General Lab Safety
Being safe in a laboratory is very important. There are many things that can easily go wrong if the proper precautions are not taken prior to and during work in a laboratory. The following are the main topics of lab safety.
CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!
Be familiar with evacuation plans.
Clean up small spills
only if you are properly equipped and trained to do so. Otherwise, contact EHS&RM Hazmat Section x5487 for proper clean up.
Immediately report all lab accidents.
In case of chemical spill on your skin and clothing, rinse the area with plenty of water.
If the eyes become affected by a chemical, immediately use the eye wash station and continue for 10-15 minutes, or until professional assistance is obtained.
Minor skin burns should be placed under cool running water.
- Clear lab counter of all unnecessary materials (books, clothing, etc.) prior to beginning of your work.
- Lab tables & counter tops should be kept clean & free of unnecessary materials.
- Fume hoods are not to be used for the storage of chemicals.
- Keep all aisles and walkways in the lab clear to provide a safe walking path and an unobstructed exit.
- Do not exceed allowable quantities of chemicals.
- Do not block access to emergency equipment & utility controls.
- Inspect all equipment before use.
- Do not leave experiments unattended.
- Keep lab floor dry at all times.
- Tag all machinery under repair.
- All compressed gas cylinders must be secured and labeled. Secured with chains or straps.
- Before disposing a chemical, be sure of the proper procedures. Do not pour it down the sink unless you are sure it is OK to do so. Use a Transfer Form to communicate a pick up from EHS&RM Hazmat Section.
- If necessary, clean equipment after use to avoid the possibility of contaminating the next person who needs to use it.
- Return all equipment, chemicals, and personal protective equipment to their designated locations.
UAF Hazard Color Code System
BLUE - Health hazard Store in a secure poison area.
RED - Flammable hazard Store in a flammable liquid storage area. (Approved flammable storage cabinets.)
YELLOW (yellow) - Reactivity hazard Store separately and away from flammable or combustible materials. WHITE Contact hazard Store in a corrosion proof area. Note: Acids and bases should be stored separately.
ORANGE or GREEN - Substances with no rating higher than two in any hazard category. Store in a general chemical storage area.
STRIPED - Incompatible materials of the same color class have stripped labels Proper storage must be individually assessed.
** Questions regarding Lab Safety should be directed to 474-5413.
Before starting any work in the lab, make it a point to become familiar with the procedures and equipment that are to be used.
- Inspect all equipment before use.
- If you don't understand something, ask.
- Do not operate equipment unless properly trained.
- Avoid unnecessary movement and talk in the lab.
- No food or drink in the lab.
- Do not do dangerous experiments alone.
- Confine long hair, and be aware of dangling jewelry.
- Wear all personal protective equipment.
- Do not wear contact lens in the lab.
- Check chemical labels twice to ensure accuracy.
- Be aware of hazard classification.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Do not wear personal protective equipment outside the lab in common areas.
- Do not smell or taste chemicals.
- Never point the open end of a test tube toward yourself or your neighbor.
Know the location and use of:
- Safety shower
- First-aid kit
- Exit doors
- Fire pull station
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
Good work practices:
- Never look directly down into a test tube; view contents from the side.
- Vent apparatus which may discharge toxic chemicals into local fume hoods.
- Always dispose of chemicals properly.
- Before leaving the lab, ensure gas lines and water faucets are off.
- Do not cover the windows of lab doors.
- Maintain a clear pathway to all the safety equipment.
Be aware of ignition sources.
Store flammable liquids in appropriate containers and cabinets.
Do not store incompatible materials together.
Keep all sprinklers clear. 18 inches below must be clear.