Lab

Content that belongs in Safety in Laboratories section (safety/lab)

Ovens, Dryers, and Washers

Laboratory dryers, ovens, and washers are used for the washing and drying of glassware and plastic and for removing water or other solvents from chemical samples.

 

Autoclave Safety

Autoclaves are common in research labs on campus and are used to sterilize glassware, lab instrumentation, and solutions. If you are using an autoclave to deactivate biohazardous waste, please contact UVM's Biosafety Officer.

While the controls for different brands of autoclaves may have their own unique characteristics for loading, load sizes, cycle types, and cycle settings, autoclave hazards remain the same.

Footwear

Bare feet, sandals, and open toed shoes are not permitted while working in any UVM laboratory where there is often the potential for an exposure to hazardous materials and physical hazards. Wear closed-toe shoes that provide protection from heavy objects falling or rolling on your toes or from an object piercing your feet from below. 

Shoes with open backs are allowed at the discretion of the lab supervisor.

Formaldehyde Program

This page, along with the referenced training course, constitute UVM's program to comply with OSHA's Formaldehyde standard at 29 CFR 1910.1048

Hearing Protection

The use of personal listening devices, such as ear buds, cannot take the place of hearing protection. Before using personal listening devices in the lab, visit our site for more information.

Hearing protection must be considered when working in a laboratory or in the field. Follow ANSI and OSHA regulations to ensure proper protection.

Respirators

Respirators are worn to protect the user from airborne hazards such as particulates (dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, smoke, sprays) and gases/vapors, when other [engineering controls] are not available.  The use of respirators is regulated by OSHA through the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). 

Skin Protection/Proper Clothing

To minimize exposure to hazardous materials, proper clothing and/or personal protective equipment (PPE) should provide reasonably complete coverage of the skin and clothing.  Best practices include wearing a knee-length, long-sleeved, elastic-cuffed laboratory coat while working with hazardous materials.  Remember: Closed-toe shoes are required at all times when working in a laboratory. 

Eye and Face Protection

Eye and face protection is required whenever there is a risk of injury to the eye or face. Eye and face protection can prevent accidental splashes of hazardous chemicals or a biological material.  It can also protect from:

  • accidental chemical or biological splashes
  • unexpected flying objects or particles (chips, shards) from someone nearby using a machine or hand tool
  • non-ioninzing radiation

Eye and face protection must meet the ANSI Standard Z87.1.

Hand Protection

Choosing the appropriate hand protection can be a challenge in a laboratory setting. Considering the fact that dermatitis or inflammation of the skin accounts for a high percentage of work-related diseases, selecting the right glove for the job is important.  Protective gloves should be worn when handling hazardous materials, chemicals of unknown toxicity, corrosive materials, rough or sharp-edged objects, and very hot or very cold materials.

Laboratory Equipment Safety

Introduction

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:

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