Chemical Lab Safety

Chemical lab safety pertains to the storage, handling and disposal of hazardous materials.  Since safety information varies based on the hazards present, it’s important for researchers to know how to identify/assess hazardous materials.

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Condition of Chemical Containers

Labs should be checking the condition of their chemical containers on a routine basis.Over time, chemical containers may deteriorate and become a hazard in the chemical storage areas.

Chemical Segregation and Storage Compatibility

Since many of the hazardous materials can react to form a greater hazard, chemical segregation and storage compatibility is essential to safety inside the lab.Although the use of secondary containers to segregate chemical hazards in the same cabinet is sufficient, ideally it would be best to segregate hazards in different cabinets if storage space is available in the lab.

Hazards to keep in mind:

  • Particularly Hazardous Substances (PHS)
  • Flammables
  • Corrosives
  • Peroxide Forming Chemicals (PFC)
  • Pyrophorics
  • Water Reactives

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Certification

Fume hoods are certified on an annual basis by EH&S.  We use an anemometer to determine the average exhaust air flow rate by taking nine measurements across the opening of the fume hood and verify the direction of air flow by dragging a tissue across the opening of the hood.

To schedule an certification, please email fumehoods@ehs.ucla.edu.

Fume Hood Alarm

Fume hood alarms are installed on every fume hood and maintained by Facilities.  There is a small hole/vent on the face of the alarm that senses the air flow passing through the alarm itself.  When the alarm sounds, it’s indicating the fume hood has insufficient exhaust air flow and should not be used.

For trouble with Fume hood alarms, call Facilities Trouble Call at 310-825-9236.

Why is Hazardous Waste Management Important?

  • Hazardous waste is strictly regulated by state/federal organizations and it’s the responsibility of the lab to ensure compliance with these regulations. The EH&S Hazardous Waste Management Program allows hazardous waste generators to comply with the regulatory requirements while continuing to conduct research work.
  • Another reason to point out the significance of managing your hazardous waste appropriately is because the EH&S Hazardous Waste Team handles your waste after it leaves the lab.

Read Full Details for the following:

  • Labeling Requirements
  • Waste Accumulation & Storage Guidelines
  • Disposing of Hazardous Waste in a lab
  • Waste Transportation