Student's Guide to Safe Laboratory Practices
- Plan Your Work
- Inspect equipment or apparatus for damage before adding chemicals.
- Inspect electrical equipment and cords for frayed wiring or damage before using.
- Do not use damaged equipment. Notify your instructor.
- Know What You’re Working With
- Always know the hazards and physical and chemical properties of the materials used
(e.g., corrosivity, flammability, reactivity, and toxicity).
- Read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for information on the chemicals you’re working with.
- Follow All Safety Procedures
- Always wear chemical splash goggles for eye protection in chemical work, handling and storage areas.
- When pouring large quantities of chemicals, in addition to goggles, wear a face shield large
enough to protect your ears and neck as well as your face.
- Always wear gloves when handling chemicals. Latex gloves are not compatible with all chemicals.
Nitrile gloves offer better protection.
- Always wear appropriate clothing: chemically resistant lab coats or aprons are recommended.
- Do not wear shorts, cutoffs, or miniskirts. Do not wear high-heeled shoes, open-toed shoes,
sandals or shoes made of woven materials.
- Never perform any work when alone in the laboratory. At least two people must be present.
Undergraduate students must be supervised by an instructor at all times.
- Always use chemicals with adequate ventilation or in a chemical fume hood.
- Use chemicals only as directed and for their intended purpose.
- Never use mouth suction to fill a pipette. Use a pipette bulb or another pipette filling device.
- Do not dispose of chemicals down the drain. Most chemicals must be disposed of as "hazardous waste".
- Electrically ground and bond containers when transferring or dispensing a flammable liquid.
- Compressed gas cylinders must be secured to prevent them from being knocked over.
- Practice Good Housekeeping and Personal Hygiene
- Avoid direct contact with any chemical.
- Never smell, inhale or taste laboratory chemicals.
- Confine long hair and loose clothing.
- Always wash hands and arms with soap and water before leaving the work area.
This applies even if you have been wearing gloves.
- Never eat, drink, chew gum or tobacco, smoke or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.
- Do not pick up broken glass with your hands. Use tongs or other mechanical means.
- Report Dangerous Activities or Situations
- Report all accidents, no matter how minor, to your instructor.
- Never perform unauthorized work, preparations or experiments.
- Never engage in horseplay, pranks or other acts of mischief in laboratories.
- Never remove chemicals from the facility without proper authorization.
- Know Emergency Procedures
- Know where the emergency eyewash and showers are, and how to use them.
- Know at least two exits from the laboratory in case of an emergency.
- In the event of an emergency, pull the nearest "PULL BOX", evacuate the area, and close all doors.
Contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 2-6410 for more information.
08/26/98 Author Unknown, provided by
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