Welcome to the Department of Chemistry Laboratory Safety Manual.
Academic chemistry laboratories are potentially very dangerous places. Considering the turnover of hundreds of students who must be taught to handle toxic, flammable and explosive compounds often under abnormal conditions of temperature and pressure, it is obvious that there is little margin for error or carelessness even in the undergraduate teaching laboratories. In the research laboratories many operations require pushing the handling of unknown materials or high powered equipment to extreme limits.
However, long experience within the discipline of chemistry has proved that, with appropriate foresight and care, almost any kind of a chemical experiment can be carried out without an accident. The keys to safe operations in the chemistry laboratory are:
Regarding the above:
An additional detailed source, "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals" prepared by the National Research Council has been purchased by the Duke Chemistry Department for distribution to each research group. This should be kept on the desk of the group Safety Officer for ready reference.
Also each research group has been given a copy of Duke University's Chemical Hygiene Plan. This plan includes an Introduction to the Hazard Communication Standard, the Laboratory Standard, the University Hazardous Waste Policy, A Guide to the Safe Use of Peroxide-Forming Compounds, and laboratory inventory lists of toxic substances and carcinogens.
The present safety manual is a short, ready reference to some of the most common and immediate dangers and also the rules and procedures for reacting to emergencies in this Department. It is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of laboratory safety.
[This page was last revised for French Family Science Center on 08/07//09.]
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