Emergency eyewash and safety showers. Be certain safety showers and emergency eyewash units are properly located and maintained. These units should be located in areas that are immediately accessible (reachable within 10 seconds). There should be no obstructions that might inhibit the use of this equipment. Eye washes and safety showers should be flushed on a regular basis to verify that the units are working, and to clear the lines of stale water and debris. Whenever these emergency units are checked for proper functioning, written documentation showing the date and person’s initials performing the check, should be maintained.
Equipment. Use proper equipment that is in good condition. For example, never use chipped or cracked glassware. Shield pressurized or vacuum apparatus, and safeguard against bumping or overheating.
Fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers must be available, charged, and hung in a location that is immediately accessible (reachable within 10 seconds). There should be no obstructions that might inhibit the use of this equipment. Make sure that all extinguishers are checked at least annually. Each extinguisher should have a tag indicating the date it was last checked. Contact Campus Facilities (882-8211) for assistance.
Food, drink, and cosmetics. Eating, drinking, and the application of cosmetics are forbidden in areas where hazardous chemicals are used. Do not store food in the same refrigerator with hazardous materials. Food used for research should be labeled, “Not for Human Consumption.”
Horseplay. Practical jokes or other behaviors that might confuse, startle, or distract another worker, are forbidden when hazardous chemicals are present.
Housekeeping. Exits, aisles, and safety equipment must not be obstructed in any way with equipment, furniture, or other items. Aisles within the laboratory should be 36 inches in clear width. Work areas and floors are not to be used for excessive storage. Doors which are not in use, but which are accessible from a corridor or adjacent room should be appropriately labeled if they are blocked in the interior of the room. Hallways are not to be used as storage areas.
Mercaptans. To avoid false reporting of natural gas leaks, mercaptans should be used in such a manner (e.g., scrubbers for effluent) that persons outside of the laboratory cannot smell the mercaptan and suspect a natural gas leak in the building.
Mouth pipetting. Mouth pipetting is forbidden in laboratories.
Perchloric acid. If perchloric acid is heated above ambient temperature it may evaporate and condense on ductwork in the form of explosive perchlorates. Therefore, when heating perchloric acid above ambient temperature, a perchloric acid fume hood with a water wash down system or a local scrubbing or trapping system must be used.
Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in laboratories. Wash hands before smoking whenever chemicals have been handled.
Spill preparedness. Before working with chemicals, assess potential spill hazards. Each laboratory worker should be familiar with general spill response procedures. Written protocols should be developed when extremely hazardous or large quantities of chemicals are used. Keep all necessary personal protective equipment and spill cleanup materials readily available.
Unattended experiments. If operations involving hazardous materials are carried out with no one present, it is the responsibility of the worker to design procedures to prevent the release of hazardous materials in the event of interruptions in utility services such as electricity, cooling water, or inert gas. Lights should be left on, and signs should be posted identifying the nature of the operation, the hazardous materials in use, and who to notify in the event of an emergency. If appropriate, arrangements should be made for other workers to periodically inspect the operation. Similarly, if unattended experiments require the use of running water, the worker should develop procedures to make sure the experiment is checked periodically for water leakage from the system. Unattended experiments involving the use of running water have caused flooding damage in laboratories.
Working alone. When working with hazardous materials, it is advisable to have a second person present, or at a minimum, maintain contact via telephone.
Environmental Health & Safety· 8 Research Park Development Building
1306 Research Park Drive · Columbia, Missouri 65211
(573) 882-7018 · Fax: (573) 882-7940 · For emergency service at night, weekends or holidays, call MU Police (573) 882-7201