It is important
to know about the products and chemicals you are working with so you can protect yourself
from overexposure and know procedures to take in the event of an emergency. The Hazard Communication Standard
provides methods to identify potential chemical hazards.
on the label - it is there for a reason. Information found on a label may include:
chemical components, hazard or toxicity data, including a description of the hazard such
as flammable or corrosive, and routes of entry directions for proper use, storage,
handling, and disposal directions for treatment /first aid following accidental exposure
or misuse spill control procedures recommended protective equipment
exceptions every container in the lab area must be labeled with the manufacture label or
for secondary containers with a label giving the product or chemical name and hazard
identification. Hazards should be identified and rated by use of the NFPA diamond which give a numeric rating
from 0 (for minimal hazard) to 4 (very hazardous) for fire danger (in red), reactivity
potential (in yellow), health or toxicity (in blue), and any special hazard such as
radioactivity (noted in the white diamond). Labels on mixtures must have this information
for the five most predominant chemicals over 1% by volume. If the container is not
properly labeled, notify your instructor.
If you transfer
a substance into a container and use it immediately, you are not required to label it.
However, any time a container is left unattended, it must be labeled and should be sealed
or closed. Certain exceptions are allowed for multiple, small sample containers, which may
be placed in a designed, labeled area, these are "batch labeled" containers.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
are required to submit material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for products sold to the
University. MSDSs contain more detailed information than the label does. MSDSs also
contain a 24-hour emergency number should additional information be required.
An MSDS must be
readily available for every hazardous substance present in the work area. If one is not
available, ask your instructor or contact the NMSU office of Environmental Health and
Safety at 646-3327.
Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Diamond
The NFPA Diamond is a symbol system designed
for facilities to inform emergency responders of the types and quantities of hazardous
materials stored in a facility. Three of the four diamonds provide a rating of the hazards
in health (blue), flammability (red), and reactivity (yellow). The rating is from 0 (least
hazardous) to 4 (most hazardous). The fourth diamond (white) provides special information
such as radioactivity or water reactivity.
Basic laboratory safety rules are as
1. No running,
jumping, or horseplay is permitted in laboratories.
equipment, and samples should not be stored in chemical fume hoods or biological safety
cabinets because such storage can interfere with the effectiveness of the hood as a safety
biohazards, hazardous, and radioactive materials must be properly labeled and stored. Use
flammable and acid storage cabinets and explosion-proof refrigerators when required.
hallways, exits, and access to emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, safety
showers, and eyewash fountains must be kept clear.
5. No eating,
drinking, applying cosmetics, or smoking is allowed in the laboratory.
thoroughly wash your hands before eating or smoking, on completion of work, and after
7. Do not store
food or drinks in refrigerators, freezers, or containers designated for chemical,
biohazards, or radioactive storage.
gas cylinders must be secured at all times, including during transport and when empty.
Cylinder caps must be in place when the cylinder is not in use.
9. Do not work
alone in a laboratory if the procedures being conducted are deemed hazardous by the
instructor or laboratory supervisor. Assure that at least two people are present at all
times if a compound in use is highly toxic or of unknown toxicity.
coats and other protective clothing worn in the laboratory area are not to be worn outside
open-toed, or open-heeled shoes should not be worn in the laboratory.
12. Do not
pipette by mouth.
dispose of a hazardous, biohazardous, or radioactive substance down the drain or in the
trash unless you have been specifically authorized to do so by Radiation Safety Officer
(RSO) and/or EH&S.
material usage areas and animal facilities must have controlled access that is strictly
enforced. Laboratory areas should not be left unattended unless the area has been secured.
accidental exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or injection), injury, or spills
to your instructor immediately. Additional lab safety guidelines for chemicals are be
found in the NMSU Safety Lab Safety Guide
(via the web link or in a printed copy, which should be present in every laboratory).
OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogen Regulation
covers employees with occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious
exposure" means reasonably anticipated eye, skin, mucous membrane or
parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result
from the performance of an employee's duties.
infectious material" includes the following.
- synovial fluid
- peritoneal fluid
- saliva in dental
- pleural fluid
- amniotic fluid
- any body fluid
that is visibly contaminated with blood
- all body fluids
in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids
- any unfixed
tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead)
immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-containing cell or tissue cultures human organ culture
- HIV or hepatitis
B virus (HBV)-containing culture medium or other solutions
- blood, organs,
or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV, HBV, or other bloodborne
pathogens infectious to man
regulation does not cover students unless they are employees, students should follow the
precautions outlined by the regulation to ensure protection from potentially infectious
materials. These precautions include the following.
precautions should be observed to prevent contact with human blood or other potentially
infectious material. Universal precautions, developed by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, indicates that all human blood and certain body fluids should be treated
as if known to be infectious for HBV, HIV, and other bloodborne pathogens. When the
difference between body fluid types is difficult or impossible to determine, all body
fluids should be considered as potentially infectious materials.
should occur immediately or as soon as feasible after removal of gloves, after
contamination, and after contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.
3. Do not recap
or remove contaminated needles or other contaminated sharps. If recapping is required, use
a one-handed technique or mechanical device.
sharps should be placed in appropriate containers which are puncture resistant, labeled or
color-coded, and leak-proof on the sides and bottom.
drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses is
prohibited in areas where exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials may
6. Food or
drink should not be stored in areas where blood or other potentially infectious materials
should be used which minimize spraying, splashing, spattering, and generation of droplets
of infectious material.
8. Do not
pipette anything by mouth.
9. Specimens of
blood should be placed in a labeled or color-coded container which prevents leakage during
collection, storage, transport, or shipping. A secondary container should be used if the
primary is contaminated, punctured, or leaking.
equipment and working surfaces should be decontaminated after contact with blood or
potentially infectious material.
protective equipment should be used where the potential for exposure exists as follows:
- Gloves should be
worn when it can be reasonably anticipated that there will be hand contact with blood or
other potentially infectious material such as during phlebotomies and when handling or
touching contaminated items.
- Eye protection
such as goggles or face shields and masks should be wore together should be worn whenever
splashes of blood or other infectious material may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth
contamination can be reasonably expected.
- Gowns, aprons,
surgical caps or hoods and/or shoe covers should be worn when gross contamination can be
12. The type
and characteristics of this protective clothing will depend on the task and degree of
- All garments
should be removed as soon as possible if penetrated by blood or other potentially
infectious material. Do not take them home to wash them. Notify your instructor if
- All personal
protective equipment should be removed before leaving the work area and placed in a
who have the potential for exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials are
strongly encouraged to receive the hepatitis B vaccination series. Information regarding
obtaining vaccinations is available to you through your College.
14. .If an
exposure incident occurs, such as a needlestick or splash of blood, immediately flush the
wound or area with soap and water; flush mucous membranes with water or normal saline
solution. Immediately after washing or flushing, notify your instructor and Student Health
PPE Use Quick
is mandatory in all areas where there is potential for splash or injury. This applies not
only to persons who work continuously in these areas, but also to persons who may be in
the area only temporarily.
The type of eye
protection required depends on the hazard. For most chemical handling situations, safety
glasses with side shields are adequate. Where there is a danger of splashing chemicals,
goggles are required. For more hazardous operations, including conducting reactions which
have potential for explosion and using or mixing strong caustics or acids, a face shield
or a combination of face shield and safety goggles or glasses should be used.
recommended that contact lenses not be worn in the laboratory. The
reasons for this prohibition are as follows.
- If a corrosive
liquid should splash in the eye, the natural reflex to clamp the eyelids shut makes it
very difficult, if not impossible, to remove the contact lens before damage is done.
- The plastic used
in contact lenses is permeable to some of the vapors found in the laboratory. These vapors
can be trapped behind the lenses and cause extensive irritation.
- The lenses can
prevent tears from removing the irritant.
laboratory chooses to allow contact lenses to be worn, they must be protected by goggles
designed specifically for use with contact lenses. (The protective goggles for use with
contact lenses should fit loosely around the eyes and have no vents for access by vapors.)
vapors contact the eyes while wearing contact lenses, these steps should be followed.
remove the lenses.
flush the eyes for at least 15 minutes.
- Seek medical
glasses are adequate protection for the majority of laboratory operations, they are not
sufficient for certain specific operations where there is danger from splashes of
corrosive liquid or flying particles. Examples are: washing glassware in chromic acid
solution, grinding materials, or laboratory operations using glassware where there is a
significant hazard of explosion or breakage (i.e., in reduced or excess pressure or
temperature). In such cases, goggles or face shields must be worn if there is need for
protection of the entire face and throat.
If a splash of
a hazardous material in the eye occurs, the person should be assisted and taken to the
nearest eyewash fountain and the eyes should be flushed with water for at least 15
minutes. The laboratory supervisor or instructor should be notified and arrangements
should be made to provide medical assistance." Someone knowledgeable about the
incident should accompany the injured person to the medical facility and a copy of any
appropriate MSDS(s) should accompany the victim if hazardous materials are involved.
After use, eye
protection equipment should be cleaned prior to reuse.
researcher is wearing a laboratory coat, loose or torn clothing should be avoided due to
the potential for ignitability, absorption, and entanglement in machinery. Dangling
jewelry and excessively long hair pose the same type of safety hazard. Finger rings or
other tight jewelry which cannot be easily removed should be avoided because of the danger
of corrosive or irritating liquids producing skin irritation.
coats should be worn at all times in the laboratory area when infectious or chemical
hazards are present. Laboratory coats and other protective clothing worn in the laboratory
area must not be worn outside the laboratory. (This is to prevent blood, radiation, or
toxic chemicals contamination outside the controlled laboratory areas.)
Shoes must be
worn at all times in the laboratory. Sandals, open-toed shoes, and perforated shoes should
not be worn because of the danger of spillage of corrosive or irritating chemicals.
materials can be absorbed through the skin. Others, such as organic solvents can dissolve
the natural protective oils on the skin, leading to chapped and cracked skin and the
possibility of infection. Therefore, protective gloves must be worn when a potential skin
exposure exists or where there is a potential for accidental spills or contamination.
Gloves must be
selected for the task at hand. There is no glove currently available that will protect
against all chemicals. Read the label, MSDS, or literature provided by the glove
manufacturer to ensure that the proper glove has been chosen. General recommendations are
- For concentrated
acids and alkalis or organic solvents, natural rubber, neoprene, or nitrile gloves are
- For handling hot
objects, gloves made of heat-resistant materials should be available and kept near the
vicinity of ovens or muffle furnaces. A hot object should never be picked up with rubber,
plastic, or asbestos gloves.
insulated gloves should be worn when handling very cold objects such as liquid Nitrogen
(LN2), oxygen (LOX) or carbon dioxide.
use, gloves should be inspected for discoloration, punctures, and tears. Before removal,
non-disposable gloves should be thoroughly washed, either with tap water or soap and
If the gloves
become contaminated they should be removed and discarded as soon as possible. Always wash
your hands immediately after removing the contaminated gloves. Always remove gloves before
leaving the immediate work site to prevent contamination of door knobs, light switches,
and Plastic Aprons
in the laboratory, such as washing glassware, require the handling of relatively large
quantities of corrosive liquids in open containers. To protect clothing in such
operations, plastic or rubber aprons are to be supplied and used.
for chemical exposures is usually not required in the lab if adequate precautions are
taken. Where possible, engineering controls such as the use of fume hoods should be
utilized to minimize exposure. Please contact the Safety at 646-3327 if you are asked to
wear a respirator for chemical use, so we may determine the actual need for respirators
and, if so, assure compliance with all applicable regulations.
