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Chemical Safety

Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment

All researchers have a responsibility to dress sensibly for laboratory work. Cover unprotected skin whenever possible. Suitable clothing shall be worn in the laboratory space; shorts are not appropriate. Wear substantial closed-toed shoes in the laboratory space to protect against chemical splashes or broken glass. Do not wear sandals, cloth sport shoes, perforated shoes, or open-toed shoes. Laboratory coats are essential to protect street clothing from biological agent aerosols or chemical and radioactive material splashes and spills, vapors, or dusts. Regulations require protective eye and face equipment where there is a reasonable probability that using them can prevent injury. Eye protection shall be required in all laboratories where chemicals are used or stored. Gloves are worn to prevent skin contact with toxic, radioactive or biological agents, burns from hot or extremely cold surfaces or corrosives, or cuts from sharp objects. Many gloves are made for specific uses. For adequate protection, select the correct glove for the hazard in question. For more information on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment see Chapter 5 of the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan.


All labs are expected to utilize Chematix to keep a chemical inventory of the chemicals within their spaces.


Any chemical that is used in the Department of Chemistry should have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) associated with it. To find a SDS, you can use the SDS Search in Lumen provided by Research Safety. Please read Research Safety’s Lumen Users Manual. 


Proper storage of chemicals is a necessity. Before ordering chemicals, ensure there are proper storage means, such as flammable cabinets or corrosive cabinets. Also ensure incompatible chemicals are not stored with each other. Chemical storage guidelines can be found in Chapter 8 of the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan.


Proper procedures for management, disposal, and minimization of chemical waste can be found in the Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide. Research Safety is responsible for picking up hazardous waste. All requests for pickup must be made through Lumen.

Chemical Spills

Chemical spills, while preventable, do occur in research laboratories and Research Safety provides training and supplies to safely clean up small, manageable spills.

If there is a chance of fire or dangerous reactivity from the spill: evacuate the building and dial 911 from a safe location.