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Laboratory Safety

Augustana College is committed to operating laboratories that provide a safe working environment; we believe employees have a right to know about health hazards associated with their work. Our Chemical Hygiene Plan includes policies, procedures, and re­sponsibilities designed to develop an awareness of potentially hazardous chemicals in the workplace, and to train employees in safe and appropriate working conditions.  We expect that employees will use this information to make knowl­edgeable decisions about any personal risks of employment.

Lab Safety Tips:

Fire safety

  • Be aware of the location of the fire extinguishers in your laboratory
  • Know the evacuation routes, and practice evacuation procedures
  • Do not allow combustible materials to accumulate within your lab
  • Avoid storing flammable substances in your laboratory
  • Ensure that emergency numbers are posted near the telephone in your lab

Personal protection

  • Ensure that the personal protective equipment that you are using is substantial enough to shield you from the potential exposure to hazardous materials encountered in your lab.
  • Use fume hoods and biosafety cabinets when possible to minimize exposure to chemicals
  • Check that your fume hood is functioning properly before using it

Safety equipment

  • Access to safety showers and eyewash stations must be unobstructed at all times
  • Safety showers and eyewash stations should be tagged and tested regularly to ensure that they are functioning correctly

Safety and hygiene

  • Do not eat, drink or store food in laboratory work areas
  • Never store food or drinks in chemical/biomedical refrigerators
  • Do not wear shorts or open shoes in the lab
  • Do not wear gloves outside the laboratory work area

Chemical storage

  • Keep all chemical stock to a minimum
  • Store stock chemicals according to their hazard class and compatibility
  • Avoid storing strong chemicals, especially those that are corrosive liquids, above eye level
  • Do not store chemicals next to or above sinks
  • Keep all containers, especially those not in use, closed
  • Remove chemical containers that are leaking, degrading, rusting, or are expired

Chemical waste

  • Designate an area of your lab for chemical waste labeled "Hazardous Waste Accumulation Area" (HWAA)
  • Separate incompatible wastes
  • Label every waste container with a stick that includes the words "Hazardous Waste", the name of the chemical, and your lab number
  • Keep containers closed and away from sinks at all times
  • Refer to the Waste Management and Disposal page of the EHS website

Housekeeping and lab spills

  • Always keep your lab clean
  • Remove all tripping hazards from the floor
  • Know the location of the spill control kit for your lab/floor

Safety Data Sheets - SDS, Previously known as MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheets

  • Make sure employees and students are aware of where SDSs are held and where they can access them
  • Refer to the MSDS page