There are four
different types of fires:
- Type A -
ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and many plastics
- Type B -
flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and
- Type C -
energized electrical equipment, including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery
- Type D -
combustible metals such as magnesium and potassium
Most of the
fire extinguishers on our campus are ABC, which can be used on any of the above types of
fires except Type D. Be sure to not use a water fire extinguisher on a Type C (electrical)
Do not prop
fire doors or fire exits open. In the event of a fire, fire doors will automatically close
or open depending on their purpose.
In the event of
a fire, immediately call NMSU Police at 911.
not elevators to exit buildings.
If you choose
to use a fire extinguisher, remember
PASS (Pull, Aim,
the discharge toward the base of the flames
from side to side Do not aim the fire extinguisher directly onto the source, as it may
spread the flames.
|Be safe! Know in advance the
- where the fire
boxes are in your area
- where the exit
routes are in your area
- where the
extinguishers are located
are designed to flood the entire body in the event of a clothing fire or a major spill of
hazardous liquid. In either case, the victim should stand under the shower and activate
the shower by pulling on the handle. Flood the area of chemical contact for at least 15
minutes to be sure there is no residue of the chemical.
In the case of
a hazardous liquid spill, remove that portion of the clothing affected to reduce potential
contact while under the shower. To stop the flow of water, push the handle back up. After
using the safety shower, notify your instructor or laboratory supervisor as soon as
possible and obtain medical care immediately. Do not test safety showers without drains,
unless provisions such as buckets are provided.
If a individual
receives a chemical splash in the eyes, use the nearest eyewash for immediate and thorough
washing of the eyes. Push the handle down or use the foot pedal, then use your hands to
open the eyelids to ensure thorough flushing. Always flood the eyes for at least 15
minutes to be sure there is no residue of the chemical. To stop the flow of water, pull
the handle back or pull the foot pedal up. After thorough washing, notify your instructor
or laboratory supervisor and obtain medical care immediately, even if there appears to be
If a drain is
provided, eyewashes should be flushed frequently (before using chemicals, at least weekly)
to eliminate rust and other contamination and to ensure that the equipment is in working
General Lab Spill
Spills must be
reported to your instructor and cleaned immediately. Never assume gases or vapors do not
exist or are harmless because of lack of smell.
are defined as small chemical leaks that are detected early and present no immediate
danger to personnel or the environment. As a general rule, spills of 4 liters or less is
considered a minor spill, depending on the chemical(s) involved. For highly toxic,
reactive, or flammable materials, a spill of 1 liter or less may generally be considered a
minor spill. These spills can be safely corrected with the advice of knowledgeable
procedures are as follows.
- Know the
locations of the emergency shower and eyewash ahead of time.
- If the spilled
material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.
- Notify nearby
persons and evacuate as necessary. Protect yourself, then remove injured person(s) to a
safe place, if safe to do so.
- Close doors to
the affected area.
- If personnel are
contaminated, remove contaminated clothing. Flush skin/eyes with water at least 15
minutes. Forcibly hold eyelids open to ensure effective wash under eyelids. Make sure
chemicals have not accumulated in shoes. Obtain medical attention for the victim. See the section entitled, Medical
- Identify or
characterize the substance(s) involved. Refer to the MSDS for spill clean-up procedures.
Do not flush the spilled chemical to the floor or sink drains.
- Once the spill
is identified, if clean-up procedures can be handled safely by departmental personnel,
proceed with spill clean-up procedures and clean-up kits designated on the MSDS or in
departmental standard operating procedures.
- Contain the
spill by slowly sprinkling absorbent, starting at the edges, surrounding the spilled
material, and move toward the center of the spill.
- Collect residue,
place in container, and call EH&S at 646-3327 for disposal.
- Clean the spill
area with soap and water.
spills are defined as accidental chemical discharges that present an immediate danger to
personnel and/or the environment. In general, spills of greater than 4 liters or spills of
highly toxic, reactive, or flammable materials greater than 1 liter should be considered a
major spill. Under these circumstances, leave the spill site immediately and call for
help (call 911 and report it as an emergency chemical spill). Management of these spills is the responsibility of specially trained and equipped
procedures for major spills are as follows.
- Leave the spill
site immediately and call NMSU Police at 911. They will contact the Fire section,
Safety and other appropriate persons/departments.
- If the spilled
material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources if safe to do so.
- Close doors to
the affected area.
- Know the
locations of the emergency shower and eye wash ahead of time.
- Remove injured
persons, if safe to do so. Remove contaminated clothing. Flush skin/eyes with water at
least 15 minutes. Forcibly hold eyelids open to ensure effective wash under eyelids. Make
sure chemicals have not accumulated in shoes. Obtain medical attention for the victim.
- Isolate the
area. Do not allow re-entry.
- Assist response
personnel by providing requested information, including identification and quantification
of material spilled.
are odorless, colorless, and tasteless. A quantity as small as 1 milliliter can evaporate
over time and potentially raise levels in excess of allowable limits. Mercury is also
absorbed through the skin readily. Mercury poisoning from long-term exposure can cause
health effects such as emotional disturbances, unsteadiness, inflammation of the mouth and
gums, general fatigue, memory loss, and headaches. Therefore, mercury spills should be
addressed immediately. Contact EH&S at 646-3327 for clean up and disposal of mercury.
and mercury compounds are not allowed to enter the sanitary sewer or
wastewater discharge. It is not permitted in sinks or floor drains. Special spill
kits are commercially available to clean up small mercury spills. However in most cases
the laboratory will not have such a spill kit, so EH&S should be contacted at
If mercury has
been spilled on the floor, take extra precaution to not step in the area. Mercury can
absorb into leather readily and be a potential source of long-term exposure to the wearer.
Any exposure should be addressed by a medical facility.
circumstance is any person to dispose of a hazardous substance down the drain or in the
trash without prior approval from EH&S.
should be collected in separate containers by categories segregated such that spills or
leaks would remain isolated from other containers of wastes or chemicals. These categories
include but are not necessarily limited to:
- mercury wastes
chemicals wastes with high heavy metal contamination
laboratory does not have a chemical waste disposal system in place, notify your instructor
or contact Safety at 646-3327. Disposal of hazardous waste is provided,
contact EH&S for information on disposal
procedures and pickup requirements.
The disposal of containers that have
been used for chemicals, pesticides or radioactive materials is also limited under NMSU
policy. Contact EH&S for more information.
intended for disposal, whether contaminated or not, must be enclosed in a sharps
container. Never clip or recap needles before putting them in the sharps container. The
sharps container should be puncture-resistant, leak-proof on the sides and bottom, and
color-coded or labeled with the biohazard symbol. Untreated biomedical waste must be
collected in a red bag or other container labeled with the biohazard symbol.
biomedical waste must not be disposed of in the regular trash. All biomedical waste,
including sharps and syringes must be treated by incineration, steam sterilization, or
chemical disinfection before disposal in the municipal waste stream.
disinfection, but before disposal in the municipal waste stream, all treated biomedical
wastes should be enclosed in an unmarked outer bag that is not red or labeled with the
OF BROKEN GLASSWARE
glass requires special handling and disposal procedures to prevent injury to personnel.
Inspect all glassware before use. Do not use broken, chipped, starred or badly scratched
glassware. If it cannot be repaired, broken glass should be discarded.
potentially five types of broken glass that may be disposed in the NMSU waste stream. All
broken glass should be disposed of in a manner that will significantly reduce the
potential for injury.
- Food and
Beverage Glassware - Recycle or dispose in a rigid, puncture-resistant acceptable
container as described below.
Glassware - Contact EH&S at 646-3327 for appropriate procedures.
