Laboratory Safety Guide

The Laboratory Safety Guide is a resource guide geared toward promoting safe use and disposal of hazardous materials as well as general safety and regulatory awareness. It is published by the Office of Chemical Safety and is a collection of valuable information.

Download the entire Lab Safety Guide or click on the links below to download the guide by chapter.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Your Safety Network
There are many campus safety professionals and resources to help you.

1.1 Notify Others of Safety Problems
1.2 Your Network of Safety Services
1.3 UW Safety Committees

Chapter 2. Understanding Chemical Hazards
In order to work safely in a laboratory, you must understand the hazards that are in the workplace. This chapter will provide you the foundation to build upon.

2.1 Physical Hazards of Chemicals
2.2 Health Hazards of Chemicals
2.3 Sources of Chemical Safety Information
2.4 Toxicology Overview
Annex 2-1. Glossary of Chemical Hazard Terms
Annex 2-2. Quick Guide to Hazardous Chemical Risk Assessment
Annex 2-3. Explanation of Material Safety Data Sheet Information
Annex 2-4. HMIS and NFPA Label Rating Systems

Chapter 3. Chemical and Environmental Safety Laws
Federal and state laws mandate safe use, storage and disposal of laboratory chemicals. This chapter will review some of these rules and their pertinent provisions.

3.1 Chemical Safety Laws
3.2 The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
3.3 Chemical Spill and Release Laws
3.4 Other Environmental Laws

Chapter 4. Laboratory Safety Procedures
Your laboratory can be a safer place if you follow safety procedures, use personal protective equipment, fume hoods and other engineering controls.

4.1 Overview of Safety Procedures
4.2 Chemical Storage and Management
4.3 Personal Protective Equipment
Chemical Resistance Glove Chart
4.4 Reducing your Exposure to Chemicals
4.5 Chemicals Requiring Special Precautions
4.6 Laboratory Equipment Hazards
Annex 4-1. Experimental Carcinogens and Mutagens

Chapter 5. Emergency Procedures
If you prepare for chemical emergencies, you will more safely respond to a laboratory injury, fire, spill or accident.

5.1 In an Emergency -- Notify
5.2 Prepare for Emergencies / Spills
5.3 Major (i.e., High Hazard) Emergencies
5.4 Skin Contamination and Injuries
5.5 Small or Simple Spills
5.6 Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Spills
5.7 Mercury Spills
Annex 5-1. Chemical Spill Cleanup Procedures & Response Supplies

Chapter 6. Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization
There are many ways that a laboratory can reduce its emissions to the atmosphere, prevent pollutants from entering the sewer and minimize its waste generation.

6.1 Pollution Prevention
6.2 Environmentally Sound Recycling
6.3 Minimize Waste
6.4 Reduce Environmental Risks
6.5 Manage Waste Efficiently

Chapter 7. Chemical Disposal Procedures
This chapter contains an alphabetical list of chemical disposal procedures. The back half of this part explains how to obtain on-site chemical waste disposal services from the Safety Department at no cost to you.

7.1 In-Lab Chemical Management
7.2 On-Site Hazardous Materials Management Service

Chapter 8. Laboratory Animals and Animal Tissue Disposal
Considerations for assuring that use of hazardous materials in animal research is done safely and procedures for disposal of animal waste, bedding, carcasses and tissue.

8.1 Laboratory Animal Safety
8.2 Safety Department Animal Tissue Disposal Service
8.3 Animal Wastes Not Processed by Safety
8.4 Caustic Tissue Digestion
8.4 Sanitary Sewer and Normal Trash
8.5 Plants used in Research and Teaching
Annex 8-1. Animal Tissue Disposal Flow Chart
Annex 8-2. Caustic Tissue Digestion Bags

Chapter 9. Bloodborne Pathogens, Sharps and Medical Waste
Bloodborne pathogens present an hazard to many types of workers. The Bloodborne Pathogens Program is designed to address and reduce the risk of injury. Because workers are at risk daily, sharps (e.g., needles, syringes, razor blades) and laboratory glass disposal requires precautions to prevent injuries to you, custodians and waste handlers.

9.1 Bloodborne Pathogens Program
9.2 Safe Handling of Human Blood and OPIM in Laboratories
9.3 Sharps and Laboratory Glass Disposal
9.3 Medical and other Regulated Sharps / Glass Disposal
Annex 9-1. Human Blood and OPIM Spill Cleanup Procedures
Annex 9-2. Sharps and Laboratory Glass Disposal

Appendix A. Disposal Procedures by Chemical
This is an alphabetical list of chemicals and their corresponding disposal procedures found in Chapter 7. If you don't find a chemical on this list, use the On-site Service described in Section 7.2 of Chapter 7.

Appendix B. OSHA Laboratory Standard
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rules require laboratories to use chemicals safely and prevent hazardous exposures to laboratory personnel.

