Last Updated: November 22, 2016 10:11:03 AM PST
Learn how to protect yourself from reproductive hazards in the workplace.
Exposure to certain chemicals, radioisotopes, and biological agents may cause problems such as infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects.
It is important for both men and women to understand the risks of reproductive hazards.
Take the following steps to protect yourself from unnecessary exposures:
UC San Diego researchers working with any chemical that is considered a reproductive hazard must complete a “Reproductive Hazard” hazard control plan (HCP) obtained through the Chemical Hazard Use Application (CHUA).
This HCP must be preapproved by the principal investigator prior to beginning any work with this material.
An employee may wish to declare her pregnancy (or intent to become pregnant) so Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) can address possible reproductive hazards in her workplace, and provide information about safe work practices for her physician’s approval.
Declaration of pregnancy is voluntary and all information relating to the pregnancy is strictly confidential.
Contact the EH&S Occupational Health nurse to voluntarily declare a pregnancy (you may choose not to declare a pregnancy):
Radiation workers: Read Declared Pregnancy and Fetal Monitoring for Radiation Workers.
Required: The PI or supervisor must confirm that employees receive safety training about the hazardous materials they use, and that training records are kept.
Make sure everyone working with a known reproductive hazard understands the risks and how to protect themselves:
- Provide specific Safety Data Sheets and Exposure Control Plans for chemicals and biological agents.
- Explain possible health effects and routes of exposure:
- Skin absorption
- Provide and train employees in the proper use of personal protective equipment and engineering controls to prevent exposure.
- Review emergency procedures for your facility.
- Keep training records on file.
- Your completed Laboratory Hazard Assessment provides a summary report of hazards present in the lab and specifies PPE required for workers. This tool facilitates identification of hazards and identifies the personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used during the specified work activities.
- Review Safety Data Sheets (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets) and Exposure Control Plans for hazardous materials in your workplace to find out if they are possible reproductive hazards:
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
- Known reproductive hazards:
- Use a less dangerous product when you can.
- Avoid work that involves possible exposure to reproductive hazards during pregnancy.
- Use chemical fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, and other engineering controls as needed.
- Keep container sizes and quantities in the work area as small as possible.
- Line work surfaces with removable plastic-backed absorbent paper.
- Wash your hands after working with hazardous materials and before eating, drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics.
- Follow standard operating procedures for known human carcinogens.
- Dispose of hazardous waste properly:
- See personal protective equipment for guidance.
- Follow these PPE guidelines:
- Always double-check your PPE before use.
- Prevent skin exposure at all times.
- Leave all PPE in the workplace when done.
Clean up only very small quantities and only if you've been properly trained.
- Know the locations and how to use the nearest:
Treat any exposure seriously, no matter how slight it may seem at the moment.
- All exposures:
- Give first aid treatment, then seek medical immediately as needed.
- Call Campus Police at (858) 534-4357 (534-HELP) and request an ambulance if transportation is necessary.
- Call Poison Control, (800) 222-1222 , if additional information is needed.
- Ingestion: Seek medical attention immediately.
- Skin exposure: Flush exposed skin with water for at least 15 minutes while removing any contaminated clothing.
- Eye exposure: Flush eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. Affected individuals may need help holding their eyes open under water. Seek medical attention immediately at an emergency room.
Read What to Do if a Work-Related Injury, Illness, or Exposure Occurs.
For specific hazard information:
- Biological agents
- Chemical hazards
For medical consultation: