Think Safety

Safety is an important aspect of your laboratory research career. Safety is also an overriding concern in all of our laboratory activities. Each laboratory worker has the responsibility for his or her own safety and the safety of co-workers. To ensure your personal safety in the laboratory, you should study the enclosed safety certification materials carefully and learn how to follow the safety rules governing the practice of chemistry in your laboratories. You should also constantly watch for unsafe conditions and practices in your laboratory. Be sure that you carefully think through an experiment before actually beginning work and that you consult your research adviser about potential hazards with your work.  Your laboratory space will be inspected during your stay at Binghamton and you should actively participate in this process. The Environmental Health and Safety Office staff will help you with any problems that might arise, and with your cooperation will make safety inspections more helpful and effective.

Before you begin work in any research laboratory, you must complete and satisfactorily pass the ACS safety certification exam. You should study Safety In Academic Chemistry Laboratories published by the Committee on Chemical Safety of The American Chemical Society. This booklet also contains an extensive list of sources for additional information in Appendix III on page 67.  Additionally, the departmental safety committee suggests that you become familiar with Prudent Practices for Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories issued by the National Research Council and published by National Academy Press. Further information is available in “Safety in Working with Chemicals,” by Michael Green and Amos Turk, published by Macmillan. The most current edition of The Merck Index also provides useful information on the physiological properties of many chemicals.

Satisfactory safety performance is essential, and your access to research facilities is dependent upon your ongoing exercise of safe laboratory procedures. Willful or neglectful violation of the safety guidelines to which your attention is drawn in the safety exam or during safety inspection will result in your loss of access to these services and facilities.

This safety program is designed to test your general awareness of laboratory safety procedures. The questions reflect some of the more commonly encountered difficulties. They do not cover all of the hazards which you are likely to encounter in the lab.

More details on hazards and procedures are described in the booklet noted above (Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories) that has been made  available for all graduate students.

The Environmental Health and Safety Office can be reached at 777-2211 as a source of general information and for specific Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Hazardous Waste Management can also be called for at 777-2211 for advice on managing chemical wastes and for waste collection. The Radiation Safety Officer can answer questions related to radiation hazards by calling 777-4370. Any information regarding the University's policy on the acquisition, use, storage and disposal of hypodermic syringes and needles can be answered by calling the Controlled Substance Officer at 777-4905.

Other reference materials are located in the departmental offices and the libraries. Your group expert for safety and your research adviser will also be knowledgeable about specific hazards associated with your work. Your laboratory safety practice is your own responsibility. You should consult the foregoing sources frequently during your laboratory work.

Last Updated: 6/25/14