Lab Safety

Site/Department Specific Lab Safety Chemical Hygiene Plan





Shown below are guidelines that establish minimum requirements for those who use and/or work in the labs.

  1. The notebooks containing the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are located in the ____________. Determine the potential hazards and use appropriate safety precautions before beginning any new operation.
  2. The location of emergency equipment:

o        First aid kits are located in the _________________.

o        Fire extinguishers are located near the doors in the _______________.

o        Permanent showers & eyewashes are located in the _______________. Portable eyewash stations are located in the __________________.

  1. When aware of unsafe conditions notify _____________ or other faculty members so that corrective action can be taken as quickly as possible.
  2. Personal safety equipment are stored in each laboratory in the following locations:

o        Gloves are located in the ________________.

o        Lab coats are located in the ________________.

o        Safety glasses are located in the _______________.


  1. Health and hygiene practices have been established for working with hazardous materials (those chemical, biological, and/or radiological materials which may present a significant health risk) are outlined in Section 2.2 of GVSUs Lab Safety Plan.
  2. After using any non disposable personal protective equipment, please clean and return it to the appropriate storage location.  If the equipment is damaged or not functioning properly, return it to ____________ or the designated faculty person responsible for the laboratory so it can be replaced.


A.   There shall be no food, drink, smoking, or applying of cosmetics in any laboratory area.

B. Refrigerators and microwave ovens used for chemical storage or other laboratory use shall not be used for food storage or preparation.


Safety follows good housekeeping practices. The following guidelines can be used to maintain an orderly laboratory:

Keep work areas clean and uncluttered. 

  1. Clean up work areas (cap and replace chemicals and waste containers, wash glassware, return equipment to proper storage area and pick up waste paper and non-hazardous waste) after the work is finished or at the end of each workday. Floor area is included.
  1. Clean up chemicals that are spilled or boil over particularly around balances, pH meters, hotplate/stirrers, and microwaves.
  1. Gloves are not to be worn outside of the laboratories. To prevent contamination of door handles, phones, computer keyboards, etc., remove gloves when not performing tasks that require their use.


  1. Signs identifying the location of the MSDSs are posted near the ________________.
  2. Chemical Storage:
    1. General laboratory chemicals are stored in the chemical storage cabinets in the wet laboratory and extraction laboratory.
    2. Designated storage areas for corrosive chemicals are located in the ____________. 
    3. Separate ventilated cabinets under fume hoods in the_________________. 
    4. Flammable chemicals and solvents are stored in designated cabinets located in the _____________. Flammable liquids must be stored in the "Flammable Storage Cabinet".
    5. Non flammable solvents can be stored in the ventilated cabinets under the fume hoods in the __________________.
    6. The designated area for acutely toxic chemical usage is the ________________. A storage cabinet for acutely toxic chemicals is located in the ________________. 
    7. See the SOPs in Appendix 1 for specific instructions on the storage for each class of chemicals.
  3. Storage of chemicals at the lab bench or work area shall be kept to a minimum.
  4. Cryogenics: Always wear gloves and a face guard when dispensing liquid nitrogen or handling dry ice to prevent frostbite burns. Make sure there is adequate ventilation whenever working with these gases in confined locations such as the cold room.
  5. _______ currently does _______ use chemicals that are listed as MIOSHA Class A carcinogens or reproductive hazards. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO (Section 3.2). ________ does use chemicals that are classified as acutely toxic. A SOP the use and handling of acutely toxic chemicals is included in Appendix 1.
  6. _______ currently does not use chemicals that are classified as water reactive chemicals. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.
  7. _______ currently does not use chemicals that are classified as pyrophoric. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.
  8. _______ currently does not use chemicals that are classified as organic peroxides. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.
  9. _______ currently does not use chemicals that are classified as light sensitive. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.
  10. _______ currently does not use chemicals that are classified as unstable. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.


  1. Carry glass containers in glass bottle carriers or other leak resistant, unbreakable secondary containers. The carriers are stored in the _____________.
  2. When moving chemicals or transporting hazardous waste use the cart designated for this use. The chemical transport cart has raised edges to contain leaks/spills, and is stocked with gloves specifically for handling chemical waste and spill control absorbent pads to be used in the event of an accident.
  3. The responsibility for transporting waste from the laboratory to the waste storage area will be the responsibility of ________________. In the event of a spill in transit to the waste area, their responsibilities will be limited to containing the spill and notifying the appropriate response services.



Please see GVSUs CHP for proper handling procedures of compressed gasses. Site specific information is as follows;

  1. Use an appropriate cart to move cylinders. A cylinder cart is stored in the ______________.
  2. Always wear goggles or safety glasses with side shields when handling compressed gases.
  3. Always use appropriate gauges, fittings, and materials compatible with the particular gas being handled.
  4. When working with a toxic, corrosive, or reactive gas, the CHO should be contacted for information concerning specific handling requirements. Generally, these gases will need to be used and stored with local exhaust ventilation such as a lab hood or a gas cabinet designed for that purpose. ___________ currently does not use toxic, corrosive, or reactive gases. Use of these materials will require the preparation of a SOP and approval by the CHO.


