Safety procedures for labs
" Promoting a safe, healthy and environmentally sound surrounding is the responsibility of all staff and students. "
These guidelines explain responsibilities and duties that students accept when they commence work in science laboratories. Laboratories contain equipment or substances that have potential to cause injury or diseases. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, University has the responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and to provide training, information and supervision to all students and staff who work in a laboratory.
UTS: Science is committed to providing safe and healthy workplace for students, staff and visitors and adopts a socially responsible approach towards protecting and sustaining the environment.
Students should watch the 3-minute Escape from UTS video that show students how to evacuate University buildings in the event of a fire or other emergency.
The accident or illness webpage provides information on who to contact if first aid is required, you see a hazard or risk, an accident happens at UTS or other assistance is needed.
All staff, students and visitors are responsible for the Environmental, health and Safety legislative compliance by:
Look out for hazards, report them to the supervisor of the work area.
Take action to avoid, eliminate or minimise risks.
Follow safe work methods and use personal protective equipment as required.
Seek information or advice as necessary, particularly before carrying out new or unfamiliar work.
Report accidents and incidents to the supervisors of the work area.
Contact Security (dial 6) to report emergencies.
Dispose of hazardous wastes in a safe and approved manner.
Do not willfully risk the health, safety and welfare of others.
Exercise a duty of care towards others in all activities.
General teaching lab rules
Students are not allowed into a laboratory unless a supervisor is present (applicable to Undergraduate student only).
Smoking, eating and drinking are banned in the laboratory.
Students with long hair must be tied back or at least tucked securely inside lab coats.
Mobile phones are to be switched off in laboratories.
The laboratory is a place for serious work, therefore irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated.
Only work as instructed. If you do not understand something, please ask your supervisor.
Do not sit on laboratory benches.
Do not place objects, for example, pens, pencils and labels in mouth.
Mouth pipette of liquids is banned. A rubber bulb or teat, or other type of pipette filler device must be used at all times.
All needles, scalpel blades and other items that may stab or cut the skin must be placed in special sharps containers in the laboratory, never in the normal waste bin.
Flammable liquids such as ether, methanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, acetone and light petroleum must never be used near a naked flame.
Bunsen burners must be lit with matches or a lighter; not with a lighted taper or burning paper.
Bunsen burners must be turned off when not in use.
Unauthorised experiments are forbidden.
Dangerous or irresponsible behaviour will result in instant exclusion from the lab session and a mark of zero recorded for that experiment.
Personal protective equipment
Long-sleeved, buttoned-up lab coats or gowns must be worn at all times in laboratories, unless instructed otherwise (based on supervisors risk assessment).
Safety glasses must be worn in the laboratory when harmful chemicals or any equipment with moving parts (centrifuge, vortex mixer, etc) is being used in the laboratory.
Substantial shoes must be worn otherwise you will be denied access to the practical class. The shoe should cover heels and toes, and low-heeled and non-slip (e.g. joggers). Thongs and many sandal styles are unsatisfactory and must not be worn in the labs.
Disposable gloves are available, if required. Wear gloves when requested by your supervisor.
Different substances have varying permeability through different types of gloves. Consult a supervisor for advice on the best type of glove to wear. Caution: Some people may have allergic reaction to latex.
Gloves must not be worn outside the laboratory areas or in the elevators or toilets.
Never continue to wear gloves that have come into contact with a hazardous chemical.
Protective face shields must be worn when working with liquid nitrogen or for possible exposure to ultra-violet light sources.
Cleaning up and hazards
At the end of the laboratory session, ensure that all equipment is left clean and tidy, including your bench space.
Remove gloves and lab coat before leaving labs. Place disposable gloves in the appropriate bin.
Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory.
If you discover a hazardous situation, report it to your supervisor as soon as possible. If you can safely fix the hazard, then fix it yourself.
Hazards must be reported verbally to your supervisor, lab manager or member of staff.
Reporting accidents and incidents
No accident is too small or minor. All accidents MUST be reported immediately to your supervisor, or laboratory manager.
An accident or incident report form will need to be filled out. These are available from the EHS resource kit in the laboratory.
Report all accidents and incidents immediately to your supervisor or a laboratory manager.
If harmful chemicals are splashed into the eyes or onto the skin, flush it immediately with lots of water.
Please note the location of the nearest safety shower.
All injuries, no matter how small or trivial must be reported to your supervisor.
There are a number of staffs with UTS Science who are trained first-aid officers. Check the hazard or first-aid poster on the door of the laboratory to find out who is the first-aid officer in your area. Security staffs are also trained as first-aid officers. The UTS Health Service on level 6, tower building will also provide first-aid.
An accident or incident report form must be completed once the first aid has been provided.
If there is possible exposure to a communicable disease (e.g. needlestick injury), report the incident immediately to your supervisor and go for a medical assessment as soon as possible.
All incidents involving exposure to blood and bodily fluids must be reported immediately to Safety and Wellbeing.
Emergency procedures with evacuation maps are posted outside lifts in the building and by the door of every laboratory.
In an emergency dial 6 (from internal UTS phones) or Free Call 1800 249 559