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

Biological Safety Cabinets


Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) are primary containment devices utilized in laboratories for the handling of biohazardous agents. They are routinely used for a wide variety of applications, such as human and animal tissue culture, bacterial and viral work, transfection or infection of cells with recombinant DNA (rDNA), clinical sample manipulation, and animal care (some examples pictured).

Permissible Exposure Limits

Our Laboratory Safety Plan is intended to limit laboratory workers' exposure to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)-regulated substances.

The plan sets a threshold for exposure: lab workers must not be exposed to substances in excess of the permissible exposure limits (PEL) specified in OSHA rule 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances or threshold limits values set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

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


Never 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 will disrupt proper airflow inside the ducts. If you have materials like this get sucked up in the baffle, contact Physical Plant Department (PPD) to help you remove it. 

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. 

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