Chemical Safety

Laboratory Safety Guidelines

1. Have a written health and safety policy statement.

2. Develop a departmental safety committee of faculty, staff and students which will meet regularly to discuss safety issues.

3. Develop a safety orientation program for all new employees and students.

4. Encourage employees and students to care about their health and safety and that of others.

5. Involve all faculty, staff and students in some aspect of the safety program and give each specific responsibility.

6. Require all employees to read the appropriate safety manuals. Require students to read the institution's laboratory safety rules. Have both groups sign a statement that they have done so, understand the contents, and agree to follow the procedures and practices. Keep these statements on file.

7. Make learning how to be safe an integral and important part of science education, your work, and your life.

8. Schedule regular departmental safety meetings for all students and employees to discuss the results of inspections and aspects of laboratory safety.

9. Require every pre-lab or pre-experiment discussion to include consideration of the health and safety aspects.

10. Forbid working alone in any laboratory and working without prior knowledge of a staff member.

11. Require the use of appropriate eye protection at all times -- in a laboratories and areas where chemicals are transported.

12. Require the use of appropriate PPE at all times – when experiments are running and areas where chemicals are transported.

13. Provide adequate supplies of PPE -- safety glasses, goggles, face shields, gloves, lab coats, and bench top shields.

14. Don't allow experiments to run unattended.

15. When conducting experiments with hazards or potential hazards, ask yourself these questions:

  • · What are the hazards?
  • · What are the worst possible things that could go wrong?
  • · How will I deal with them?
  • · What are the prudent practices, protective facilities and equipment necessary to minimize the risk of exposure to the hazards?

16. Require that all accidents (incidents) be reported, evaluated by the departmental safety committee, and discussed at departmental safety meetings.

17. Allow only minimum amounts of flammable liquids in each laboratory.

18. Forbid smoking, eating and drinking in the laboratory.

19. Do not allow food to be stored in chemical refrigerators.

20. Develop plans and conduct drills for dealing with emergencies such as fire, explosion, poisoning, chemical spill or vapor release, electric shock, bleeding and personal contamination.

21. Display emergency contact numbers next to every phone.

22. Store acids and bases separately. Store fuels and oxidizers separately.

23. Maintain a chemical inventory to avoid purchasing unnecessary quantities of chemicals.

24. Use warning signs to designate particular hazards.

25. Require good housekeeping practices in all work areas.

26. Develop specific work practices for individual experiments, such as those that should be conducted only in a ventilated hood or involve particularly hazardous chemicals. When possible most hazardous experiments should be done in a hood.

27. Provide fire extinguishers, safety showers, eye wash fountains, first aid kits, fire blankets and fume hoods in each laboratory and test or check monthly.

28. Provide guards on all vacuum pumps.

29. Secure all compressed gas cylinders, separate flammable and oxidizing gases.

30. Remove all electrical connections from inside chemical refrigerators and require magnetic closures.

31. Require grounded plugs on all electrical equipment and install ground fault interrupters (GFI's) where appropriate.

32. Label all chemicals to show the name of the material, the nature and degree of hazard, the appropriate precautions, and the name of the person responsible for the container.

33. Develop a program for dating stored chemicals and for re-certifying or discarding them after predetermined maximum periods of storage.

34. Provide fireproof cabinets for storage of flammable chemicals.

35. Provide secure, adequately spaced, well ventilated storage of chemicals