  1. Dispose of waste per the GVSU disposal policies described in Section 2.10 of the University Lab Safety Plan.
  2. Hazardous waste is accumulated in the hazardous waste storage cabinet in the _________.
  3. Instructions are provided in the Lab Safety Chemical Hygiene Plan for inventorying and labeling the waste containers.
  4. The following are guidelines for handling and storage of hazardous waste at ____________.
    1. Each laboratory has a designated space in a secured location where hazardous waste is accumulated. All such waste must be collected in the lab in clearly labeled bottles that are tightly capped. It is recommended that waste be reagent/chemical specific, but waste reagents may be mixed if they are of the same category of waste and not capable of reacting with other wastes stored in the same container. When waste is ready for storage, it may be moved to the secured storage cabinet in the ______________.
    2. Follow the procedure found in the Lab Safety Plan and SOPs for securing and logging the waste in the cabinet. Follow the directions on the door and fill out the log with the category and amount of waste, container type, and date. (Labels are available from the ______________). Transporting of hazardous waste between buildings or campuses shall be according to University safe practices and procedures (to be developed).
    3. Non-Contaminated Glass: Deposit broken glass or damaged glassware in the boxes marked for broken glass in the _____________. 
    4. Contaminated glass is considered hazardous waste and disposed of accordingly.
    5. Liquid Chemical Waste: Dispose of liquid chemical waste in the appropriate container
    6. Solid Chemical Waste:  Dispose of solid chemical waste (Contaminated paper towels, glass, ect.) in the plastic bag lined cardboard containers located in each laboratory. Spilled chemical powders may be swept up and placed in plastic zip lock bags, and disposed in the plastic bag lined cardboard container.
    7. Sharps: Dispose of razor blades and needles in the sharps containers located at the center bench in each laboratory. Do not dispose of razor blades and needles in the trash.
    8. Radiological Waste: Radiological waste is strictly regulated by state and federal laws. See the _____________ Radiological Safety Handbook for the specific procedures and the Radiological Sample Handling section below.
  1. Spill kits are located in the _________________.

1.9             BIOLOGICAL

            ________ does _______ have the appropriate equipment to safely work with biological hazardous materials.


            Radiological safety is strictly regulated by state and federal law. Issues relating to this section are described in a separate radiation safety program manual. Please refer to these manuals for questions regarding sample handling and disposal.


At times, it may be necessary to leave a laboratory operation unattended. Follow these basic guidelines in the design of an experiment or project to be left unattended:

  1. Always check with your laboratory supervisor to determine if a laboratory operation can be left unattended. If the operation is to be left unattended for extended periods and involves hazardous materials or potentially hazardous conditions, prepare a procedure addressing emergencies and emergency response. It should be reviewed by the laboratory supervisor and CHO. The protocol should include responses to potential interruptions in electric, water, inert gas and other services and provide containment for toxic substances.
  2. A warning notice must be posted near the experiment if hazardous conditions are present.


Avoid working alone whenever possible. If one must work alone, let another AWRI employee or GVSU security know the expected times you will be in the lab.



Identifying the specific hazard associated with a chemical greatly reduces the chance of misuse by laboratory employees, new users, or visitors. At the very minimum, hazardous chemical container labels must have the chemical name(s) and hazard identification(s). With respect to identifying containers, storage areas and laboratory entranceways, the following guidelines should be followed. These responsibilities can be delegated to someone who has received adequate training but the ultimate responsibility lies with the lab supervisor.

1.      Principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals for laboratory use are not removed or defaced. Labels contain information on the identity of the chemical(s) in the container and the hazard identification of the chemical(s). It is recommended that incoming containers be labeled with the lab supervisor's or department's name and date received.

2.      Principal investigators must ensure that laboratory containers (those containers filled from the original shipping container) of chemicals are also labeled (see section 3.4.1 of the GVSU CHP.)

3.      Principal investigators must ensure that hazardous chemical storage areas are labeled per the guidelines established in section 5.1.4 of the GVSU CHP.

4.      Principal investigators must ensure that entranceways to laboratory facilities are labeled with the appropriate warning signs per the guidelines established in section 5.1.2 of the GVSU CHP.

5.      Principal investigators must ensure that employees have access to MSDSs.


An initial hazard assessment is required for each procedure involving the use of a hazardous chemical or where there is a potential for employee exposure. Subsequently, a Standard Operating Procedure is written describing safe practices, personal protective equipment, and training requirements. Annually, hazard assessments will be conducted, for procedures that have changed in scope or potential hazard, as part of the review of the Lab Safety Plan for applicability to current activities. These assessments and corresponding potentially hazardous activities are documented in the department/program-specific safety practices attached to this Plan. It is the responsibility of the CHO to identify lab activities that are sufficiently hazardous as to cause or are likely to cause injury to employees and/or students. As a guide (and as a minimum), the activities discussed in the MIOSHA lab standard shall be reviewed and assessed for personnel exposure.


The following Standard Operating Procedures are included with this Lab Safety/Chemical Hygiene Plan.

1.      Compressed Gases

2.      Corrosive Chemicals

3.      Cryogen & Dry-Ice Safety Fact Sheet

4.      Flammable Liquids

5.      Oxidizing Chemicals

Page last modified March 14, 2014