Chemistry Safety Rules

PLU Chemistry Department General Lab Safety Rules

The chemistry laboratories at PLU can be safe and pleasant place to work. There is always a risk of accident or injury. The risk can be minimized if the safety rules below are strictly followed.

The following rules are our basic guidelines:

Personal Protective Equipment
  • Mandatory dress code:
    • Chemical splash goggles with indirect venting must be worn at all times.
    • A lab coat must be worn in the Open Lab at all times and elsewhere at the department’s discretion.
    • Shoes with a good sole that cover your entire foot must be worn at all times. No open toes, heels, or other exposed areas.
  • Confine long hair that might become a hazard.
  • Wear gloves for protection from acids, bases, and solvents when needed.
Chemical Hazard Management:
  • Read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheet before using any new chemical.
  • Know the hazards posed by different classes of chemicals such as flammables, corrosives, or oxidizers.
  • Treat every chemical as hazardous, especially if it is one with which you are unfamiliar. Don’t mix chemicals unless you have been explicitly instructed to do so.
  • A mixture should be considered at least as hazardous as its most hazardous component.
  • Never use any unlabeled substance.
  • Label all chemicals produced in the laboratory with, at least, the name of the compound, your name, the class number, and the date. Additional label information may be required in specific courses.
  • Perform all reactions involving dangerous or unpleasant smelling chemicals in a fume hood.
  • Exercise great care in noting the odor of fumes and avoid breathing fumes of any kind
  • Avoid contact between the skin and any chemical. Wash promptly if a chemical contacts the skin.
  • Empty and rinse all glassware before returning it to the stockroom.
  • Put all chemical wastes into the proper container.
  • Always wash well with soap and water when leaving the laboratory.
In case of fire, accident, or exposure to a hazardous substance, notify the instructor at once
  • Know where to find and how to use the safety equipment provided in the laboratory
Laboratory Access:
  • Students must never work unsupervised or outside of regularly scheduled hours.
  • Never perform unauthorized experiments.
  • When a student designs an experiment, a professor must initial the written experimental design.
Other Codes of Conduct:
  • Never engage in horseplay, pranks, or practical jokes because they may distract, startle, or confuse another student.
  • Food and beverages are not allowed in any laboratory or work area.
  • Headphones and cell phones are not allowed in lab.
  • Smoking is not allowed in Rieke Science Center. Open flames of any type are forbidden outside designated areas
  • “Leave No Trace” Policy:  Clean your bench-top.  Put all chemical wastes into the proper container. Replace caps on containers, dispose of used pipets and weighing paper, and clean up any spilled substances. Empty and rinse all glassware before returning it.
Keep Chemical Dispensing Hoods, Waste Collection Areas, the Balance Room and Your Work Area Clean.