This Section outlines general safety procedures and policies that apply to all laboratory work. The Safety Committee may establish additional requirements to address potential hazards that could result from specific operations.
Given the diversity of laboratory operations, this Manual does not include specific information about all potential laboratory hazards. Faculty members are relied upon to use their best judgment in identifying hazards in their laboratory. Additionally, given the generic nature of some of the policies and procedures of this Manual, there may be situations where alternative procedures would provide a greater level of safety. If a faculty member believes that an alternative procedure would provide a greater level of safety, the Safety Committee must be contacted for clarification and permission.
The attitude of those working in the laboratory is one of the most important factors in the safe conduct of laboratory experiments. All stages of an investigation, from design through completion, must consider safety as a guiding principle. The key to designing and carrying out safe laboratory experiments is knowledge of the potential hazards. It is the responsibility of each individual working in the laboratory to become thoroughly familiar with the hazards of the chemicals they are using and operations they are performing.
All experiments must be designed and carried out to minimize hazardous chemical exposure. Source reduction, engineering controls, and protective equipment, in that order, are the three primary means of controlling exposure. The following are examples of source reduction and engineering control techniques.
Minimum levels of protective equipment are described in Section 4.5. It should be recognized, however, that source reduction and engineering controls are generally more effective means of exposure control.
Good personal hygiene practices are essential to minimize hazardous chemical exposure and potential injury from other hazardous conditions, such as broken glass, in the laboratory.
Keeping the laboratory work area organized and clean is important to safe handling of hazardous chemicals. Only the equipment and chemicals necessary for the particular procedure being performed should be in the work area. This is particularly important when working in a fume hood as storage of numerous containers or pieces of equipment can severely diminish the effectiveness of the hood. If several people are working in the same laboratory, requirements for space and hood access should be discussed and work areas agreed upon.
Floors and surfaces should be kept clean and spills cleaned up immediately as described in Section 2. The entire work area should be cleaned at the end of each day.
When a lab project is completed, will cease to be active for a period of time, or the faculty member or student leaves Hampshire College, clean-up must be done by the faculty member and student, and approved by the Lab Manager. Clean up includes:
These procedures are intended to reduce the number of unidentified and unwanted hazardous materials and wastes in the laboratory, thereby reducing disposal costs, and providing a clean and safe lab for work.
The Lab Manager inspects for proper clean-up and handling of hazardous materials, and will notify the Dean of Natural Science if proper clean-up, disposal and decontamination procedures have been followed, and that the faculty and her/his student have fulfilled responsibilities for cleanup. Clean-up becomes the responsibility of the faculty member if not completed by the student.
Any problems resulting from improper management or clean up of hazardous materials at close-out will be addressed by the Dean of Natural Science, and if necessary, the Dean of Faculty or Dean of Students.
Pets are not allowed in the laboratory.
Avoid leaving operations unattended. When it is necessary to leave an experiment unattended, provide for containment of hazardous chemicals in the event of equipment failure. Additionally, leave the lights on and place a warning sign on the door if, in the event of an emergency, there exists a hazard to persons entering the room.
The OSHA Laboratory Standard defines a "hazardous chemical" as one that exhibits physical or health hazards.
"Physical Hazard" - a chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric, unstable (reactive) or water reactive.
"Health Hazard" - a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur...includes...carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic (blood) system, and agents which damage the lung, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.
Determining the hazard of a chemical is the responsibility of the manufacturer of the chemical. Information on the hazards of a particular chemical can be found on the label, the manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and in reference publications listed in the Bibliography.
Safety Data Sheets received from the manufacturer are available to all users of the CSC.
SDS contain detailed chemical information including:
SDS for CSC materials are located in an on-line library available through a link on The Hub. A fact sheet on how to read a SDS is included in Appendix 4-A.
There are several systems for categorizing the severity of chemical hazards. It is important to recognize the similarities and differences of those system. Two common systems, the Global Harmonization System (required on SDS) and National Fire Protection Association Hazard Identification System, are described in Appendix 4-B.
All chemicals must be included in the CSC chemical inventory. When a new chemical is received it must be tagged and entered into the inventory by the faculty member or Lab Manager. When containers are emptied or the chemical disposed of, the date must be entered into the inventory. When chemicals are moved from one storage location to another, the location on the inventory must be updated. Chemicals taken from a storage area for temporary use in the laboratory do not need to have the location changed.
A bottle carrier or cart must be used when moving any quantity of an acute toxin and 1 liter or greater containers of flammables or concentrated acids or bases from the stockroom to the laboratory or between laboratories. The use of a bottle carrier or cart is recommended when moving other chemicals from the stockroom to the laboratory and between laboratories.
All shipments of hazardous materials (e.g. chemicals, biological materials) from Hampshire College to other locations must comply with all Department of Transportation (DOT) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements. The Laboratory Manager must notify the Chemical Hygiene Officer prior to shipping chemicals and hazardous materials. All chemical and hazardous materials shipments must be approved to ensure that materials are packaged and labeled properly and that the proper documentation accompanies the shipment. The Laboratory Manager is responsible for forwarding all records pertaining to shipments to the Chemical Hygiene Officer.
Protective equipment must be worn to guard against injury from routine or accidental events. Each faculty or supervising staff member is responsible for choosing appropriate protective equipment for his or her staff and students. The following personal protective equipment is available for persons working in the laboratory. Know what equipment is necessary for your work.
The hazards of each laboratory operation must be identified and the approved eyewear worn. Eye protection meeting ANSI Standard Z87.1, as summarized in Table 4-1 below, is the minimum level of eye protection required.
