Laboratory Safety

Standard Operating Procedures

  • Plan your work:
    • Obtain information about procedures, equipment and chemicals that you will use and the hazards associated with their use
    • Read Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for all chemicals that you plan to use
  • Dress appropriately for the lab.
    • Do not wear shorts or capri pants.
    • Do not wear high-heeled shoes, open-toed/heeled shoes or sandals. 
    • Confine long hair and loose clothing.
  • Wear appropriate PPE:
    • Use chemical splash goggles when working with chemicals
    • Use gloves when handling chemicals; select the glove material based on compatibility with the chemicals you will use
    • Chemically resistant lab coats or aprons are recommended.
  • Use chemicals in a chemical fume hood or with adequate ventilation.
  • Practice good chemical hygiene:
    • Do not eat, drink, chew gum or tobacco, smoke or apply cosmetics in the laboratory
    • Do not smell, inhale or taste laboratory chemicals
    • Do not use mouth suction to fill a pipette or siphon
    • Wash hands and any exposed skin with soap and water before leaving the laboratory
    • Handle needles, syringes and other sharps (including broken glass) carefully. Dispose of all sharps in an appropriate sharps container.
  • Do not dispose of chemicals down the drain. Most chemicals must be disposed of as hazardous waste (link to Haz waste pdf)
  • Compressed gas cylinders must be secured at all times and must be capped when the regulator is removed or not in use
  • Know emergency procedures
  • Practice good housekeeping:
    • Keep all work areas clean and uncluttered
    • Label all containers
    • Do not block emergency showers, eye washes, exits or hallways
    • Attend to accidents and spills promptly (link to sills clean-up pdf)
    • Do not work with hazardous chemicals or processes when alone in the laboratory (link to UWGB NAS HB working alone guidelines). An instructor must supervise undergraduate students at all times