Spill Clean-Up and Housekeeping

Below are guidelines for keeping your lab clean and properly maintained. It's important to be meticulous and thorough when cleaning and maintaining the laboratory. Even little things that may not seem significant can create a serious hazard, leading to accident or injury.   




Food and Drink

  • NO food or drink may be stored or consumed in the laboratory if hazardous chemicals or infectious agents are present.


  • Food should be consumed in a clean area separated from the laboratory space by walls and doors. Environmental Health and Safety strongly discourages marking off a portion of the laboratory as a “clean area” where food is allowed.


  • Be sure to wash your hands before leaving the lab and before consuming food or drink.



Please keep all chemical containers and work surfaces free of any evidence of chemical splashes or residue. This helps prevent accidental exposure to hazardous chemicals. Please also review the Chemical Spill Kit information.



Clutter is an identified fire hazard on campus. It can:

  • Impede egress during an emergency
  • Hamper the ability to react to an emergency
  • Increase the amount of contaminated material in a spill.


Please ensure your labs and work areas are free of clutter at all times.


Trip & Slip Hazards

Nearly half of UVM’s reported injuries involve a slip, trip or fall.  Please follow these guidelines to help prevent injuries: 

  • Wear full-coverage shoes that are appropriate to the work to be performed at all times.
  • Get rid of wet or oily floor surfaces.
  • Keep clutter off the floor.
  • If you must use an extension cord for any length of time, consider having a permanent outlet installed instead by submitting a work order to the Physical Plant Department.


Plumbing Drain Traps

When standing water evaporates from a sink drain trap (the u-shaped pipe under a sink), sewer gases may flow up the pipe and into a room.  If a sink is used regularly, this will not be a concern.  If a sink is not frequently used, pour a gallon of water down the drain monthly or when you smell any gases entering the lab.


Shared Labs

Shared laboratory spaces are to be kept clean, organized and labeled by users.  Please observe the following guidelines when sharing laboratory space, particularly cold rooms, with others.

  • Clean up contamination and clutter as it occurs.


  • Return all chemicals to their proper storage places.


  • Label all equipment with the Lab Supervisor’s name.


  • Make sure there is a completed Emergency Contact sticker posted outside the door.


  • DO NOT use cold rooms to store food or party supplies such as cakes, vegetable platters, alcohol, flowers or any other food or non-laboratory items.  (Yes, these items have been found in UVM cold rooms.)