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General Safety Rules

General Safety Rules

  • Familiarize yourself with location of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, eye wash, and safety shower.
  • Learn location of emergency exits and procedure to follow when alarm sounds.
  • Shoes must be worn at all times in laboratories.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited in laboratories.
  • Goggles or safety glasses must be worn in all "wet" labs and in other areas at the direction of the lab instructor.
  • Contact lenses are not recommended.
  • Do not work in a laboratory wearing loose hair, loose clothing or dangling jewelry.
  • Leave coats, books, etc. in lockers provided outside of laboratories.
  • Do not run electrical cords or tubing across the floor.
  • Do not work alone in the laboratory after normal hours.
  • When in doubt, ask to find out; don’t guess.


  • Use only pyrex or shatterproof glassware.
  • Keep glassware away from edges of lab bench.
  • Do not place "rollable" glassware on its side.
  • Insert tubing properly into stoppers (i.e. use lubricants, hand protection).


  • Before using an instrument or machine, be sure to know how to turn it off in case of emergency.
  • Mount equipment securely and properly.
  • Check all electrical connections and mounting bolts before each use.
  • Check that all rotating parts are free to turn, and that there is no mechanical obstruction before starting.
  • Attach an "emergency shutdown card" to any piece of equipment left operating unattended outside normal working hours.


  • Secure gas cylinders with a strap or chain, whether or not they are in use.
  • Transport gas cylinders, with cap on, on a proper cart.
  • Do not use grease on gauges or connections.
  • Use the proper regulator for the gas being used.
  • Before using gas in an experiment, be sure there are no leaks in the system. Toxic gases must be vented to the hood.


  • Be certain that your vacuum system has a trap.
  • Use only containers which can withstand evacuation.
  • When possible wrap with tape the containers to be evacuated.
  • Whenever possible, vacuum pumps should be vented to the hood.
  • Used vacuum pump oil is a hazardous waste and should be brought to the stockroom for disposal.