On June 26, 2019, Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) enacted the “Circular No. 04/2019/TT-BKHCN on handling of chemical substances for scientific experiments and research”. The circular is a detailed implementation of Article 33 of the “Law on Chemicals” (Law No. 06/2007/QH12) and sets forth the following specific requirements for organizations and individuals who handle chemical substances for laboratory and scientific research:
- Safety equipment and occupational health and safety protective equipment for handling of chemical substances used in scientific experiments and research
- Labeling of chemical containers in laboratories and chemical warehouses
- Administrative documents and safety data sheets (SDS) of chemicals in laboratories
- Responsibilities of workers who work directly with chemicals for experimental and scientific research, and directors of laboratory facilities
Under this circular, a “laboratory” is defined as “a place where experiments, tests, and examinations (collectively referred to as “experiments”) are conducted for the purpose of scientific research, evaluation, and analysis”.
The effective date of this circular is September 15, 2019.
The original text of the circular is available for download below:
Safety measures in laboratories
When handling chemical substances in laboratories, the following items must be available:
- Equipment, facilities, and instruments prepared for chemical accidents
- First aid kit
- Personal protective equipment (e.g., protective clothing, shoes, caps, goggles, gas masks, gloves, masks, etc.) for laboratory workers that is appropriate for research and experimental work
- Trash for separation
- Safety regulations, handling manuals for experimental equipment, and handling manuals for each hazardous chemical substance in laboratories
- SDSs for each chemical that contain detailed information on hazardous components as provided by the manufacturer, importer, or distributor.
Furthermore, if you handle “hazardous chemicals”, the following additional measures shall be taken:
- Areas where flammable and explosive chemicals are handled shall be equipped with appropriate monitoring and warning systems, and ventilation systems
- Areas where hazardous chemicals with high evaporation rate are handled shall be equipped with appropriate draft chambers, ventilation fans, or exhaust collection and treatment systems to meet safety standards for exhaust gases to the environment
- Areas where oxidizing chemicals are handled shall be located separately, and be equipped with appropriate collection and disposal system to ensure safety.
- Areas where other hazardous chemicals are handled shall be equipped with safety devices and appropriate measures to ensure safety for the human body and the environment.
When handling hazardous or prohibited chemical substances in laboratories, the following administrative documents are required to be prepared:
- Control records for the use of hazardous or prohibited chemical substances, containing chemical names, trade names, chemical formulas; quantity and weight of used and discarded chemical substances; identification of hazardous chemical substances; information on chemical risks and safety measures; new characteristics and influencing factors that cause hazard)
- Control documents for prohibited chemical substances used in scientific experiments and research (if any).
- SDSs for each hazardous chemical as defined in Article 24 of the Governmental Decree No. 113/2017/ND-CP
The minimum storage period of control records for hazardous and prohibited chemical substances are three years and ten years respectively from the date of termination of the use.