Table 4-1 - Summary of ANSI Z87.1-98
|IMPACT: flying objects, fragments, particles||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|HEAT: hot sparks||1,2,3.4,5,6|
|HEAT: high temperature||1,2,3,5,6|
|CHEMICAL: splash||3,4, or 5(with 3 or 4)|
|CHEMICAL: irritating mists||4|
|DUSTS: airborne particles||3,4,6|
|IR/UV RADIATION: welding, soldering, brazing, cutting||Refer to ANSI Z87.1-89|
|1. Safety spectacles, with side shields
2. Goggles, flexible fit, regular ventilation
3. Goggles, flexible fit, hooded ventilation
|4. Goggles, rigid body, cushioned fit
5. Face shield, plastic window
6. Chipping goggles, eyecup type
Wearing contact lenses is highly discouraged when working with or near chemicals, particularly solvents.
To protect students, faculty, staff, and visitors from chemical eye hazards, the following operations require chemical splash goggles. When these operations are conducted in a fume hood with the sash lowered, safety glasses are acceptable.
Goggles must be worn by the person whose activity causes the hazard and by adjacent individuals. Faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and visitors working with students who are required to wear splash goggles must also wear splash goggles. Faculty are responsible for identifying any additional operations in their laboratories which pose a splash hazard and therefore require splash goggles.
Chemical splash goggles are available in boxes marked "goggles" located throughout the lab areas. These goggles meet the American National Standards Institute Z87.1 standards (1998). Face shields are also available for additional protection; chemical splash goggles must be worn under face shields.
The following operations require the use of safety glasses or splash goggles.
The need to wear gloves, and selection of the appropriate gloves, depends on the hazard of the chemical, the potential for contamination during the experiment, and dexterity requirements. It is the responsibility of the faculty to choose the appropriate gloves for their staff and students.
Proper glove selection is a function of the specific chemical resistance of the material as measured by permeation rate and breakthrough time. Disposable latex gloves have limited resistance to most commonly used laboratory hazardous chemicals. They should not be used without investigating their resistance to the chemicals being used, or in operations where contamination is anticipated. When contaminated they must be removed immediately and the hands washed. Use of latex gloves also poses a risk of serious allergic symptoms in sensitive individuals and of other individuals developing a latex allergy.
More resistant gloves include natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, butyl, Viton, and polyvinyl chloride. Nitrile gloves are available in the stockroom; other gloves should be ordered as needed.
Recommendations of the glove manufacturer and the material safety data sheet for the particular hazardous chemical should be used in choosing the appropriate glove.
The purpose of protective clothing is to prevent contamination of the skin and to prevent the carrying of contaminants outside the laboratory. Street clothes may afford limited skin protection but may result in contaminants being carried outside the laboratory. Bulky or dangling attire and easily combustible clothing should not be worn in lab.
Protective Clothing: The use of a lab coat is strongly recommended in all laboratories. Lab coats must be worn in the laboratory when handling:
Lab coats are available from the lab manager. A soiled or contaminated lab coat should be placed in a plastic bag and exchanged for a clean one; contact the lab manager.
All protective clothing should be removed before leaving the lab area to keep potential contamination restricted to the lab area.
Additional specialized protective clothing should also be used in certain high hazard operations: for example, when using hydrofluoric acid (see Section 5.2.4). Again, it is the responsibility of the faculty to choose the appropriate protective equipment for their staff and students.
Protective Footwear: Shoes must be worn at all times in Cole Science Center. When working with hazardous chemical or biological materials, or moving heavy objects, closed-toe shoes must be worn. Sandals or perforated shoes are not acceptable, as feet are not protected from spills or falling objects.
There are several different types of hoods in Cole Science Center. Each of these is discussed briefly below. The appropriate hood must be used. Use of the wrong type of hood could increase the potential hazard. All hoods are tested annually to verify proper performance.
These hoods, which are designed to protect the user, are appropriate for working with flammables, acids, bases and organic solvents; they should be operated with the sash lowered to the indicated point (red arrow). Working with the sash lowered to this point creates the necessary draw (air flow into the hood), and adds protection from splashes or explosion.
1. Before using a fume hood observe the following precautions.
2. When using a fume hood observe the following precautions.
Laminar Flow hoods are used to protect microbiological work from contamination; they contain no UV lamp source. These are also called clean benches, and are used for work with non-hazardous materials when very clean environments are needed for high purity work. The operator sits downstream of the materials and airflow; therefore, toxic, infectious and hazardous materials should never be used in laminar flow hoods.
Biological safety cabinets (a.k.a. tissue culture hoods) are used for hazardous microbiological work such as work with pathogens; they are designed to protect the person, the product and the environment for operations requiring Biosafety Level 1 and 2, such as tissue culture analysis and bacteriological or virological applications. These hoods contain an ultraviolet lamp source and HEPA filters which are 99.9% efficient for particles of size
These types of hoods do not protect the user from hazardous vapors. At this time, Hampshire does not have a hood that provides protection from chemical vapors while providing a sterile hood environment.
The voltage and current used in laboratories are potentially lethal. The Lab Manager should be notified if unsafe electrical situations exist (e.g., wires are strung across pathways, frayed wires are found, grounding plugs have been removed), or if equipment malfunctions.
Instruments are serviced regularly following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Instruments that are out of service should be “locked-out”. Lockout prevents equipment from being turned on or operated while it is being repaired or inspected; equipment cannot be restarted until repairs are complete and the lockout removed. Only trained individuals should perform equipment repair or modification.
Electrophoresis is a lab technique that presents a potential hazard as the user manipulates wires with high voltage. When working with electrophoresis, the following precautions must always be followed:
The use of stationary machine tools and powered hand tools is subject to the following requirements.