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Laboratory Safety. Materials Science & Engineering Dept. Along with Environmental Health & Safety University of Tennessee. Contact Information. Environmental Health & Safety. For Lab Safety Questions: Pam Koontz James Cantu

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laboratory safety

Laboratory Safety

Materials Science & Engineering Dept.

Along with

Environmental Health & Safety

University of Tennessee

environmental health safety
Environmental Health & Safety

For Lab Safety Questions:

  • Pam Koontz
  • James Cantu

For Hazardous Waste Questions:

  • April Case

Environmental Health & Safety


Robin Lyn Trundy

UTK/UTIA Safety Officer


UTK/UTIA Biosafety Office

Amy Knowles

UTIA Occupational

Health Nurse


Marsha SmithRadiation Safety OfficerPhone: 974-5580E-mail:
  • UTK Radiation Safety Office
materials science engineering department safety committee

Dr. Kurt Sickafus, Chair

Dr. Carl Lundin

Dr. Roberto S. Benson

Mr. Greg Jones

reporting an accident
For Emergency Call 911

Call your Supervisor

Call Safety Coordinator, Greg Jones

If you can not reach your Supervisor or Greg contact the MSE main office (Carla)

Call Environmental Health & Safety for help with spill cleanup, or to report unsafe conditions

Help your Supervisor fill out a “Supervisors Report of Employee Accident form” ASAP!

Reporting An Accident
if treatment is needed
UT Student Health Center

1800 Volunteer Blvd.

If Treatment Is Needed

UT Medical Center

1924 Alcoa Highway

safety is a choice
Safety is a Choice
  • Safety depends on choices
  • Good choices rely on having good information before the choice has to be made.
how do we get that information
How Do We Get That Information?
  • Training
    • Initial
    • Periodic
    • As-needed
  • Resources
    • MSDS/SDS, Labels, Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), Emergency Response Plan, Faculty Advisor, Person In Charge (PIC), Lab Placards
  • Ask Questions!
what questions should i ask
What Questions Should I ask?
  • What is the nature of my lab?
    • My work space
    • My neighbor’s work space
  • What hazards are present?
    • Chemical/Physical/Bio/Rad
    • Do you know how to react?
    • Have you practiced?
    • Have you shared your knowledge?
  • Is there an Emergency Plan, Chemical Hygiene Plan, SDS?
emergency response
Emergency Response

Plan, Share, Practice

in your research group
In Your Research Group
  • Make a plan
  • Write it down
  • Ensure everyone understands
  • Review and practice
emergency response plan
Emergency Response Plan
  • Identify local emergency numbers
  • Locate medical treatment centers and trauma centers
  • Procedures for dealing with an emergency
    • Physical injury
    • Chemical exposure
    • Environmental Exposure
  • Evacuation and Meetinglocation
types of emergencies
Types of Emergencies
  • Accidents
  • Spills / Splashes / Accidental Releases
  • Near Misses
  • Fire
  • UT Alert System (
who you gonna call
Who You Gonna Call?
  • Emergencies – 911
  • Chemical spill or release – EHS – 4-5084 (do not leave a voicemail message)
  • After hours spill or release – UTPD – 4-3111
physical hazards
Physical Hazards

Plan, Share, Practice

what are physical hazards
What are Physical Hazards
  • Environmental Hazards
    • Work area conditions
    • Hot/cold, humid/dry, improper lighting
  • Chemically Produced Physical Hazards
    • Explosives & Reactives
  • Equipment Hazards
    • Mechanical, Electrical, Vacuum, High pressure, Cut and Abrasion Hazards, Hot and Cold equipment, Open flames, Noise/Sound
environmental hazards
Environmental hazards
  • Number one type of accident is still “Slips, Trips, and Falls”
    • Maintain safe pathways and use good housekeeping
    • Keep cables and cords in safe paths where they will not be damaged and they will not contribute to trip hazards.
chemically produced physical hazards
Chemically Produced Physical Hazards
  • Highly Reactive compounds and incompatibles can cause very powerful energy release in the form of intense light, heat or pressure waves.
chemically produced physical hazards1
Chemically Produced Physical Hazards
  • Use only the scale of reaction required and approved to achieve your goals.
  • Use proper PPE and Engineering Controls to prevent exposure to a potential explosion
  • If the agent/reaction has the possibility of a violent reaction believethat it could happen to you.
equipment hazards
Equipment Hazards
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Vacuum/High pressure
  • Cut and Abrasion Hazards
  • Hot and Cold equipment
  • Open flames
  • Noise/Sound
mechanical hazards
Mechanical Hazards
  • Know and train on even the most basic equipment.
  • Equipment with moving parts can entrap extremities, clothing, and long hair.
    • Use proper clothing and PPE and tie back long hair.
  • Ensure guards are in place and in good condition.
  • Never remove safety devices
  • Moving objects can throw objects
  • Use lockout tagout procedures when repairing
electrical hazards
Electrical Hazards
  • Ways to avoid common lab electrical hazards are ensuring cables and cords are not damaged by the lab environment.
    • Avoid heat/flame damage to insulation
    • mechanical trauma such as the damage a cord may receive behind a heavy object such as a gas cylinder.
electrical hazards cont d
Electrical Hazards cont’d
  • Do not daisy chain extension cords or power strips.
  • Extension cords are designed for temporary use only.
  • If electrical work is needed in your lab a qualified electrical worker is required to do the work.
  • Use GFCI outlets when the risk of shock is higher such as at sinks and water sources.
    • Note: Grounding and GFCI are not the same.
electrical hazards cont d1
Electrical Hazards cont’d
  • Never bypass a grounding prong on an electrical plug.
  • If your outlets are not “holding” or “gripping” the plug, then notify facilities services as the outlet may be damaged and a fire hazard.
  • If work is required in your lab please ensure you are aware of what a lockout condition is and how it relates to you as a non-electrical worker.
vacuum and high pressure
Vacuum and High Pressure
  • Chance of Implosion or Explosion
  • Particularly dangerous with Glassware
  • For pressurized equipment and glassware:
    • Ensure a blast shield or hood sash is in place.
    • If using a face shield eye protection must be worn as well
think safety
THINK Safety…
  • Broken Glassware should be replaced.
  • Use proper technique and PPE when working.
  • Good housekeeping keeps Glassware from:
    • Accumulating in the dirty bin
    • Accidentally being knocked over
  • Don’t forget that when you need to move something large or cumbersome around the lab a pair of sturdy work gloves may be in order.
hot and cold equipment
Hot and Cold Equipment
  • Most lab surfaces that are heated look the same hot and cold: “Hot Glass Looks Like Cold Glass”
  • Remember to allow proper cooling times on heated elements before work or repair
  • Use caution with heating mantles and hotplates around combustible and flammable materials
hot and cold equipment cont d
Hot and Cold Equipment cont’d
  • Use Cryo gloves and eye protection when working with Liquid Nitrogen or dry ice.
    • Flash Freezing works well on samples
    • It also can work well on you
  • Dispense and Transport Liquid Nitrogen only with approved methods.
open flames
Open Flames
  • Never leave unattended.
  • Keep away from flammable and combustible materials including volatile flammable gases
  • Keep hair tied back and loose clothing away
noise and sound
Noise and Sound
  • Hearing protection programs can be required under OSHA.
  • Thresholds are set for an 8-hour work day
  • EHS can survey a work area on request.
chemical hazards
Chemical Hazards

Hazard Classes


Use & Handling

hazard classes
Hazard Classes
  • Oxidizer
  • Flammable
  • Explosive
  • Acutely Toxic
  • Corrosive
  • Compressed Gases
  • Health Hazard
  • Environmental Toxin
  • Exclamation Mark
how do you know
How do you know?
  • Lab Door Placard
  • SDS
  • Chemical labels
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • SOPs
  • Hazardous Communication (Right-To-Know)
incompatible chemicals
Incompatible Chemicals
  • Oxidizers and flammables
  • Acids and bases
  • Flammables and corrosives
  • Corrosives and metals
  • Know what to do with strong reactions
segregation and storage
Segregation and Storage
  • Segregate incompatibles by storing in different cabinets
  • Use secondary containment when space is at a premium


    • Segregate by hazard class first
    • Use proper containers
    • Use secondary containment
    • Check expiration dates
    • Inspect shelving and shelf clips periodically
  • Don’t
    • Stack chemicals or store too high
    • Allow containers to hang over edge
    • Use food containers
    • Allow excessive bench top and fume hood storage
    • Keep chemicals indefinitely or past expiration dates
    • Store flammables in unapproved refrigerators

Some chemicals are unstable when stored past their expiration dates:

Ethyl ether (diethyl ether)

Sodium Azide

Picric Acid

chemical use and handling
Chemical Use and Handling
  • Lab Specific SOPs
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Chemical Inventory
how to reduce the risk of exposure
How to Reduce the Risk of Exposure
  • Know the hazards
  • Use Proper PPE
  • Routes of exposure
    • Contact
    • Injection
    • Inhalation
    • Ingestion
engineering controls
Engineering Controls
  • Fume Hoods
  • Shields
  • Storage Cabinets
  • Secondary Containment

ex. Spill Trays

transporting chemicals
Transporting Chemicals
  • Use a cart with secondary containment
  • Move limited quantities
  • Use caution going through doorways and public areas
  • Use freight elevator
shipping chemicals
Shipping Chemicals
  • Best practice – order from manufacturer
  • Must be authorized to ship haz mat
  • Must give minimum of 72 hours notice
  • Deface old labels when reusing containers
  • Label containers clearly (contents, your name, date)
handling chemicals safely
Handling Chemicals Safely
  • Do not eat or drink in the chemical laboratory.
  • Provide break area outside the lab
personal protective equipment
Personal Protective Equipment


Eye Protection

Hand Protection

proper clothing
Proper Clothing
  • Long pants
  • Long sleeves
  • Closed-toe, non-absorbent shoes
  • Protect your clothing with a lab coat or apron
eye protection
Eye Protection
  • The type of eye protection required depends on the work being performed.
  • Wearing the proper eye protection is required by the Laboratory Standard and Personal Protective Equipment Standards.
eye protection1
Eye Protection
  • It is the responsibility of the employer to determine the presence of hazards, select and purchase the appropriate safety devices, and train the employees.
  • The employer is not required to provide prescription safety eyewear.
what is the first action for chemicals in the eyes
What is the first action for chemicals in the eyes?
  • Immediately begin flushing the eyes with large amounts of tepid water for a minimum of fifteen minutes.
  • While the eyes are being flushed, medical help should be summoned
maximum distance from work station to eye wash safety shower
Maximum distance from work station to eye wash/safety shower?
  • It’s not measured by distance, but by time
  • 10 seconds
  • For strong caustics/acids equipment should be immediately adjacent to the work area
additional eye safety precautions
Additional Eye Safety Precautions
  • Activate every eyewash at least weekly to verify operation and clear liquid flow
  • Keep areas around eyewashes clear from clutter to provide quick and easy access in the event of an emergency
  • Never neutralize chemicals splashed in the eyes – always flush with water only
  • Never use an emergency eye wash bottle
  • You must never work alone in the laboratory
so why protect my eyes
So Why Protect My Eyes?

You can eat with false teeth,

you can dance with a wooden leg,

you can even hear with a hearing aid,

but you can’t see with a glass eye.

hand protection
Hand Protection
  • Choose the right gloves for the job
  • Disposable vs Reusable
  • Latex vs other glove materials
  • For non-chemical work
glove selection
Glove Selection
  • Be aware of what you touch with your gloves
  • Remove gloves before leaving lab
  • Never reuse disposable gloves
  • Contamination not always visible
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Not all gloves are the same
  • There is no one perfect glove for all chemicals
  • Gloves to protect you vs. gloves to protect your work
hearing protection
Hearing Protection
  • 85 decibels sustained over 8 hr work day
  • EHS can monitor noise levels
respiratory protection
Respiratory Protection
  • If you need to wear a respirator contact EHS at 4-5084
about gas cylinders
About Gas Cylinders
  • Gases stored in steel pressure vessels above atmospheric pressure
  • A standard cylinder may hold about 300 cubit feet of the gas in excess of 2000psi
gas cylinder basics
Gas Cylinder Basics
  • What hazards can be present?
    • They can be very heavy
    • High Pressure
    • Can Conduct Electricity
    • Any chemical hazard
      • Flammable
      • Asphyxiant
      • Oxidizer
      • Toxic
know the hazards
Know the Hazards
  • Properties & safe use before using
    • SOPs, CHP, SDS
  • Never accept unlabeled cylinders
cylinder storage do s
Cylinder Storage – Do’s
  • Always store with the valve closed and the cap secured.
  • Secure the upper third of a cylinder with straps or chains to a:
    • Secure bench
    • Wall mount
    • Approved free standing Stand
  • Always Store upright
cylinder storage do s1
Cylinder Storage – Do’s
  • Always bond and ground cylinders of flammable gases.
  • Oxidizer (e.g. Oxygen) cylinder storage must be separated from flammable gas storage areas or combustible materials by at least 20 feet or by a non-combustible wall.
cylinder storage don ts
Cylinder Storage – Don’ts
  • Slack chains or straps
  • Excessive storage
  • Protect from high temperatures
  • Do not store in escape paths or near fire exits
other considerations
Other Considerations
  • Compressed gas cylinders must have hydrostatic testing done every 5-10 years, depending on the gas.
  • Do not keep cylinders around for longer than this time period because it prevents this testing.
moving transport
Moving & Transport
  • Never roll, drag or slide cylinders, even for short distances. Cylinders should always be moved by using a suitable hand truck with retaining straps or chains
  • Never drop cylinders or permit them to strike each other.
safe handling of compressed gas cylinders
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Always use regulators and pressure relief devices when using cylinders.
  • Only regulators and plumbing approved for the specific gas should be used.
  • Never use an adapter to make a regulator “work”
  • Open the cylinder valve before adjusting pressure on regulator.
safe handling of compressed gas cylinders1
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Never permit oil, grease, or other readily combustible substances to come in contact with oxygen cylinders, valves or regulators.
safe handling of compressed gas cylinders2
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Never use oxygen as a substitute for compressed air.
  • Do not permit cylinders to come in contact with electrical apparatus or circuits.
safe handling of compressed gas cylinders3
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • When returning empty cylinders, close the valve before shipment.
  • Leave some positive pressure in the cylinder.
  • Replace any protective caps originally shipped with the cylinder.
  • Mark the cylinder “EMPTY” and segregate from full cylinders.
  • What a pressurized container can do when the right amount of heat is applied.
plan share practice
Plan, Share, Practice
  • Remember, a plan is only a plan if it’s on paper.
  • And a paper plan is only as good as the practice put into it.
how we inspect how you can help
How We Inspect / How You Can Help

What’s in it for you?

  • What we look for?
    • PPE use
    • Chemical Storage
    • Labeling
    • Emergency Equipment
    • Hazardous Waste
    • Door Placards
    • Infrastructure Problems
how can you help
How Can You Help?
  • Plan, Share, Practice
  • Be a good example


The Laboratory Safety Institute


Thank you for your patience and attention, Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with to make MSE a safer place to be!