Department Of Chemical Engineering :: Unit Operations Laboratory

Safety Guidelines

Safety is an important consideration when working in the lab. Even if your experiment does not have an apparent safety hazard, another group may be working on an experiment with gases at high pressure, hot fluids, or toxic chemicals. The following safety rules apply to all experiments in the Unit Operations Lab. Some experiments may require additional safety precautions. Make sure to check the safety manual for individual experiments!

Personal Protective Equipment Required for All Experiments

  • Hardhat
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Long pants
  • Insulated gloves when working with steam
Some experiments require additional safety equipment. Consult the safety manual for each experiment before the lab!

Safety Guidelines Common for All Experiments

  1. Understand every part of the equipment before starting the experiment.
  2. Think carefully before you operate the equipment.
  3. Check Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all chemicals involved in the experiment.
  4. Follow operating instructions and use checklists posted on the course website.
  5. All electronic devices (including computers, cell phones, and calculators) must be turned off during laboratory operations.
  6. Contact lenses should not be worn in the lab.
  7. Mechanical pipetting devices must be used; pipetting by mouth is not allowed.
  8. In experiments involving steam (TFE, CD, and BD), keep the water on while the steam is on.
  9. Be aware that floors are slippery when wet and should be kept as dry as possible by pushing excess water into the gutters with a squeegee.
  10. Do not play around.
  11. No food or drink in the lab. If needed, get your TA’s permission to have a snack in the hallway.
  12. Pick up all trash and other materials and dispose of properly. Recycling containers are vailable for plastic, cans and paper.
  13. Wash hands before leaving for the day.
  14. Remember the basic rules for chemicals:
    • Don’t get them on your skin;
    • Don’t breathe the fumes;
    • Don’t eat them;
    • Don’t expose them to any combustion source.
  15. Go through the checklist before starting a new experiment
  16. Follow additional safety guidelines for individual experiments.

Chemical Spill Clean up

  1. All spills must be cleaned up by all members of the group most directly responsible for the spill.
  2. Your TA and lab supervisor must be notified.
  3. All group members must remain in the lab until the spill is cleaned up.
  4. Small spills may be absorbed using Kimwipes. Make sure you wash your hands immediately after cleanup.
  5. Larger spills must have absorbent put on them.
    • Absorbent is in the large trash cans labeled “Spill control”.
    • Put enough material on the spill so it does not spread out.
    • Stir the material into the spill until it is absorbed.
  6. The absorbent must be removed and placed in doubled trash bags with a hazardous waste label properly filled out. Bags and labels are available in Room 118.
  7. When the bag is filled put it on top of the waste barrels, under the black cover , for pickup by EHS.
  8. If there is a large spill such as a drum or tank rupture evacuate the area and notify the TA, Supervisor, and the Main Office.
  9. Do not touch the chemicals with your hands and make sure you wash your hands and arms after spill control is finished.