Environmental Health and Safety

Avoid the 12 most common laboratory safety problems

close-up of beaker
  1. Eyewashes should be flushed weekly and documented on eyewash tags.
  2. Label chemical waste with specific contents. Keep waste tag attached to the container at all times.
  3. Maintain labels on chemical containers received from manufacturers and label secondary containers. Replace old and deteriorated labels.
  4. Segregate chemicals properly using the EHS lab safety manual. Store acids in an acid cabinet or in a plastic container (tub). Store nitric acid separately.
  5. Dispose of unwanted chemicals through the EHS waste disposal program.
  6. Keep chemical waste containers closed (do not forget to remove the funnel).
  7. Chemical fume hood sashes should be kept closed whenever possible. Maintain the minimum possible opening when working. Limit storage in hoods to essential items only.
  8. Do not store or consume food or drinks in labs where hazardous materials are present.
  9. Secure gas cylinders properly and keep safety caps on cylinders when not in use.
  10. Do not wear shorts or open-toed shoes (e.g. sandals) in labs. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working in labs where hazardous materials are present.
  11. Have appropriate spill supplies available and follow response procedures.
  12. Remove clutter and practice good housekeeping. Keep exits and aisles clear. Eliminate extension cords and power strips in series.