Safety Guidelines

Students in teaching laboratories should be aware that there are risks of personal injury through accidents, e.g. fire or explosion, exposure to bio-hazardous materials, corrosive chemicals, fumes, and cuts. These guidelines are meant to minimize the risk of injury by emphasizing safety precautions and to clarify emergency procedures in the event of an accident.

Emergency Equipment

Make sure you know where to find, and how to use the

  • Closest emergency exit
  • Closest emergency telephone and emergency phone #s
  • Closest fire alarm and pull station
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Safety shower
  • Eyewash
  • First aid kit

General safety regulations

  • Eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited in all laboratories.
  • Do not bring backpacks or coats or other bulky items into the lab; only bring the things you will need. The labs get very congested and these items are tripping hazards. Do not hang coats over the back of your chairs. Lockers and locks are provided for storing these items during lab time.
  • Always wash your hands prior to leaving the laboratory.
  • Laboratory coats and safety glasses are required for all laboratories, unless otherwise indicated by your instructor.
  • Students are not allowed to work in a laboratory unless a lab instructor is present.
  • Before starting an experiment, establish a plan of action and list of required materials. Compile all materials before starting. Confusion can cause accidents.
  • Report equipment problems to the instructor immediately.
  • Report all spills to the lab instructor immediately.
  • Report any injuries immediately to your lab instructor.
  • Long hair must be tied back to keep from being caught in equipment, Bunsen burners, chemicals, etc.
  • It is recommended that contact lenses not be worn in laboratories.
  • Enthusiasm is encouraged but pranks and horseplay can be hazardous.


Minor SOLUTION/CHEMICAL spill: Put on gloves and wipe up the spill with paper towels as indicated by the lab instructor.

Major ACID/BASE/TOXIN spill: Immediately contact your lab instructor. DO NOT TOUCH!

Blood/Bacterial/Fungal/Virus spill: Immediately tell your lab instructor and the students around the spill area. If necessary remove any contaminated protective and personal clothing. Prevent anyone from going near the spill. The lab instructor must supervise the clean up.

Disposal of wastes

Some wastes produced by laboratories cannot be disposed of in the sink or regular garbage cans. Please pay close attention to the following procedures.

  • Sharps: needles, scalpels, syringes, razor blades and other sharp items are place in a special sharps container.
  • Glassware: clean lab glassware, broken glass, Pasteur pipettes are disposed of in the glass disposal bucket, near the entrance to the lab.
  • Petri plates: containing any microbial growth: Place in biohazard waste bucket.
  • Bacterial or fungal liquid: Place tubes and flasks in marked trays for autoclaving.
  • Liquid or solid chemicals: Place in disposal containers as indicated by the lab instructor.
  • If you are uncertain, please ask your lab instructor.

Health concerns


Students who have allergies (chemical, plant, animal or antibiotic) that may relevant to any laboratory exercise in this course should inform the laboratory coordinator. If the student should not be present during the experiment, a doctor’s note will be required.


Some chemicals used in laboratory teaching may cause fetal deformities. If you are pregnant, please inform your lab instructor so that the appropriate precautions are taken.

Other health concerns

Please speak to your laboratory instructor about any specific concerns as soon as possible.

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