Laboratory Safety Guidelines

  1. Be familiar with your departmental safety committee and its members.
  2. Discuss your safety concerns with your supervisor or seek advice from the safety committee which meets regularly to discuss problems and seek solutions.
  3. Report all accidents or near misses to your supervisor and complete the UNB Accident Report Form.
  4. Encourage students and fellow staff members to develop a concern for their own safety and that of others.
  5. Evaluate work for specific hazards and for minimizing the risk of injury.
  6. Provide incentive to students and staff for safety performance.
  7. Read the appropriate safety manuals. Students must be familiar with the laboratory's safety rules, staff with the UNB Safety Handbook, users of radioactive materials with the UNB Radiation Safety Manual.
  8. Conduct periodic laboratory inspections to identify and correct hazardous conditions and unsafe practices.
  9. Take opportunity to discuss the results of inspections and aspects of laboratory safety with staff and students.
  10. Make learning how to be safe an integral and important part of the science education process.
  11. Include in every pre-lab discussion consider-ations for environmental health and safety.
  12. Do not work alone in any laboratory without prior knowledge of your supervisor or advising the Security Department.
  13. Do not run experiments unattended unless they are fail-safe.
  14. When conducting experiments with hazards or potential hazards, ask yourself these questions:
    • "What are the hazards?"
    • "What are the worst possible things that could go wrong?"
    • "How will I deal with them?"
    • "What are the prudent practices, protective facilities and equipment necessary to minimize the risk of exposure to the hazards?"
  15. Review accidents in-house to avoid re-occurrence
  16. Store only minimum amounts of flammable liquids in each laboratory. Maximize container size 5 L.; maximum volume 50 L.
  17. Do not pipette by mouth.
  18. Do not smoke, eat, or drink in the laboratory.
  19. Do not store food in chemical refrigerators.
  20. Be familiar with procedures for such dangers as fire, explosion, poisoning, chemical spill, vapor release or personal contamination.
  21. Read the 'IN CASE OF FIRE' poster next to every pull station and posted prominently on bulletin boards in departments.
  22. Store acids and bases separately. Store fuels and oxidizers separately.
  23. Maintain a chemical inventory to avoid purchasing unnecessary quantities of chemicals.
  24. Use warning signs to designate particular hazards.
  25. Maintain good housekeeping practices in all working areas.
  26. Develop specific work practices for individual experiments, such as those that should be conducted only in a fume hood or involve especially hazardous chemicals.
  27. Acquire appropriate safety equipment (spills, PPE, fire).
  28. Use safety glasses and lab coats in all laboratories.
  29. Use appropriate personal protective equipment - goggles, face shields, gloves, lab coats, and bench top shields. Many hazardous experiments should be done in a fume hood.
  30. Be familiar with the location of fire extinguishers, safety showers, eye-wash facilities and fume hoods in each laboratory.
  31. Access safety resources (department safety library, main library, Internet or supervisor).
  32. Provide guards on all vacuum pumps and secure all compressed gas cylinders.
  33. Be familiar with the location of the nearest First Aid kit and the F.A. trained staff in your area.
  34. Ensure MSDS are readily available for all chemicals in use.
  35. Require ground plugs on all electrical equipment. Ensure electrical cords are not damaged.
  36. Label all chemicals to show nature and degree of hazard (WHMIS, TDG).
  37. Date chemicals when purchased and discard after predetermined maximum periods of storage.
  38. Follow procedures for the safe and environmentally acceptable disposal of lab wastes (paper, glass, sharps, chemical, radioactive, biological).
  39. Store flammable chemicals in fire-rated facilities. Most departments have fire-rated central storage rooms and/or flammable storage cabinets in labs, where required.
  40. Store odoriferous chemicals in a well ventilated area but do not clutter fume hood with chemicals.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Please see WHMIS on the Hazardous Materials page.