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Lab Safety


Chemistry laboratories can be hazardous
if the rules are not followed.


Learn and observe the safety and laboratory rules!

Laboratory Attire
General Guidelines
Personal Safety
Chemical Safety
Chemical Waste


Laboratory Attire

  • Clothing must cover the body from shoulders down to toes.
       NO shorts, skirts, or cropped pants
       NO tank tops or low-cut tops
       NO bare midriffs
       NO sandals, open-toed shoes, or ballet flats
  • Eye protection is required for all personnel, students, and any visitors present in the lab. You must wear safety glasses/goggles at all times when you are in the lab, even if you are not performing an experiment.  Please notify your lab instructor if you wear contact lenses.
  • Long hair and loose clothing must be confined.
  • Gloves are available for your use when needed and must be removed before leaving lab.  Do not handle personal items, such as pens, eyeglasses, etc. with the gloves on.

General Guidelines

  • Never work alone in the lab.
  • Never perform unauthorized experiments.
  • If you are ever in doubt about equipment use or procedures, ask the instructor.
  • Keep all aisles and workbenches clear of clutter and obstructions.
  • Do not bring food or drinks into the laboratory.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, taking medicine, and applying cosmetics is forbidden while in the lab.
  • Never pipet liquids by mouth.
  • Notify your instructor in the event of accident, illness, injury, or fire, no matter how minor.
  • Do not attempt to clean up chemical spills on your own; notify your instructor immediately.
  • Be sure to clean the balance after each use.
  • Report broken thermometers and mercury spills to your instructor or a lab assistant.
  • Notify your instructor or a lab assistant if your glassware is cracked or chipped.
  • Make sure that all gas, water, and electrical devices are turned off and that your work area is clean before leaving the laboratory each day.
  • Return all reagents and equipment to their proper place.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory.

 Personal Safety

  • Know important safety numbers - Campus Safety ext. 888; Health Center ext. 5245; Local Ambulance/Fire/Police 911.
  • Be familiar with the location and operation of the eyewash stations, safety showers, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and exits.
  • Avoid direct contact with any chemical.  Keep chemicals off your hands, face, and clothing.  Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling any chemical.  If chemicals come in contact with skin or clothes, ask for help and flush the contaminated area with copious quantities of water for 15 minutes.
  • If chemicals come in contact with your eyes, ask for help and flush your eyes at the eye wash station for 15 minutes.
  • Never smell, inhale, or taste a hazardous chemical.
  • In case of a fire, evacuate the lab.

Chemical Safety

  • Read the label before using a chemical.  It is also a good idea to consult the manufacturer's or supplier's Safety Data Sheet (SDS).  You can access a chemical's SDS online -  SDS are also stored in the Chemistry stockroom (BR 118) and with campus safety in Spellman Hall.
  • Emergency response equipment is available in the chemistry stockroom (BR 118), but should only be used by qualified personnel.
  • Recap all reagent bottles immediately after use.
  • Keep all bottles of flammable, poisonous, and corrosive materials closed.  Use these materials in the fume hood and with adequate traps.
  • Many organic solvents are highly flammable.  Check with your instructor before lighting any flames.

 Chemical Waste

  • Be sure to dispose of waste in its proper place:
    • Broken glass ONLY in appropriately labeled containers.
    • Trash ONLY in trash barrels.
    • Syringes ONLY in *sharps* containers.
    • Solid and liquid waste in properly labeled Hazardous Waste containers.  If no such labeled container exists, alert your instructor.
  • Keep waste containers capped when not in use.  "In use" means that someone is in the act of placing waste into the container.
  • Report problems with the waste containers immediately (overfilling, bad odors, bubbling, smoking, leaking, lack of appropriate labels, etc.)
  • Never pour hazardous chemicals down a sink's drain.


Please contact Dr. Christopher Pappas, the campus Director of Laboratory Safety, with any questions or concerns.