Lab

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

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 Conservation

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

Hearing loss is often ignored because it can happen gradually over a period of time. OSHA requires a hearing conservation program to be in place when workers are exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels (dB) and above. Anyone exposed to excessive noise must wear hearing protection, such as ear plugs or ear muffs.

Lab Coats and Skin Protection

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.  

A lab coat provides a protective layer and can be easily removed if contaminated or in the event of a lab accident. Reusable lab coats should be cleaned regularly.

Eye and Face Protection

Eye and face protection is required whenever there is a risk of injury to the eye or face.

It should be worn to protect from:

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

 

Hand Protection

Choosing the appropriate hand protection is an important decision in a laboratory setting. Protective gloves should be worn when handling:

  • hazardous or infectious materials
  • laboratory animals (puncture-resistant gloves may also be required for handling more aggressive animals)
  • chemicals of unknown toxicity
  • corrosive materials
  • rough or sharp-edged objects
  • 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:

Dry Ice Safety

Hazards of Dry Ice

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It is non-combustible and is available in flakes, pellets, or block form. Dry ice will sublime (vaporizes directly to the gas state) at a temperature of -78.5 C (-109.3 F) or higher.

Dry ice is commonly used to cool reactions or to ship biological specimens.

dry ice safety

Dry ice is considered hazardous three reasons:

Guide to Shipping with Dry Ice

The following information outlines the procedures to ship materials by aircraft or water that contain ONLY dry ice and non-hazardous materials. If you are shipping chemicals, solutions containing chemicals, or biohazardous materials this training DOES NOT APPLY.

For chemical, biological, or radioactive material shipments, please contact Risk Management & Safety for assistance.

Safe Handling of Glassware

Laboratory glassware is specifically designed for scientific work.  However, by design it is also fragile and can easily break and cause injuries in the process.  There have been many lab accidents at UVM involving the handling of glassware in the lab.

laboratory glassware

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