Have a question?  Send me (Perry Cheung) an email and I will try my best to get you an answer.

General Lab Safety

Q: Is there a place where I can quickly find some information on a variety of different lab safety topics?

A: Yes, UCR EH&S has created a list of Fast Facts as a starting point for a variety of topics.

Q: I have very little experience working in a research lab, any advice?

A: Download the Prudent Practices (free download) and take a read. It is required in every research lab and contains a lot of helpful guidance.

Q: How do you operate the emergency showers and eyewash that is stored inside the wall?

A: Watch the following video to familiarize yourself these showers and eyewash.

Chemical Storage

Q: What kind of information needs to be on my chemical containers?

 A: All chemical containers need to be labeled with the chemicals and hazard type. Helpful stickers/tags can be easily made with Avery labels:

Q: How do I know what chemicals are incompatible and require segregation?

A: Contact EH&S if you have serious concerns, but there are many useful guides available online such as the following:

Waste Management

Q: How much does it cost my PI when I request for waste pickup?

A: It's FREE! There is no good reason not to request EH&S for waste pickup.

Q: How do I tell what is considered "hazardous" waste and then how should I properly dispose of it?

A: There are many useful guides that can help you determine the type of hazardous waste and how to deal with it:

Q:What kind of hazardous waste can I dump down the drain?

A: You CANNOT dump any hazardous waste in the drain. Unless it's safe to consume (i.e. drink or eat), then consider it hazardous.

Q: What if I treat it first, then can I dump it in the drain?

A: You are NOT allowed to perform any treatment yourself. This includes diluting your solutions or even neutralizing your solutions.

Q: When do I need a "sharps" container and when do I need a "broken glass" box?

A: Any uncontaminated broken glass must be placed in a box for broken glass and NOT in the trash can.  Any sharps (razors, needles, or non-glass sharps) must be collected in rigid red sharps containers labeled with the biohazard symbol (even if it's not biohazardous). Contact your LSO if you need the red sharps containers.

Q: What do I do with "broken glass" boxes?

A: Boxes should be taped closed with no possible leakage of any glass shards and can be picked up by custodial services. Purchase new "broken glass" boxes from Fisher or Storehouse.

Q: How do I dispose of contaminated broken glass or other sharp objects?

A: You will have to treat these items as hazardous waste and request pickup using WASTe. DO NOT mix in with the uncontaminated broken glass as this will result in the entire box being contaminated.  Keep and clearly label a separate container for contaminated broken glass and other sharps.  

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Q: What if my PI is unwilling to pay for PPE because it is no longer free?

A: UCOP requires that employers (faculty) to assess workplace hazards (LHAT) which necessitate the use of PPE and select PPE (LHAT) that properly fits (UCR PPE Program) each affected employee (lab personnel).

Q: What if my PI refuses to pay to launder my lab coats?

A: The departmental CHP requires that employers shall assure that all required personal protective equipment are maintained in a safe, sanitary condition. The campus storehouse offers a lab coat laundering service at a nominal fee for campus laboratories.

Q: What if my PI does nothing to address my safety concerns after I bring them up?

A: The PI in question needs to be reminded of the requirements under the departmental CHP. If nothing is being done, contact your PI's home departmental LSO or chairperson. If the issue is still unresolved, then I’ve included a link to EH&S hazard reporting tool to provide to students that have safety concerns.

Q: I need to bring my sample to another lab or user facility. Can I wear my gloves outside?

A: Contaminated gloves can not be worn outside the lab and should be removed prior to leaving. If your gloves are clean, we recommend a "1 glove" policy where your gloved hand holds your sample and your bare hand handles any doors or elevator buttons.

Q: Can I wear my lab coat outside?

A: Lab coats should not be worn in public areas such as offices or break rooms. If possible, you should fold up your lab coat and bring it with you. If you are simply going across the hall or traveling a short distance, you may continue wearing the lab coat. It is assumed that your lab coat does not itself pose a hazard concern (i.e. your lab coat is not itself contaminated), else you should launder your coat.

Safety Equipment

Q: What kind of spill kit(s) do I need in my lab?

A: The specific spill kit you need to have in your lab is specific to the materials being used. For example, if you use the following:

  • Acids - Baking Soda

  • Bases - Citric Acid

  • Others - Spill mats or spill pillows

  • Caution Tape for all spills

Q: Where can I find spill kits and supplies on campus?

A: UCR Storehouse sells a few items to get you started.

  • Kits

    • # 93380-001 - Spill control carry bag kit: good starter kit for spill control

    • # 57500-108 - 10 person First Aid kit: good starter First Aid kit

  • Polyethylene Plastic Tote Boxes

    • # 68705-140 - 12.5" x 8.5" x 4.5" : good for storing solvent bottles or containers

    • # 68705-143 - 21" x 15.5" x 5" : good for storing large bottles or containers or spill tray for vacuum pumps

  • Consumables

    • # 93380-020 - Universal sorbent pad: good for soaking up liquid spills for disposal

    • # 93380-025 - Disposable scoop: good for hazardous solid spill cleanup

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