Lab Safety Manual

   Civil and Environmental Engineering
Safety Policy:
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Windsor is committed to protecting the health and safety of its employees, students and visitors.
1.  Supervisor
A person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario (OH&S Act of Ontario. Sec. 1). A faculty member is deemed to be the supervisor for a graduate student under his/her supervision. Course instructors are considered supervisors for the undergraduate laboratories associated with that course.
2.   Laboratory Worker
This includes all individuals who perform procedures in a laboratory including students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty members and staff members. Some of these individuals may also have supervisory functions.
3.   Hazardous Agent
Any physical, chemical, radioactive, or biological agent or substance which may cause harm to those exposed.
4.   Hazard
Any physical situation with the potential to cause harm.
Supervisor’s Responsibilities
The Supervisor has overall safety responsibility for the students under his/her direction. Regular formal safety and housekeeping inspections shall be conducted by the Supervisor (along with the University of Windsor Safety Officer when applicable) and records of these inspections will be kept on file.
The Supervisor is responsible for the following prior to any work being performed by a new laboratory worker:
(a)  ensuring that an appropriate safety orientation lecture has been given to workers when they are first assigned to a laboratory space or prior to the starting of their experimental work;
(b)  ensuring that workers are aware of safety rules; and
(c)  providing a copy of this Safety & Health Manual to the worker, and ensuring that he/she reads through the manual carefully before starting any experimental work.
(d)  ensuring that the worker has taken WHMIS training at the Chemical Control Centre (B-37 Essex Hall) before handling hazardous materials.
(e)  ensuring that the worker has taken other training as required for the task that she/he is going to perform. For example, special training may be required for handling and storage of gasoline, diesel, compressed and/or combustible gases.
(f)  ensuring that the worker has appropriate safety gear (eg. lab coat, eye protection, gloves and appropriate footwear, etc.).
(g)  consideration of the health and safety aspects of the experimental work in the development of the experiment. This includes the materials used, storage and disposal of materials.
In addition, the Supervisor is responsible for the following:
(h) ensuring that adequate emergency equipment in proper working order is readily available (with the exception of building systems such as eyewash, safety shower, etc) and is being used properly;
(i)  including safety as an agenda item at all regular meetings.
(j)  ensuring that an accident/incident investigation report is completed for every accident or incident which occurs in her/his lab;
(k) ensuring that an appropriate alternate is appointed as Supervisor when the laboratory Supervisor is absent; and
(l)  ensuring that appropriate cautionary signs are posted and maintained.
Laboratory Worker’s Responsibilities
Laboratory workers must:
(a)  participate in safety training
(b)  use protective safety equipment as recommended by the supervisor or product labelling.
(c)  wear appropriate clothing (eg. no open-toed shoes in laboratory, no loose clothing).
(d)  confine hair that reaches the shoulders (remember that hair is very flammable and is easily caught in rotating machinery).
(e)  do not remove safety devices (shielding, guards, etc.) on equipment.
(f)   read operating instructions or ask for training by the technician or supervisor before operating any equipment.
(g)  report hazards and accidents to the supervisor and laboratory technician.
(h)  contact lenses will not be worn in the laboratory when vapours or fumes are present.
General Principles
Good laboratory practice requires that every laboratory worker and Supervisor observe the following:
(a)  Laboratories shall comply with all applicable legislation.
(b)  No “horseplay” is allowed in the laboratory.
(c)  Do not consume food and beverages in the lab. Laboratory refrigerators are not to be used for food or drink.
(d)  Use equipment for its designed purpose.
(e)  Know the location and correct use of all available safety equipment including the telephone.
(f)   Know the location of all emergency exits, first aid stations and spill kits.
(g)  Know the location of the designated first aider for the laboratory. If a medical emergency occurs between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m (until 6 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday), call the Campus Police Emergency Response Team at Ext. 4444.
(h) Determine potential hazards and appropriate safety precautions before beginning new operations and confirm that existing safety equipment is sufficient for this new procedure.
(i) Avoid disturbing or distracting another worker while she/he is performing a laboratory task.
(j)  Ensure visitors to the laboratory are equipped with appropriate safety equipment, and/or, the laboratory is safe before allowing visitors to enter.
(k) Keep lab doors closed when they are unoccupied to ensure that ndividuals who are not laboratory workers cannot enter.
(l)  Remove disposable gloves and wash hands before leaving the laboratory.
Basic Safety
1.  Unattended Procedures
An unattended procedure is a process or piece of equipment which is left operating when no one is in the lab. As a general principle unattended procedures should be kept to a minimum. An unattended procedure should be visited periodically and a sign posted outlining the procedure with the name, location and phone number of a contact person. The sign should indicate the date and time the procedure was commenced and when it is expected to be completed.  Unattended procedures involving combustion, explosion or flame are not permitted.
2.  Working Alone
Someone should always be within calling distance when a laboratory procedure is being performed. See the Laboratory Policy on After-Hours Operations.
3.   Housekeeping
(a)   Work areas must be kept clean and free of obstructions.
(b)   Walkways and aisles in laboratories must be kept clear.
(c)   Access to emergency equipment or exits must never be blocked.
(d)   Spilled chemicals must be dealt with immediately and if safe cleaned up by the chemical user. If unsure about the procedure, contact the Chemical Control Centre at Ext. 3524 from 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
4.  Systems under Pressure
(a)  Never heat or carry out a reaction in a closed vessel unless it is designed or tested to withstand the expected pressure of the reaction.
(b)  Pressurized equipment must have an appropriate pressure release valve.
(c)  Pressurized equipment must be shielded, guarded, or designed to protect the operator against potential explosions.
5.  Electrical Equipment and Apparatus
(a)  All electrical installations must conform to the provisions of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and the Canadian Electrical Code.
(b)  All electrical equipment must be CSA approved or be approved by the Ontario Electrical Safety Authority.
(c)  Use ground fault circuit interrupters where there is a risk of an operator coming in contact with water and electrical equipment simultaneously.
(d)  Only trained, qualified personnel may repair or modify electrical or electronic equipment.
(e)  Keep alert for developing safety hazards as exhibited by unusual noise, unusual vibration, unusual high temperature areas on the equipment, unusual data trends, smoke, flame, etc.
6.  Hazardous Materials
(a)   All containers of materials in a lab should be properly labelled according to WHMIS regulations.
(b)   Material Safety Data Sheets shall be available in the laboratory for all of the hazardous materials stored and used in the lab.
(c)  Use a fumehood to minimize exposure to hazardous materials where possible.
(d)  Never pipette material by mouth.
(e)  Store and dispose of all laboratory materials (chemicals, glassware, equipment) properly.
(f)  Compressed Gas Cylinders
(g)  All gas cylinders, empty or full, must be properly secured so they cannot be knocked over. Cylinders with safety caps in place may be secured together. All others must be secured separately.
(h)  Compressed gas cylinders should be transported capped and chained on appropriate carts.
(i)   Always wear eye protection when working with compressed gases.
(j)   Always use the appropriate regulator for the gas being used. The regulator should be inspected each time before use, as recommended by the manufacturer. Note: failure of either the diaphragm or the regulator can occur unexpectedly. Be prepared. When opening the main valve of a compressed gas cylinder, do not stand over the main valve or behind or in front of the pressure gauge(s).
(k)  Ensure the tubing and the apparatus downstream from the regulator are designed to withstand the pressure intended to be delivered. The tubing and other components should also be chemically resistant to the gas being used.
(l)  Never use PTFE (Teflon) tape, other lubricants or sealant when installing a regulator. The recommendation of commercial gas suppliers is that regulator fittings in good condition do not require additional sealants.
(m) Ensure all installations are designed to prevent the hazardous combination of gases except as required by the use.
(n)  Take appropriate precautions to prevent exposure of yourself or others to the other hazardous properties of the gas which is being used.
(o)  Compressed gas cylinders have a finite shelf life. Ensure that cylinders are regularly inspected. Any cylinder which is corroded or has damaged valve components should be returned to the supplier. All cylinders older than ten years should be returned to the manufacturer.
(p)  Flammable and Combustible Materials
(q)  Use a flame only as long as necessary and extinguish it when the procedure is completed.
(r)  Remove all flammable and combustible materials from the work area before lighting a flame.
(s) Notify all others in the lab and note any procedure using flammable and combustible gases and liquids before lighting a flame.
(t)  Store all flammable and combustible materials properly.
(u) Open the windows and/or operate the exhaust fan whenever appropriate. Do not carry out procedures involving flames if exhaust fans are not operable.