- Sharps with
Biological Contamination - Biologically contaminated needles, syringes, broken glass,
glass with sharp corners, and glass that has the potential to break such as microscope
slides, pipettes, test tubes or thin-walled vials must be placed in a closeable, puncture
resistant, leak-proof container that is red or labeled with a biohazard symbol. Untreated
sharps must be disposed of through EH&S.
with Chemical Contamination - Contact Safety for assistance with the disposal of the
residue and debris from the cleanup of a spill of a chemical substance. If chipped or
broken edges pose a significant hazard to the employee, then the glassware and chemical
may have to be disposed as a special hazardous waste.
or Disinfected Glassware - Dispose of in a rigid, puncture-proof containers as
glassware that may be contaminated with chemicals, blood, or other potentially infectious
materials should not be picked up directly with the hands. It should be removed using
mechanical means, such as a brush and a dust pan, tongs, or forceps.
used for broken glass disposal should be puncture-resistant containers. A metal or thick
plastic can or bucket with a sealing lid is ideal. If glassware is dry, a cardboard box
may be used if all seams and edges are sealed or taped. Wet broken glassware should be
dried, if possible, before disposal. If broken glass is wet, the cardboard boxes must be
lined with one or more puncture-resistant plastic bags and the edges should be taped.
the container in large letters with the words "CLEAN BROKEN GLASS" before
discarding in the solid waste stream. Limit quantities to approximately 5 to 10 pounds so
that lifting of the box will not create a situation that could cause back injury.
precautions should be used when responding to emergencies which provide potential exposure
to blood and other potentially infectious materials. See the section entitled, "Bloodborne Pathogens."
The use of
personal protective equipment (i.e., gloves, masks, and protective clothing) will provide
a barrier between the responder and the exposure source. For most situations in which
first aid is given, the following guidelines should be adequate.
- For bleeding
control with minimal bleeding, disposable gloves alone should be sufficient.
- For bleeding
control with spurting blood, disposable gloves, a gown, a mask, and protective eye wear
- For measuring
temperature or measuring blood pressure, no protection is required.
care has been administered, hands and other skin surfaces should be washed immediately and
thoroughly with warm water and soap. Hands should always be washed after gloves are
removed, even if the gloves appear to be intact.
If blood is
splashed onto the unprotected skin or mucous membranes of persons other than the victim,
wash the area with soap and water or flush the mucous membranes thoroughly. Immediately
after washing or flushing, notify your instructor and obtain medical assistance.
If you receive
any first aid, a nurse or physician should provide further examination and treatment. This
is to ensure that infection or other unseen injuries are addressed and treated.
emergency that involves blood is over, clean-up of blood may be required. Cleaning of
blood spills should be limited to those persons who are trained for the task. Do not
assume that Housekeeping personnel will clean up the spill. Notify NMSU Police or EH&S
to report the situation and they will assess the response needed.
follow in the event of an animal bite are as follows.
massage the wound and apply gentle pressure to encourage bleeding.
- Rinse the wound
under warm running water for 12 minutes and continue massaging the site.
- Wash the wound
and surrounding area with providone-iodine swabstick for 5 minutes; continue to rinse
- Pat the injury
dry using sterile gauze pads.
- Cover the wound
with a pad and secure it with gauze and tape.
- Seek medical
safety guidance on first aid in the lab are be found in the Safety
Lab Safety Guide.
Note that all animal use for research or teaching must be
approved by the IACUC committee.
If a major
injury occurs, medical assistance may be obtained by calling NMSU Police at 911. They will
contact the appropriate response parties.
minor injuries, including needlestick exposures, can be treated between the hours of 8:00
a.m. - 5:00 p.m. through the NMSU Student Health Center. Notify the staff of the injury or
needlestick and your student status. Care will be administered through Student Health
students may receive treatment at the nearest Emergency Room or students may choose to see
a private physician, but should be advised that these services may not be covered by
Student Health Services.
If you have any
questions or comments on the above, please feel free to contact EH&S.