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Section V:

Human Resources


Safety and Benefits


Fluorescent Tubes

Current Effective Date:


Revision History:


Original Effective Date:




The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the safe handling, storage, and clean-up of mercury - containing lamp and bulbs. This written compliance program outlines specific procedures to be followed by trained employees authorized to clean broken fluorescent tubes.


It is the policy of DHHS to protect employees, patients, clients, residents, and any other individuals from hazards associated with fluorescent tubes. This policy establishes procedures for the safe handling, storage, and cleanup of fluorescent tubes in compliance with EPA Universal Waste regulations. Only properly trained staff are permitted to clean up broken fluorescent tubes or other mercury-containing equipment.


Fluorescent Tube - A glass tube that radiates light when phosphor on its inside surface is made to fluoresce by ultraviolet radiation from mercury vapor.

Mercury – A heavy metal that can be toxic to human health. Primary exposure routes into the human body is through inhalation or ingestion. Once absorbed by the body, mercury concentrations persist and rise to toxic levels.

Mercury-containing Equipment - a device or part of a device (excluding batteries and lamps) that contains elemental mercury integral to its function. Some commonly recognized devices are thermostats, barometers, manometers, temperature and pressure gauges, and mercury switches, such as light switches in automobiles.

Universal Waste Lamp - the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy, most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Examples of common universal waste electric lamps include, but are not limited to, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, and metal halide lamps.

Roles and Responsibilities

Safety Programs Manager
The Safety Programs Manager (SPM) ensures that a written plan is in place to establish a policy for the handling and cleanup of broken fluorescent tubes, lamps, and other equipment. The SPM reviews the policy periodically.

Safety Officer
The Safety Officer monitors his/her assigned area to ensure compliance with this policy. The Safety Officer is responsible for coordinating training for applicable staff on the replacement, handling, and cleanup for fluorescent lamps/bulbs.

The manager/supervisor ensures that only authorized and trained staff handle fluorescent tubes. The manager/supervisor ensures that designated staff complete required training prior to handling or cleaning up fluorescent tubes.

DHHS Staff
Staff are responsible for complying with this policy. Staff only handle or clean up fluorescent tubes if authorized and trained to do so. Affected staff complete training as required.

General Procedures


Storage of Fluorescent Tubes

Labeling of Containers

Cleanup of Broken Tubes

Mercury Spill Cleanup Kit
A spill cleanup kit should be readily available for any staff handling fluorescent tubes and in the Universal Waste Storage Area. The kit contains the following items:

Personal Hygiene
Sound hygiene practices are essential to minimize mercury inhalation or ingestion. Mercury accumulation on clothing, hands, and working surfaces can lead to incidental exposure. The following practices will be followed in addition to protective gloves and operational procedures:


For questions or clarification on any of the information contained in this policy, please contact Human Resources. For general questions about department-wide policies and procedures, contact the DHHS Policy Coordinator.

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