Laboratory and Shop Safety
This Lab & Shop Safety Program has been prepared to minimize the risk of injury and illness when working in Acadia's various laboratory and shop areas. Laboratories and science/engineering shops are potentially dangerous places, but the danger can be reduced to an acceptable level through the application of appropriate controls.
This program deals primarily with chemical and biohazards, and does not deal in any depth with the other hazards such as physical hazards (magnetic fields, lasers, and sources of infrared or ultraviolet radiation, noise, and ultrasound), or radioisotopes. Guidance on safely managing these other hazards is found elsewhere on the Lab & Shop Safety page and the Radiation Safety page.
This Lab & Shop Safety Program provides valuable health and safety guidance, but by no means can it be all-inclusive. Laboratory and shop faculty, staff and students will need to consult material safety data sheets, manufacturers' recommendations and other documents to develop adequate safe work practices that are often unique to each situation.
- Bretherick L., Hazards in the Chemical Laboratory, 4th ed. Royal Chemical Society, London, 1986.
- Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1995.
- Laboratory Safety Handbook, Ordre des Chemistes du Quebec & Chemical Institute of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 1984.
- Safety in Academic Laboratories 6th ed., American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1995.
- Furr A.K., Handbook of Laboratory Safety,. 3rd ed CRC Press, Cleveland OH, 1990.
Formal inspections are an important part of any safety program. Regularly scheduled inspections complement the much less formal "inspections" that faculty, staff and students should do each time they enter the laboratory or shop.
A formal laboratory or shop inspection is normally carried out by the supervisor or principle investigator. At a minimum, inspections must be done in February, June and October of each year.
The purpose of an inspection is two-fold:
- to survey the physical facility in order to identify conditions which could lead to an injury, illness, or other loss, and
- to observe work methods, practices, and behaviours that could lead to an injury, illness, or other loss.
Having identified a concern, the inspection also includes a recommendation for corrective action.
By documenting the inspection and the follow-up, laboratory and shop supervisors/principle investigators demonstrate their commitment to health and safety. A variety of checklists are provided on Acadia's Health & Safety Website, for local printing. There are specific checklists for some labs and shops, as well as a generic General Lab and Shop Inspection Checklist for use in all other areas.
- Heads/Directors/Chairs must ensure that someone is assigned to formally inspect each laboratory and shop, at a minimum, in February, June and October of each year. The lab or shop supervisor/principle investigator should normally be the person assigned.
- The assigned inspector shall download and complete the appropriate checklist.
- Immediate action should be taken to control hazards that pose imminent danger. Deficiencies and opportunities to improve health and safety should be noted on the checklist. In many cases, the assigned inspector can determine and implement the appropriate corrective actions. This is especially true for hazards related to practices and behaviours. Corrective actions are to be recorded on the back of the checklist.
- Completed checklists must be submitted to the Head/Director/Chair for review and action on any outstanding deficiencies/opportunities. The assigned inspector should work closely with the Head/Director/Chair to ensure that deficiencies/opportunities are clearly understood, and that effective, reliable corrective actions are identified and are implemented. This may require that work requests be initiated with Physical Plant Services.
- Heads/Directors/Chairs must ensure that corrective actions are documented and are followed-up. In many cases, this will require initiating work orders with Physical Plant Services. Once all actions are complete, Heads/Directors/Chairs must ensure that all checklists are locally archived for future reference.
- Audits may be performed by the Health and Safety Office and/or Acadia's Health & Safety Committee to ensure integrity of the inspection program.
This section contains a collection of web-based resources that have been adopted for use by Acadia University:
- Toxicological Index
- Lab Bio-safety Guidelines published by the Public Health Agency of Canada cover such things as pathogens and biohazardous materials, as well as their safe handling, containment, storage, destruction, and disposal.
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards