Safety is a very important aspect of chemical research and safe lab practices MUST be used in our labs.
The following are minimum guidelines that must be followed in the labs.
Safety glasses must be worn at all times while working with chemicals. This includes while washing glassware, taking TLC's and watching someone else working with chemicals. Safety goggles should be worn in all potentially hazardous operations.
Gloves should be worn whenever appropriate. Appropriate, at a minimum, includes when washing glassware or using strong acids, bases or corrosives. Note that the thin disposable gloves are NOT suitable for these tasks. Gloves should always be worn when using highly carcinogenic or toxic compounds.
Lab coats are supplied to everyone and should be worn as needed. They should be worn whenever strong acids are being used. They can also save clothes when using oxidizers such as bleach.
The members of each lab should see that the eyewashes are run periodically, so that the water in the line does not become stagnant.
Trash should be separated. Glass waste, needles and razor blades should be placed in one container. Please DO NOT put paper or plastic in these waste cans. Large glass bottles should be taken to the drums by room 3379. Powder waste (silica gel, magnesium sulfate, sand, vermiculite) should also be put in a separate container. Do not put paper, plastic, etc. in the powder waste cans. The powder waste should NOT be taken by the janitors. It should be taken out as chemical waste on the appropriate collection days.
Gas cylinders should be treated with respect. Do not move them without their caps on. When in use, they must be securely chained in place. Make sure that the proper regulator is being used. Always test for leaks using SNOOP when setting up gas lines or changing cylinders.
Be aware and work defensively. Be sure that you understand the reactions you are running and the potential hazards. Before using equipment you have never used, get proper instruction in safe handling. Plan for potential emergencies.
Treat all unknown compounds as toxic. As much as possible, all chemical manipulations should be done in the hoods.
Unattended experiments must be left in a safe and secure state.
Do not heat or cool a closed system unless it is designed for such tasks.
Add reagents carefully and at the temperature at which they react to avoid uncontrolled exotherms.
Watch for induction periods in reactions. These can cause serious problems in large scale reactions.
Never scale up a reaction by more than a factor of twenty.
If necessary, have ice or dry ice readily available to cool a reaction mixture.
Do not open a vacuum distillation system to air when the chemicals in the distillation flask are >100oC.
Do not leave distillations unattended.
Avoid distilling compounds above 150oC.
If you must heat organic compounds above 150oC, do it behind a blast shield.
Remove Dewar traps containing liquid nitrogen immediately after a vacuum pump is turned off to avoid condensing oxygen in the trap.
Chemicals should only be transported in a safety can.
Store acids, bases, oxidizing agents and fuels separately.
Blast shields are available for use in situations that are potentially explosive. Full face shields are available from the store room and the safety cage.
Do not perform hazardous operations when no one is around.
Do not play games in labs.
Never eat or drink near your hood or bench. Do not store chemicals at your desk.
Children should not be allowed in labs.
When in doubt - ASK !!!
Overall, everyone should operate in a safe and sensible manner. Remember that safety is everyone's concern.