On this page, you will find information regarding the most important safety aspects you will need to be familiar with when doing basic Chemistry work.
The document that contains ALL the safety norms and regulations whether you are simply doing a chemistry experiment, using radioactive materials or conducting research on human subjects is the Chemical Hygiene Plan. You will find a link to the document in the Chemical Safety (side navigation menu) page.
BEFORE STARTING ANY LAB WORK
You will need to get acquainted with all the safety aspects of the lab space you will be using and the lab procedures/chemicals you will be working with. To get you started carefully review the material presented here. You will also have to attend a series of training sessions.
- If you are doing chemistry within a regular academic course, you will receive a lab space safety training session by your lab instructor on the first day of lab.
- If you are doing chemistry under Special Studies, Honors, or SURF you will have to attend a a mandatory General Lab Safety seminar presented by Dr. Margaret Rakas, our Lab Safety & Compliance Director, here at the Clark Science Center. You will receive a general email at the beginning of the semester with the date/time (usually less than an hour’s worth) for the next available seminar. This seminar is on top of the lab space safety training session given by your research supervisor.
You may not do any work inside a lab space until you have received safety training
(Note: If your project does not entail wet chemistry right away, you may get started before).
COME TO LAB WITH THE PROPER MINDSET
Watch this American Chemical Society (ACS) video to learn more about how to approach safety in lab.
LEARN PROPER LAB SAFETY
Under normal circumstances and especially important under the current pandemic condition (see College’s current operation mode here), there are four general Laboratory Safety components that you must address when working in the lab:
- The standard use of PPE to protect against chemical hazards
- The use of SDSs and the GHS to identify chemical hazards
- The use of standard laboratory safety equipment to counteract hazards
- Additional COVID-19 Safety measures (depending on the current mode of operation)
Standard use of PPE to protect against chemical hazards
Always wear reasonable clothing. Apparel, including footwear, should adequately protect your skin from chemical spills. No open-toed shoes (sandals) or ballet flats are allowed in the lab. You will be assigned a lab coat that you MUST wear at all times. In addition, long hair should always be tied back.
You will also be assigned a pair of safety glasses that you MUST wear at all times unless sitting at your desk. For some experiments with serious spill hazards, you will be required to switch your safety glasses for safety goggles. Safety Goggles are face fitting and will better protect your eyes.
Gloves are to be worn whenever handling chemicals or biological samples. Most of the time you will use nitrile, disposable gloved. You should know that depending on the chemical or biological hazard your instructor/advisor might require you use a different glove material. Check the Chemical Safety page (side navigation menu) if you are curious to see all the different types.
Watch this video to learn more about how to dress for the lab and wear eye protection.
All the previous measures require knowledge regarding Chemical Hazard Identification: