Safety Guidelines

The following guidelines have been prepared to increase safety consciousness in the department.
  1. Safety glasses are required in all designated labs within the department. You will see the posting at the door before entering the lab.
  2. When doing any experiment which may be dangerous (CO, H2S, other gases, strong acids, mixing reducing and oxidizing agents, high voltages, etc.), discuss it with a technician; use face shields and gloves where appropriate and return them from where they were taken.
  3. Throw away useless things such as old samples, material you don’t need any more, garbage, computer printouts, empty boxes, etc. We have very little space and most of these things are fire hazards. [Each April the Department declares a special “clean up” day, when experimental work is interrupted to permit all laboratories to be cleaned up and unnecessary materials removed for appropriate disposal.]
  4. Label all containers you use; we pay over $300.00 for each unidentified substance to be discarded.
  5. Put your own name (not initials) on things, not only your supervisor’s name, and indicate what is in any bottle or beaker, to ensure that others are alerted to its presence. [The technicians have special labels to use on solutions etc. which you make up and place in bottles or beakers.]
  6. Gas cylinders should have a label affixed. These are available in the store room.
  7. Cylinders must be tied up (this is a law) since a cylinder might fall over and have the valve knocked off. This could turn into a serious explosion.
  8. Use as few cylinders as possible; share with others in your room, keep reserves low, return empties, or one not used any more, promptly, even if it is full.
  9. Gas carts should be pushed not pulled; wheels may collapse.
  10. Shoe wear. In all department labs it is necessary to have only closed toed shoes [NO sandles].
  11. If you break or spill something, blow fuses, etc., don’t just leave it. Fix it and if you can’t do this, tell a technician about it.
  12. If anything is wrong with the plumbing or other things which are part of the building, call Service Manager ext. 24273, or Service Coordinator ext. 27482 if you get an answering machine and need emergency assistance call ext. 24229.
  13. Do not work alone in experimental laboratories at night or weekends.
  14. Contact lenses should not be worn when using solvents, etc. They concentrate behind the lens (no washing action by tears) and may damage the eye.
  15. Pick up any spilled mercury. Use large trays under any experiment involving mercury. Sulfur dust may be used to cover inaccessible droplets. Slurries of sulfur and lime are also used. It is best to inform a technician immediately about any large mercury spill.
  16. HF and bromine should be handled with extreme care. On contact with skin, they form ulcers which are very painful and may not heal for several weeks.
  17. In any emergency, call ext. 88.
  18. When the fire alarm sounds, get out of the building.
  19. Do not bypass safety features on equipment.
  20. Your name and home telephone number should be posted on the door of the laboratory in which you have an experiment running, so that you can be reached in an emergency.
  21. Hazardous chemicals used in experiments must be disposed of properly, not in the normal garbage. Make sure you are aware of disposal procedures for all chemicals you use. If unsure, ask! Never pour chemicals, solid or liquid, down the drain. Sewer effluent is monitored and violators will be subject to fines.