Appendix E: Best Practices in Laboratory Safety Management

Appendix E: Best Practices in Laboratory Safety Management

Annual Department Safety Orientation and Quiz (top)

Chemical Engineering has instituted very effective safety orientation programs. It includes a presentation by the Chemical Hygiene Officer, Public Safet and EHS about safety in their department, where to find information, emergency procedures, etc. This is followed by a quiz that tests the knowledge of the information presented.

Safety Resource Centers (top)

Chemical Engineering, PRISM, Electrical Engineering and CEE have established safety resource areas. In Chemical Engineering, this involves a safety information bulletin board and an area of the lounge. In CEE, it includes a locked cabinet, with keys posted in each laboratory. In Electrical Engineering, it includes a shelving unit. These areas include material safety data sheet collections, Chemical Hygiene Plans, other safety publications, forms, waste stickers, spill control materials and more.

Professor Sherer in CEE has also established a safety drawer for each laboratory. This drawer holds extra safety glasses, gloves, a flash light and other safety equipment.

Departmental Safety Committees

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, MAE, Physics, and CEE have effective safety committees that include faculty, staff and graduate students. EEB is beginning such a committee this year. Molecular Biology has an organization of laboratory managers that meet regularly and discuss safety issues along with other agenda items.

Graduate Student Training

The School of Engineering, Molecular Biology, Chemistry and Physics have established training programs for incoming graduate students. For Chemistry and Molecular Biology, training is given as part of the orientation during the first weeks of school, before classes begin. For SEAS, training is given as a series of one hour seminars during lunch time. Beginning this year, virtually all departments will offer department-specific laboratory safety training, given by EHS, every fall.

Undergraduate Safety Training

Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Chemical Engineering have established training programs for undergraduates. All are conducted as part of the core laboratory and are considered part of the curriculum. MAE has suggested mandatory training for all SEAS undergrads.

Professor Royce in MAE developed a computer-based laboratory notebook with safety considerations and procedures for use by undergraduates in his laboratory.

Orientation of New Faculty and Staff

The Department Safety Manager in Molecular Biology meets with all new personnel to give them the keys to their laboratory and other assigned areas. During that time, he reviews safety policies and explains where to find additional resources for health and safety issues.

Molecular Biology has an orientation program for new lab managers. Part of the orientation includes an explanation of the various safety programs and the lab manager's responsibility for safety in the laboratory.

Laboratory Checkout Procedures

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and CEE have established checkout procedures for departing faculty, staff and students. This program is meant to ensure that all chemicals are labeled and wastes removed before a person leaves the university.

Safety Information Postings

  • Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and CEE have safety information bulletin boards outside the main office.
  • Physics posts safety information in the elevators.
  • Chemical Engineering developed an emergency information and evaluation poster that is placed inside the door to each laboratory area.
  • Professor Hecht's laboratory in Chemistry has waste procedures posted in the laboratory.
  • Professor Shenks' laboratory has outstanding signage posted to aid in properly labeling chemical waste containers. This includes a poster with samples of correctly completed labels for its regular waste streams.
  • Chemistry has specially made holders for Emergency Information Posters outside each laboratory and chemical storage area.
  • MAE machine shop and SEAS machine shop post Shop Rules
  • CEE has MSDS holders outside the entrance to each laboratory.
  • EEB posts an EHS directory, established by EEB from information on the EHS web page, posted in each laboratory.

Performance Appraisals (top)

Psychology and Physics include safety as part of their performance appraisals.

Safety Policies (top)

The School of Engineering has an extensive safety policy that is distributed to all personnel each fall, along with a letter from the Associate Dean explaining that everyone is expected to read, understand and comply with the policy.

Laboratory Inspections

In addition to the limited laboratory inspections conducted annually by EHS technical staff, all SEAS departments conduct their own internal inspections at least annually. Chemical Engineering involves their safety committee.

Laboratory Practices (top)

  • Professor Sherer's (CEE) laboratory serves as an excellent example for proper chemical segregation and storage.
  • The laboratories in PRISM using highly toxic gases have excellent gas cabinets and specialized monitoring systems.
  • The clean rooms in PRISM and Electrical Engineering are well designed.
  • Physics has an effective program in place for regular inspection of hoisting and rigging equipment.
  • The Molecular Biology 214 lab instructors have modified laboratory procedures to significantly reduce the use of hazardous materials and production of hazardous waste. The use of acrylamide has been completely eliminated.
  • The SEAS machine shop emphasizes and enforces the use of personal protective equipment by keeping a supply of safety glasses at the entrance and by having several safety glasses cleaning stations set up around the shop.

Laser Laboratory Practices (top)

  • Professor Prucnal's laboratory in Electrical Engineering uses fiber optics to enclose the laser beam and still be able to direct the beam however needed.
  • Professor Austin's laser facility in Physics is well designed, labeled and posted with operating procedures.
  • Professor Scoles developed a simple means for storing tools off the laser table, out of the way of the laser beam.


Appendix D: Health and Safety Design Considerations for Laboratories »