General Laboratory Safety TrainingGeneral Laboratory Safety Training

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Safety means you have to:

– Read labels on containers of chemicals.
– Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
– Handle chemicals with care.
– Use correct protective clothing and equipment.
– First-aid instructions
– Remember emergency procedures.

Every container of chemicals is labeled by the manufacturer.

The label will tell you:

– Name of chemical.
– Name, address and emergency phone number of manufacturer.
– Physical and health hazards.
– Precautionary measures.
– First-aid instructions.
– Proper handling/storage instructions.

Chemical Labels
Chemical Labels

– Carcinogen – Corrosive
– Highly toxic agent – Sensitizer
– Toxic agent – Hepatotoxin
– Reproductive hazard – Nephrotoxin

– Do not breathe vapors.
– Use in well-ventilated areas.
– Keep container closed when not in use
– Avoid contact with skin.
– Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling.
– Keep away from sparks, heat, and flame.

It helps you recognize kind of hazard a chemical could present if you are not careful:

Corrosivity (acids and bases)
Ignitability (flammable solvents and certain solids)
Reactivity (sodium and various waterreactive reagents)

NFPA-type label

Color and Number Coded Label Systems
Color and Number Coded Label Systems

Colors represent kind of hazard:

Red = fire
Yellow = instability
Blue = health
Black = specific hazard & personal protection

Numbers show degree of hazard

  • 0 = Minimal
  • 1 = Slight
  • 2 = Moderate
  • 3 = Serious
  • 4 = Severe

Provides more detailed information about a chemical,
– Composition, information on ingredients
– Hazards identification
– First aid measures
– Accidental Release measures
– Handling and Storage
– Exposure controls, personal protection
– Stability and reactivity
– Toxicological information

Inhalation: Respiratory tract (lungs) through inhalation
Ingestion: Digestive tract through eating or smoking with contaminated hands or in contaminated work areas
Absorption through the skin or eyes: Dermatitis or damage to the liver, kidney, or other organ systems
Injection: Percutaneous injection of a toxic substance through the skin

Acute poisoning (rapid assimilation of substance, i.e., carbon monoxide)
Chronic poisoning (prolonged exposure, i.e., lead poisoning)
Cumulative poisons (numerous chronic exposures, i.e., heavy metals)
Substances in combination (synergistic effect, i.e., exposure to alcohol and chlorinated solvents)

– Threshold Limit Value (TLV)
– Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
– Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

LC50: median lethal concentration by inhalation in a single exposure over a specified time period

LCLO: lowest reported LC50

LD50: median lethal concentration by a routeother than inhalation

“Highly Toxic” is indicated by
– LD50 50 mg/kg body wt by ingestion to albino rats each weighing between 200 to 300 gms
– LD50 200 mg/kg by continuous contact for 24 hrs with skin of albino rabbits each weighing between 2 and 3 kg
– LC50 200 ppm of gas or vapor inhalation (or 2 mg/L of mist, dust, or fumes) for one hour by albino rats each weighing between 200 to 300 gms

– Dispose of chemicals, broken glass, and other waste in approved containers
– Clean up broken glass and spills immediately
– Keep the lab clean and neat
– Store incompatible chemicals in separate storage areas

Labs have established separate storage areas for
✓ Flammable and combustible organic liquids and solvents
✓ Acids
✓ Dry poisons, salts, and oxidizers
✓ Bases

Chemicals are stored in
✓ Chemical storage cabinets
✓ Flammable storage refrigerators (No food)
✓ Chemical storage refrigerators/freezers (No food)
✓ On shelves with retaining barriers

Identify incompatible chemicals – check the Material Safety Data Sheet

Isolate and separate incompatible materials

– Isolate by storing in another area or room
– Degree of isolation depends on quantities, chemical properties and packaging
– Separate by storing in same area or room, but apart from each other

Storage must not limit the use of exits, stairways, or areas normally used for the safe regress of people

Storage must be in: closed metal containers inside a storage cabinet, or, safety cans, or an inside storage room

Not more than 60 gal of Class I and/or Class II liquids, or not more than 120 gal of Class III liquids permitted in a cabinet

Must be conspicuously labeled, “Flammable – Keep Fire Away”

Doors on metal cabinets must have a three-point lock (top, side, and bottom), and the door sill must be raised at least 2 inches above the bottom of the cabinet

Storage Cabinets
Storage Cabinets

– Get medical help immediately!
– Inform your lab supervisor
– Check MSDS for first-aid instructions

 Overexposed to a Hazardous Substance
Overexposed to a Hazardous Substance

– Some general guidelines are:

  • Eyes: Flush with water for 15 minutes
  • Ingestion: Follow label and MSDS instructions
  • Skin Contact: Stand under emergency shower and remove contaminated clothing immediately
  • Inhalation: Get to fresh air and get prompt medical attention

Emergencies can happen, so

  • Avoid working alone in the lab
  • Know where emergency phone numbers are posted
  • Review MSDS
  • Know where to go and what to do in an emergency
  • Know the location of the closest safety showers, eyewashes, and fire extinguishers

Outlines specific work practices for all work involving hazardous substances in the lab

  • Gives procedures to follow when working with hazardous chemicals
  • Provides details on how your chemical exposure will be monitored and limited
  • Assures that you have the right personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Specifies that some hazardous tasks to be approved in advance by the PI

Also read: Paper Retraction

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