAL
UNIVERSITY
ADMINISTRATIVE
POLICY

POLICY NAME

Formaldehyde Safety

EFFECTIVE DATE

POLICY APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to the University Community (administrators, faculty, staff & students) and visitors.

POLICY STATEMENT

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates formaldehyde in the workplace. Accordingly, the University requires all employees potentially exposed to formaldehyde to complete a web-­based training module informing them of the potential hazards, hazard controls, and when to contact DEHS staff for a follow-­up evaluation.

Uses of formaldehyde commonly seen at the university include: 

  • Tissue preservation and in embalming fluids in; autopsy rooms, the pathology department, and laboratory specimens
  • Kidney dialysis units and as a sterilizing agent in central supply rooms
  • Some disinfectants and consumer products


If a university employee finds or suspects potential exposure to formaldehyde, please contact DEHS at 502.852.­2830.

Training

Formaldehyde's odor may be readily detected by some people. Many others, however, may not be able to smell it at all. Therefore, the sense of smell cannot be relied upon to warn workers. Rather, irritation of the: eyes, nose, bronchial tubes, and watering eyes may indicate exposure to formaldehyde more often than the sense of smell. 

Please refer to the Training Module for more information. 


Regulations

Please see the links below for the OSHA Standard and Regulations for formaldehyde.

DEFINITIONS

What is Formaldehyde? 

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong, pungent odor. It is widely used in hospitals, laboratories and some disinfectants throughout the university.  Formaldehyde is present in liquid form in an aqueous methanol solution called Formalin, which has a clear to milky appearance, and in solid polymer form as a white powder called Paraformaldehyde. Formaldehyde gas may be given off by either liquid Formalin or Paraformaldehyde powder.

ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations

RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Environmental Health & Safety
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
502.852.6670
dehs@louisville.edu 

The University Policy and Procedure Library is updated regularly. In order to ensure a printed copy of this document is current, please access it online at http://louisville.edu/policies.