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

Nonhazardous liquids & Hazardous solids

If nonhazardous liquids and hazardous solids are stored together, liquid chemicals must be kept in secondary containers.  This helps prevent potentially incompatible chemicals from accidentally mixing.

Refrigerated Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids that require refrigeration must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer esepcially designed to prevent flammable vapors from igniting.

When storing flammable liquids, please observe the following guidelines:

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:

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 . . .

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