B.1 Keep Exposures Below Permissible Limits
B.2 Write a Chemical Hygiene Plan
B.3 Inform and Train Laboratory Personnel
B.4 Provide for Medical Consultation / Examinations
B.5 Keep Chemical Labels Intact
B.6 Maintain Material Safety Data Sheets
B.7 Take Precautions with Respirators
B.8 Keep Safety Records
Annex B-1. Occupational Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
(29 CFR 1910.1450)

Appendix C. Chemical Hygiene Plan Template
The OSHA Laboratory Standard law requires that each laboratory have a Chemical Hygiene Plan. This appendix is a template that you can easily complete and generate a Chemical Hygiene Plan for you lab.

Annex C-1. Frequently Asked Questions about Chemical Hygiene Plans

Appendix D. Particularly Hazardous Substances
The OSHA Laboratory Standard law requires additional precautions for the use of particularly hazardous substances, which are listed in this appendix.

D.1 Select Carcinogens
D.2 Reproductive Toxins
D.3 Substances with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity
D.4 Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval Form
Annex D-1. Select Carcinogens (with footnote)
Annex D-1. Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval Form

Appendix E. Laboratory Safety Survey
Periodic laboratory safety surveys will help you maintain a safe laboratory. Use this checklist to review the safety status of you lab. Insure deficient areas are addressed during routine laboratory meetings.

Appendix F. Preventing Chemical Incompatibility Hazards
When combined, incompatible chemicals can generate a toxic gas, start a fire, or cause an explosion. Careful chemical storage is also important to prevent incompatibility problems in a fire.

F.1 Containment to Prevent Hazards
F.2 Safe Chemical Storage
F.3 Preventing Binary Mixture Hazards
F.4 Safe Procedures for Chemical Work
F.5 Strong Oxidizer-Reducer incompatibilities
F.6 Toxic Gas Generation
F.7 Water or Moist Air Incompatibilities

Appendix G. Training for Laboratory Personnel 
The OSHA Laboratory Standard law requires that laboratory personnel be trained and informed of chemical hazards. This appendix contains a training outline so that you can use this Guide to comply with OSHA’s training requirement.

G.1 New Laboratory Personnel
G.2 Persons Working with Particularly Hazardous Substances
G.3 Principle Investigators, Supervisors and Laboratory Managers
G.4 Chemical Hygiene Officer

Appendix H. EPA Hazardous Waste Law
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires the safe disposal of chemical hazardous waste. You will comply with the law by following the disposal procedures in Part G. This part further explains EPA’s law.

H.1 What is an EPA Hazardous Waste?
H.2 Storage of EPA Hazardous Waste
H.3 Waste versus Surplus Chemical
H.4 Prohibited Disposal Methods
Annex H-1. Listed EPA Hazardous Wastes

Appendix I. Miscellaneous Anecdotal Information
The old saying, "Experience is a hard teacher, but some will have none other," suggests that learning from other's experience may be safer. Here are some musings from our chemist which may prove useful.

I.1 Things that go Bump in the Lab
I.2 Why Water Splatters on Sulfuric Acid (and Not When Sulfuric Acid is
Added to Water)
I.3 Peroxide Crystals found in isopropanol
I.4 Cyanogen Bromide
I.5 Nitrocellulose Decomposition Progression

Appendix J. Answers to Review Questions
Here you can see what we thought were the correct answers. In some instances"correctness" is a judgment call. Remember the goal is protect the worker first.



Chapter 2
Network of Safety Services 2-5
Flammable - Combustible Classification 8
Flash Points of Common Laboratory Liquids 8
Cryogenic Hazards 14
MSDS Formats (OSHA form 174 vs ANSI) 25
Classes of Acute Toxicity 32
Preliminary Chemical Hazard Assessment Form 47-48
Degree of Hazard Chart 49

Chapter 4
Guidelines for Storage and Use of Flammable Liquids in Labs 85
Glove Chemical Resistance 88
Fume Hood Features and Functions 91
Peroxide-Forming Chemicals 105

Chapter 5
Emergency Phone Numbers 125
Categories of Spills 129
Types of Fire Extinguishers on Campus 131

Chapter 6
Common Chemical Substitutes 146-147

Chapter 7
Toxicity Characteristic Chemicals 161
Strengths of Concentrated Acids 165
Strengths of Bases Used for Neutralizations 166
Wastes that Should not be Put in Carboys 173
Soluble Salts Dischargeable to the Sanitary Sewer System 179
Daily Sewer Limits of Certain Regulated Metals 181

Chapter 8
Caustic Tissue Digestion Bag Vendors 202

Appendix B
Sources of Chemical Safety Information and Training 287

Appendix D
Reproductive Toxins 313
Compounds with a High Degree of Acute Toxicity 314
Select Carcinogens 318

Appendix F
Acid Categories 331
Strong Oxidizer-Reducer Incompatibilities 333
Toxic Gas Generating Reactions - Acid Incompatibilities 335
Toxic Gas Generating Reactions - Base Incompatibilities 336
Water / Moist Air Incompatibilities - Water Reactions 338

Appendix G
Toxicity Characteristic Chemicals 344

Appendix H
Listed EPA Hazardous Wastes 346