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Course & Subject Guides

Chemical Safety - Oakland Campus

This guide is designed primarily to support the chemical safety education effort of the Department of Chemistry on the Oakland campus, but it should be useful to anyone working with chemicals at the University of Pittsburgh.

Basic Guidelines

Anyone working in a laboratory should be familiar with and abide by certain standards of behavior and practice. This is not a complete list, and your lab instructor will probably give you guidelines, but for example:

  • No eating, drinking, food, or beverages in the lab.
  • Wear appropriate eye protection in the lab at all times.
  • Dress appropriately to protect your skin from accidental spills or splashes, e.g., long pants, no open-toed shoes or sandals. Avoid clothing loose enough to catch on equipment, knobs, handles, etc. Pull back loose hair. Don't wear your best clothing in the lab.
  • Never work alone.
  • Know where the safety equipment, first aid kits, eyewashes, and safety showers are located and how to use them.
  • Know how to contact help if needed.
  • Remain alert to what is going on around you.
  • No goofing around or jostling.
  • Dispose of chemical and other waste properly.

In addition to knowledge of good general lab practices, you need to be familiar with the properties of the materials you are working with, how to use the equipment correctly, and appropriate protective precautions.

The resources in the various sections of this guide can point you to helpful information.