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

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. 

Work with Recombinant & Synthetic Nucleic Acids


The purpose of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Ac

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 should be considered when working in a laboratory or in the field. Follow ANSI and OSHA regulations to ensure proper 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 this webpage for more information. 


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


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 for three reasons:

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