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

Chemical Storage Cabinets

All chemical storage cabinets should be clearly labeled to identify the hazards inside (e.g. “Flammables,” “Corrosives,” or “Oxidizers.”).  Signs and labels for this purpose are available from Environmental Health and Safety at

Special Hazard Areas

High hazard areas in the laboratory, such as ethidium bromide or acrylamide work stations, high voltage areas, and human material work stations, should be labeled. Signs for this purpose are available from Environmental Health and Safety at

Secondary containers

A secondary container is a catch basin or bin that can contain drips and spills of the chemicals stored inside of it.

Chemical containers

All chemical containers should be labeled with full chemical names, hazards, dates and initials:

New Equipment Installations and Building Modifications

Review new equipment installations and building modifications to ensure compliance with appropriate building codes.

Chemical Fume Hoods

Reminder: Please do not leave loose items such as kimwipes, paper towels, aluminum foil in chemical fume hoods.  These materials can easily get loose and fly into the rear baffles of the hood. This, in turn, disrupt the proper airflow inside the ducts. If you have something get loose, contact Physical Plant personnel to help you remove it. 

Chemical fume hoods are the primary engineering control available to laboratory workers.

Identify and Implement Controls General Overview

1.) First, identify and use administrative controls: Administrative controls are procedures used to control and minimize exposure to chemicals. Substitute a non-hazardous or less hazardous chemical for a more hazardous chemical. Alter your procedure so that smaller quantities may be used or so that the flow of work can be made safer. 

Identify Risks and Hazards General Guidelines

General Guidelines:

  • Use these sources of information about hazardous substances:

              1. Find a Material Safety Data Sheet or Safety Data Sheet

Key Safety Questions

These are examples of some key safety questions for lab workers.

1.) Planning for laboratory work:

What are . . .

Biological Safety Cabinets FAQs

1. I need to treat my cell culture plates with volatile chemicals. Should I use a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) or a Fume Hood (FH) to do my work? - A Fume Hood will not protect your cells from contamination, and therefore, should not be used if you require aseptic conditions for your work (e.g., if you need to pass cells or continue an experiment in which cells must be placed back in the incubator). You could use the Fume Hood for a terminal procedure, such as RNA isolation with Trizol.

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