Lab Safety

Department of Chemistry Lab Safety Information

Part I - General Safety Matters

1. Right-to-know/Hazard Communication and Labeling: We all have the right to know (and are expected to know) about all chemicals (including consumer products) we will be exposed to in the lab class. YOU must make sure that all unattended materials are labeled with the NAME (no abbreviations) of the material, the CONCENTRATION (if applicable) and it’s HAZARD if any (e.g. flammable, corrosive, oxidizer etc.). We consider the material to be “Unattended” once the class has left the area. Don’t leave unlabelled containers of chemicals after lab.
2. Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Information about chemicals used in the lab is available in the form of Safety Data Sheets found in a binder in the safety materials cabinet or through the links on the materials list for the specific chemistry course. Requests for SDS will be honored.
3. PPE Policy: Chemical splash goggles with indirect venting must be worn by EVERYONE (ANSI Z87.1 standard). NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Remember: ONLY those with proper goggles will be allowed in the lab! The bookstore sells goggles. If you wear glasses, you MUST wear the goggles over the glasses since glasses do not provide acceptable protection. Contact lenses are allowed when worn under goggles. Lab coats are encouraged for CHEM 1102. They can be purchased at the bookstore, through the Student ACS Club, or online.
4. No eating/drinking/food/smoking: No food or drink is allowed in laboratories. Smoking is prohibited in university buildings and within 30 feet of entrances. You must leave these things outside, or keep them in your closed backpacks. THIS INCLUDES PERSONAL WATER BOTTLES! Putting on makeup or installing contact lenses is also prohibited in the lab.
5. Laboratory attire: Close-toed footwear must be worn at all times. If you forget to wear close-toed shoes, you will not be allowed to stay in the lab. Students should wear appropriate clothing that protects the individual's body from the neck to the ankle. Sleeveless shirts, tank-tops or other clothing that do not cover the shoulders or abdominal area should not be worn. No shorts will be allowed in lab. Long hair should be pulled back.
6. Housekeeping: You must clean up after yourselves and make sure you clean up all spilled reagents. Never throw chemicals in the trash or into the broken glass box, and never pour them down the drain.
If any water is spilled on the floor, it must be cleaned up immediately to prevent slip/fall injuries and damage to the rooms below/adjacent etc. There is a mop available in N306. If the water can’t be promptly cleaned up, facilities should be called at x3211.
Spill kits are available in the safety supplies cabinet each lab for chemical spills under 500 ml. Do not attempt to clean up larger spills, the labs are only equipped with spill kits for small spills. If the spill is greater than 500 ml, evacuate the lab and report the spill to the stockroom (N306).
7. Reporting Accidents/Incidents: Please report all injuries, dangerous equipment failures, chemical spills etc. Injured students should go to the Student Health Center for medical evaluation. They may walk there with an escort or may be transported by University Police. Neither students nor instructors may clean up blood!
8. Medical: Please inform the instructor if you think your health might be adversely impacted by any class activity, or if you think your state of health might adversely affect the ability of the class to perform the activity. You may be asked to consult your doctor before proceeding with an activity.

Part II - Safety Equipment and Procedures

1. Safety shower: When working with hazardous materials that can injure the eyes or skin, a working emergency shower must be no more than “ten seconds” away. The path to the shower must be clear. The shower turns ON when the handle is pulled and will not turn off until the handle is pushed UP. The injured person must stay in the shower for a minimum of 15 minutes. Contaminated clothing must be removed. OUR SHOWERS HAVE NO DRAIN!
Don’t worry about flooding the floor; the health of the person is more important. Never apply sodium bicarbonate or any other treatment to the injury – flush with water only!
2. Eyewash: The same rules apply as above. During the 15-minute flushing, the injured person should use her/his fingers to hold eyelids open and 9-1-1 should be called as necessary. Do not worry about flooding the floor. Inert absorbent is available in the stockroom (N306) to put on the wet floor.
3. Emergency evacuation procedure & route: If the alarm sounds, or you are ordered out of the lab, remember to TAKE YOUR BACKPACK! Turn off Bunsen burners etc. if possible. EVERYONE MUST GET 200 FEET AWAY from the building and occupy grassy areas so as to not block access by emergency vehicles. Please refer to the Emergency Procedures flip chart (red/white) for standard instructions and map of designated gathering areas
4. Emergency phones: These are located on walls in each lab, and the science building hallways. Use them to speak directly to university police, or dial 911 from a standard campus office or cell phone.
5. Safety Cabinet: A supply of safety items is available in the lab. This includes a first-aid kit and a spill kit. Explain use of first aid supplies in the sheets that is on the lid of the kit. Additional supplies are located in N306.
6. Chemical Hoods: To use the hood for protection, the glass sash MUST be at or below the sash "stop" catch. If arrow stickers are in place, the sash MUST be at or lower than those arrow markers. Never put your head inside the fume hood when chemicals are present. Don't use the interior of the hood as a writing desk! Report defective/alarming hoods promptly. An ineffective/suspect hood may not be used for protection.

Part III - Chemical and Equipment Hazards

1. Origins of Hazards: Unexpected and possibly dangerous situations can result from one or more of the following: incorrect transfer and handling procedures, incorrect reaction temperatures, using incorrect amounts of chemicals, incorrect order of addition of two or more substances or the incorrect rate of addition of two or more substances. Knowing the lab procedure can prevent these situations. Be sure you have read the procedure before attending the lab session and follow procedure as you perform the lab. If you have any questions, please talk to the instructor before proceeding.
2. Chemical storage and incompatibilities: Always return chemicals to their proper place and store them compatibly! Separate acids from bases, oxidizers from organic materials such as combustibles/flammables/reducing agents etc. It is CRITICAL that you all remember that nitric acid will react violently with organic materials such as acetic acid! Also watch out for flammable materials such as alcohols, acetone, ethers etc. and keep them away from ignition sources.
3. Chemical Wastes: Unused material that you have removed from the reagent bottle should be placed into a proper waste disposal container. NO Chemical wastes may be poured down the drains in the labs. The labs have dedicated waste containers for the lab procedures. You MUST make sure you know which container is the correct one for your waste! Ask the instructor if you’re not sure! Otherwise you could cause a fire, explosion or some other unwanted chemical reaction. Containers must not be overfilled. It is everyone’s responsibility to NOTIFY THE STOCKROOM (N306) WHEN A CONTAINER IS ¾ FULL. The container will be replaced with an empty one. Waste containers must be kept closed when not in use. Remember, DO NOT FILL A WASTE JUG MORE
4. Scientific glassware: Only evacuate round-bottom flasks or thick-walled filter flasks. NEVER evacuate regular Erlenmeyer flasks, even with an aspirator. Clamp all apparatus firmly, especially when heating and cooling or performing vacuum filtration.
5. Broken glass and other sharp items: Broken glass must be cleaned up promptly, but NEVER put sharp items in the regular trash!! Put them in the special “Broken Glass” box. There is a broom and dust pan in each laboratory for such incidences. When full, contact the stockoom (N306). Do not overfill and do not let the box get wet or too heavy. If the broken glass is contaminated with a hazardous material, package and label it as hazardous waste.
6. Equipment hazards: This will be discussed according to use in the lab. MOST equipment is expensive and fragile! Specific safety issues associated with equipment used in this lab will be presented when the equipment is first used.

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