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

Chemical Hazards

Identifying the Chemical Hazards

The hazard associated with a chemical depends on:

  • what the specific chemical is
  • what chemical(s) it is mixed with, if any, and
  • the relative proportion of the chemical, if it is in a mixture or solution.

Always consider not only what the chemical is, but what concentration you are using when evaluating the hazard.  This is important when reviewing chemical safety reference information such as technical data sheet or Safety Data Sheet (SDS). 

Head Protection

Head Protection

When working with any moving parts or open flames, long hair must be pulled back. Pulling back long hair will also help to protect against exposure to hazardous materials. Do not tough your face or hair while wearing lab gloves.


Anesthetic Gas Use

Halogenated anesthetics, such as isoflurane, are used as an animal anesthetic. These anesthetics are effected for the most part free of adverse effects on the animals to which they are administered. 

Laboratory Microwave Ovens

Household appliances are not designed to withstand the hazardous materials utilized in a lab nor the processes in which they are utilized. Household microwaves should not be used in a laboratory.

Microwave ovens are used for heating and defrosting in laboratories. However, improper use of a microwave can pose a number of hazards including:

Hot Plate Safety

Read the recent survey conducted about the hazards of hotplates.

This survey collected information from research institutions that have experienced electrical and electronic hot plate malfunctions that may or may not have resulted in equipment and facility damages. 

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.


Bare feet, sandals, and open-toed shoes are not permitted while working in any UVM laboratory because there is often the potential for an exposure to hazardous materials and physical hazards. 

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

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