Laboratory Safety Procedures

Laboratory Safety Procedures

CHSU is equipped with laboratories to further the academic and scientific achievements of students. CHSU is committed to providing a safe lab environment for learning and working. The risks associated with laboratory hazards are greatly reduced or eliminated if proper precautions are observed. The guidelines below provide a summary of general laboratory safety procedures. See separate applicable policies for more information. All work in laboratories is to be completed under the supervision of the Laboratory Manager, responsible faculty member, or principal investigator, who are ultimately responsible for the safety of laboratories. Students and those working in labs may be required to complete prerequisite lab safety training as directed by a responsible faculty member or the Laboratory Manager.

Students wishing to bring visitors to a lab must obtain express permission from the Laboratory Manager or appropriate faculty member before allowing the guest to enter the laboratory. Laboratory visitors must always be accompanied by a CHSU employee or the Laboratory Manager’s designee.

General Safety Guidelines

It is the responsibility of each person that enters a laboratory to understand the safety requirements and health hazards associated with the materials and equipment in the laboratory. If unsure about the safety of laboratory conditions or practices, please seek guidance from the Laboratory Manager or responsible faculty member before proceeding. Promptly report any potentially hazardous conditions or operations to the Laboratory Manager or responsible faculty member.

  • Always wear proper eye protection in chemical work, handling and storage areas.
  • Know the hazards associated with the materials in the lab, including the safety precautions to use.
  • Always wear appropriate protective clothing, including clothing that covers the arms and legs, shoes that are closed toed and a suitable lab coat or apron. Confine long hair and loose clothing. Do not wear high-heeled shoes, open- toed shoes, sandals, “flip-flops” or shoes made of woven material.
  • Always wash hands, wrists and arms with soap and water before leaving the work area. This applies after wearing gloves and a lab coat.
  • Never perform any hazardous work when alone in the laboratory. At least two people should be present.
  • Only perform work, preparations or experiments that are authorized by the supervisor, the principal investigator or the Laboratory Manager.
  • Never engage in horseplay, pranks or other acts of mischief in chemical or laboratory biological work areas.
  • Never remove chemicals, biological agents, or radioactive materials from the facility without proper authorization.
  • Be familiar with the location of emergency equipment – fire alarm, fire extinguisher, emergency eye wash and safety shower. Know the appropriate emergency response procedures.
  • Use equipment and hazardous materials only for their intended purposes.
  • Never mouth pipette chemicals when transferring solutions. Instead, always use a pipette bulb to transfer solutions.
  • Always lubricate glass thermometers or thistle tubes before inserting them into a stopper. Always wrap toweling around them while inserting into the stopper in the event they should break.
  • Use a vented fume hood whenever there is a possibility of poisonous or irritating fumes being emitted.
  • Never leave an experiment unattended while it is being heated or is rapidly reacting.
  • Keep equipment back from the edge of the lab bench to prevent spillage.
  • Support all beakers and flasks with clamps. Do not use cracked or chipped glassware.
  • Report any accident, however minor immediately to the principal investigator or Laboratory Manager.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, gum chewing, applying cosmetics, and taking medicine in laboratories is strictly prohibited.

Spills and Accident Reporting

All accidents should be reported to the principal investigator and the laboratory Manager. It is the responsibility of each individual using hazardous materials to become familiar with the emergency response procedures dictated by the manufacturer of such materials. Information about this can be found on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical(s) involved in the spill.

Laboratory users should make themselves aware of safety showers and eye wash stations. When possible, all laboratory users should practice activating the eyewash stations.

Major Spill or Life-Threatening Injuries

The primary concern in the event of an emergency is to protect life and health of others. In case of emergency call 911. Only give first aid treatment to the level at which one is trained. If safe to do so, remove/evacuate all personnel in the immediate area away from the laboratory. Ensure door to laboratory is closed prior to leaving the area. If the spill/incident could threaten the health of individuals in the building, activate the fire alarm. If unsure whether everyone has been evacuated, inform security. Be available to guide emergency responders to the scene if requested and safe to do so.