Environmental Health and Safety

Laboratory Safety Manual - 2011

Introduction

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is committed to maintaining the safest possible laboratories. We encourage faculty and researchers to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of everyone — staff, students, visitors and the general public. In other words, we want to keep you and those around you safe.

Laboratory operations can be dangerous whether you are working with hazardous materials or equipment or just performing common laboratory procedures. Every day there are incidents in teaching and research laboratories on university campuses across the U.S. Although many accidents are minor, there are also serious cases, including fatalities.  Every year, UT  Austin has multiple incidents in our laboratories. Our goal is to reduce that number and reduce accidental injuries.

This Laboratory Safety Manual has been prepared specifically for UT Austin by Environmental Health and Safety in collaboration with the faculty Research Safety Advisory Committee.  The manual promotes safe and practical laboratory procedures. We have included information on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the use and storage of chemicals, hazard communication and the proper methods of waste disposal.  This manual also covers emergency procedures and incident response should something go wrong.

It is important to recognize that this manual does not cover all the risks and hazards in every laboratory. There are a wide variety of hazardous materials handled in laboratories at UT Austin.  Faculty and researchers know the most about the unique hazards in their laboratory.  It is expected that the Principal Investigator will append any supplementary safety information to this manual pertinent to their specific laboratory.

Note: This manual is also available as a downloadable PDF file: