Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Safety First

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY USE PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

Safety Culture and the Safety Orientation training (recorded sessions featuring EHS) should be taken by all faculty and students conducting research in CEAT laboratories. 
Directions for enrolling are as follows:
     -Logon to Online Classroom (https://online.okstate.edu/) with your Okey Username and Password
    
-From your Online Classroom home page, select the "Self-Registration" link at the top of the page.
     -Scroll down and select the “STW_CEAT_Safety- Safety Orientation” and/or the "STW_CEAT_ Safety- Intro
      to Safety Culture" link(s) from the list of courses.
     -From the "Description" page select "Register" in the bottom right corner of the box.
     -Verify that your information is correct in the "Registration Form" box. Then select "Submit".
     -The confirmation box will now appear and you are registered for the course. Select "Ok".
    
-If there are registration questions, contact Amber Coker at amber.coker@okstate.edu.
     -Upon successful completion of the course, a certificate will be emailed to the students.

         Forward this email to shelley.potter@okstate.edu

Laboratory Access Procedure

  1. All students should read OSU Laboratory Safety Manual, review and sign Safety Contract form.  File a copy in laboratory manual where you will be working and bring one to Lab Manager.
  2. Visit Environmental Health Sciences Website http://ehs.okstate.edu/
    • Go through the training module, http://ehs.okstate.edu/node/77/, and take the HAZARD COMMUNICATION quiz
    • Print certificate, sign and take to the Lab Manager (Shelley Potter).
  3. Obtain signature of Lab Manager and take form to Office Manager to obtain lab keys.

Continuous Safety Training

All graduate students - and undergraduate students who are assigned to a laboratory project or desk - are required to attend a "Hazardous Communication Training Seminar” and a “Chemical Engineering Safety Seminar".  Attend annual training sessions.  These presentations are scheduled as part of the CHE 6010 seminar series.  Further, regular safety information is provided throughout the academic year in the form of short presentations or written email bulletins.

Safety Inspection

    Regular safety inspections of each laboratory are conducted.  The Laboratory Manager and one faculty member comprise the safety inspection team.  Graduate students must maintain their laboratories in a condition that will pass this inspection.  Any problems in the laboratory will be noted on a Laboratory Inspection Survey form and submitted to the individual student and the faculty advisor charged with responsibility for the equipment or laboratory area.  The student is required to confer with his/her advisor and to correct the reported problems, then furnish a report to the Laboratory Manager.  The Laboratory Manager will maintain records of these reports.  You are expected to take prompt action to correct any problems.

    Labs are inspected randomly by safety representatives from EHS and other outside auditors so it is imperative that the labs are maintained according to the safety directives.

    Posted Safety Procedures

    A set of safety procedures must be posted in each laboratory.  If the laboratory you occupy does not have such safety procedures posted (or the posted procedures are out of date), you should immediately contact the professor in charge of that lab and develop a set of safety procedures to post.

    Safety Goggles/Glasses

    State and Federal laws state that all persons (including visitors) are required to wear approved goggles (Type No. 2, USA Standard Practice) in all laboratories in which the following conditions exist:

    • Melting, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding, or stamping of any solid material
    • Gas or electric arc welding
    • Experiments which involve caustic, acidic, or explosive materials, hot liquids or solids, or injurious radiations
    • Other hazards not enumerated

    If, at any time you are in doubt whether goggles are required or not, ask your advisor.  If goggles are required, you are to purchase your own.  The laboratory manager will indicate the approved type.

    Laboratories

    The following considerations apply to the operations in our individual two- or four-person laboratories in CHE.

    1. Doors: You must not cover the windows in the laboratory doors.  We respect your desire for privacy; however, your safety is our first concern.  In the event of an emergency in your laboratory, a person passing by must be able to see into the laboratory in order to observe the problem through your window and be of assistance.
    2. Security: The laboratories contain valuable equipment, documents and personal property.  Always lock the door whenever you leave the laboratory, even for a brief period. Upon the completion of your research program, your key must be returned to the Administrative Support Specialist.
    3. Lights: The lights in the laboratories should be turned off while laboratories are not occupied, particularly at night.  There are, of course, cases where a continual source of light is necessary for the work being conducted.
    4. Visitors: Your lab is a work/study area and should always be maintained as such.  Please do not have guests in the lab while experimentation is underway, others are studying, or if teaching assistance is being given.  At no time should several people congregate in the laboratories to "visit," nor should there ever be any form of "horse-play."  Please help us maintain a safe, professional environment in our laboratories.
    5. Windows: The lab windows should be kept closed at all times for energy conservation and to prevent rain and wind damage to documents, instruments, and the building.
    6. Eating, Drinking and Use of Tobacco in Laboratories: In all laboratories eating and drinking is not allowed if chemicals are present.
    7. All forms of tobacco use are prohibited on OSU campus.  Everyone is expected to comply at all times with this policy on tobacco use.
    8. Fume Hoods: The primary purpose of a fume hood is to provide an area where you can handle hazardous materials safely.  In some of the laboratories it is necessary to temporarily store chemicals or place an experiment in the hood.  There are a few simple rules to follow to ensure that the hoods function properly:
      • When handling hazardous materials, use the area six inches back from the sash,
      • Place all containers two or three inches from back wall,  Place large containers in the center of the hood,
      • Keep the sash closed when not in use.
    9. House Cleaning: CHE follows the policy that students and technicians are responsible for maintaining their own laboratories in a neat and orderly condition.  This housekeeping method is employed (instead of the use of custodial services) in order to protect the laboratory equipment and maintain security.  When wastebaskets in the lab become full, they should be placed in the hall outside the laboratory for overnight pickup by the janitorial services on Tuesday / Thursday evenings.
    10. Clothing: No open-toed shoes or shorts should be worn in our laboratories.  The question of protection of arms and legs by use of long pants, coveralls, aprons, or other attire must be discussed by each student working in our laboratories with the research project advisor.

    Chemical Inventory

    A current Chemical Inventory should be maintained in the laboratory at all times.  As new chemicals are received they should be written on the Inventory and presented to the Lab Manager when monthly laboratory inspections occur.  If chemicals are used up and will not be replaced, it should also be noted.

    Handling Chemicals

    As you would expect, chemicals are utilized extensively in our research programs. The following policies are designed to make their use as safe as possible.

    1. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS): You must have one for every chemical in your lab.  You must read and understand the MSDS for every chemical you use.  MSDS for most chemicals are also kept on file in 421 EN.  Before using or transporting any chemicals, you should obtain the MSDS for that material and read and understand the potential dangers associated with that chemical.
    2. Flammable Chemicals: Extreme care must be used when working with flammable chemicals.  You should always check on the flammability (and toxicity) of any chemical you use -- before you use it.  Never heat open containers of flammable liquids over flames or on hot plates.  Also realize that the vapors from such liquids can travel across the room and be ignited by sources (electrical plugs and switches, etc.), which are far removed from the experiment.  Consult your advisor for appropriate safety procedures to use when dealing with flammable substances.
    3. Transportation of Hazardous Chemicals: Care and consideration must be given to transporting certain chemicals from laboratory to laboratory or across campus.  Pressurized gas cylinders must be moved only on the special dolly designed for this purpose.  Cylinders should not be rolled across the floor nor transported in an automobile.  If the top valve is accidentally knocked off of a high-pressure cylinder, an uncontrolled rocket will result (even if the pressurized gas is nothing more than air).  Of course, the need to carefully transport a toxic substance is even greater.  Glass containers of bases, acids, liquid nitrogen, and similar substances are best moved by placing the glass container inside a plastic bucket to minimize breakage and to control spillage in the event of a leak.  If you have questions regarding how to move a material, see your advisor or the Laboratory Manager.
    4. Disposal of Chemicals: The proper disposal of chemical wastes is a major concern to the University.  If you have chemical waste material that must be discarded, please consult with the Laboratory Manager for appropriate methods.  Under no circumstances are you to dispose of chemicals by pouring them down the sinks or drains in the lab or in the restrooms.  Chemical wastes should be placed in an appropriate container labelled specifically for disposal purposes.  The label is to contain details about the chemical(s) to be disposed.  When necessary to be removed, you need to fill out a Chemical Removal Request form obtained by clicking the following link, ehs.okstate.edu/node/42/, and submit to the Laboratory Manager.  Our laboratory manager coordinates chemical disposal with the OSU Physical Plant.

      Do not leave any unlabeled containers or bottles of chemicals in your laboratory. These so-called "mystery bottles" can cause considerable concern and expense.  When someone moves into your laboratory and finds unlabeled material, a very difficult (and potentially expensive) decision must be made about its contents, use, and disposal.

    5. Gas Cylinders: Compressed gas cylinders used in the laboratories require special attention and training.  Make sure you received training on Compressed gas cylinders.  Always move the gas cylinders with the caps in place and use the special dolly designed for cylinder transport.  Gas cylinders in the laboratory must always be securely strapped to a bench, wall, or appropriate structure. 

      Click on the following webpage for a compressed gas safety module and quiz: ehs.okstate.edu/content/online-training

    6. Toxic Chemicals: Special precautions have to be taken for toxic chemicals.  For example, Mercury is a very hazardous chemical.  All mercury used in your laboratory work must be checked out from the Laboratory Manager.  Should you have any spillage or if any mercury becomes contaminated such that it is not suitable for use, you are to advise the Laboratory Manager at once.  No mercury is to be disposed of in any way other than by returning it to the Laboratory Manager.

      Hydrogen sulfide is very toxic and demands extreme attention and care.  Please inform your advisor and the School Head before you begin any use of H2S.  You must arrange to have at least one other person nearby and informed of your use in case assistance is required.  In fact, this is a good practice for all experimental operations involving any sort of hazards.  A sensing device is available from the storeroom to detect the level of H2S if you are concerned or suspect its presence.  Speak with your advisor about the need for a breathing apparatus, continuous monitor, and signs regarding the use of H2S.

      Follow similar precautions for other toxic chemicals.

    Equipment

    Most labs will contain significant amounts of valuable equipment for use in experimental research. The following information pertains to the proper use of these items.

    1. Manuals: For the convenience of all users, operational manuals and instructions are to be maintained with the appropriate equipment and instruments.
    2. Removal of Equipment: There will be times when you must transfer equipment, instruments or tools from one laboratory to another.  Never remove anything from another laboratory without first obtaining approval of the faculty in charge of that particular laboratory and informing the Lab Manager.
    3. Tools: You may require tools and instruments to conduct your research activities.  Some tools are also kept in 421 EN and can be checked out.  You are responsible for maintaining the tools and instruments in a satisfactory condition and for their security.  The borrowing of tools and instruments without checking with the Laboratory Manager is not permitted.  At the conclusion of your research project, you must turn in all tools, equipment and instruments to the Laboratory Manager.  Missing items must be paid for or replaced in an appropriate manner.
    4. Maintenance of Equipment and Instruments: If you have equipment items or instruments in your laboratory under regular use in your research, please see that they are properly maintained.  If there is a breakdown or malfunction of any item, you should repair it or have it repaired immediately. Under no circumstances should you have an inoperative item in the laboratory for someone else to come along later and face the problem of repair.  Get the item fixed immediately or take it to the Laboratory Manager for repair or disposal.

    Graduation Clearance Procedure.

    To better control the state in which laboratories and equipment are left after graduate students complete their projects, the following clearence procedure is enforced.

    • Arrange with your major advisor and the Laboratory Manager for laboratory and/or office inspection
    • Turn in keys, equipment, instruments, books, reports and all other borrowed items
    • Obtain clearance signatures from the Laboratory Manager, Administrative Support Specialist, and School Head
    • Return the ChE Department Graduation Clearance Form to the Laboratory Manager

    An indefinite hold will be placed on a student’s graduation until the checkout procedure is completed.

    REPORTING ACCIDENTS

    Accidents will occur no matter how much care is taken.  Find out now how to report any sort of emergency (fire, ambulance, police).  Also locate the nearest water safety showers, eyewashes, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits.

    To report an emergency, use a regular telephone and dial number 911.  In Engineering North, another alternative is to use one of the two blue emergency telephone boxes located in the center of the 3rd and 4th floor hallways.  These emergency boxes are to be used only for that purpose.  Of course fires may be reported by activating the alarm boxes that are located at several points on each floor.

    In an emergency you are expected to use some judgment as to the procedures to follow.  The faculty in charge of the research in your laboratory must be informed immediately of any accident that occurs, no matter how small.  The faculty or School Head should never receive the first information about an accident from an outside source, i.e., the news media or even Safety and Security.