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Laboratories have many hazards associated with them. Safety rules and regulations are created to protect laboratory personnel from unsafe work practices and exposure to hazardous materials. Part of a good safety culture is communication and discussion about safety hazards within the laboratory. Below are some basic guidelines for maintaining a safe laboratory environment.

  • To ensure that help is available if needed, do not work alone if using hazardous materials or performing hazardous procedures.
  • To ensure that help is available in case of emergencies, laboratory personnel should not deviate from the assigned work schedule without prior authorization from the laboratory supervisor.
  • Do not perform unauthorized experiments.
  • Follow the appropriate standard operating procedures at all times in the laboratory.
  • Always read the Safety Data Sheets and label before using a chemical in the laboratory.
  • Everyone, including visitors, must wear appropriate PPE, including eye protection and laboratory coat or apron in areas where laboratory chemicals are used or stored.
  • Wear appropriate gloves when handling hazardous materials. Inspect all gloves for holes and defects before using.
  • Use appropriate ventilation such as laboratory chemical hoods when working with hazardous chemicals.
  • Contact the EHS office if you have questions about the adequacy of the safety equipment available or the chemical handling procedures.
  • Know the location and proper use of the safety equipment (i.e., eyewash, safety shower, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, fire alarm pulls)
  • Maintain situational awareness.
  • Make others in the laboratory aware of any special hazards associated with your work.
  • Notify supervisors of any chemical sensitivities.
  • Report all injuries, accidents, incidents and near misses to your supervisor and EHS.
  • Do not allow unauthorized persons in the laboratory.
  • Report unsafe conditions to the laboratory supervisor and EHS.
  • Properly dispose of all chemical wastes, by contacting the EHS office. Follow organizational policies for drain and trash disposal of chemicals.

Laboratory Safety Resources: