Laboratory Equipment Safety


All laboratories operate lab equipment that are inherently hazardous.  Equipment hazards include high heat, pressurized vessels, extreme cold temperatures, and electrical elements.  Some general precautions need to be taken when working with these devices.  Consider the following:

  • Laboratory equipment should be undergo routine maintenance to ensure equipment is operating as designed and safely. 
  • Researchers should routinely clean and maintain equipment according to the manufacturers recommendations.  Please consult your equipment manual for recommended cleaning and maintenance schedules.
  • Any equipment that is damaged or worn must be tagged or locked out of usage until repairs can be made or discarded.  Damage may include exposed heating element, frayed or damaged electrical cords, damaged or missing seal on door, or cracked glass.
  • All users must be trained to operate each piece of equipment in the lab.  Training on specialized equipment should be documented in your Lab Safety Notebook.

Newer equipment may be purchased with fail-safe or interlock devices that can prevent fires, explosions, or exposure to the hazard.  Below are some guides to safe use of specific laboratory equipment.

Ovens, Dryers, and Washers
Hot plates
Centrifuges (**NEW**)
Laboratory Freezers (**NEW**)
Electrically Powered Equipment (coming soon)
Water Cooled Equipment (**NEW**)
High and Low Pressure and Temperature systems (**NEW**)
Heat Blocks (pdf document from St. Andrews Chemistry Teaching Laboratories, St. Andrews, UK)

For more information on Working with Laboratory Equipment please visit the online version of Prudent Practices in the Laboratory:Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards.


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