GENERAL SAFETY IN THE LABORATORY

This chapter contains a brief account of some aspects of safety, which are especially relevant to
the School of Chemical Engineering. It is to serve as a guide and not as a comprehensive manual
on safety. A collection of literature on laboratory hazards is maintained in the library.

The safety legislation places the onus to work safely firmly on each and every individual. Every
staff/student has, at all time, a duty to care for the Health and Safety of himself/herself and of all
other people who may be affected by his/her actions.

Responsibility cannot be delegated. As far as is reasonably practicable, everyone must observe all
safety precautions. The provision or acquisition of information concerning hazards, before they
are encountered and the development of sound practical techniques are the main ways in which
standards can be improved.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Laboratory coats or other protective clothing MUST be worn at
all times. Rubber gloves should be worn handling corrosive materials, and heat-proof gauntlets
when discharging any equipment involving on heat.

FOOT-WARE: Stout shoes or boot should be worn in the plant/laboratory. Soft-shoes and trainers
are not permitted. ‘Totector’ boots MUST be used during lifting and winching operations. During
such operations ALL personnel must wear helmets.

EYE PROTECTION: Goggles, full-face visor, gloves and respirators are available from SCE
(School of Chemical Engineering) and MUST BE USED whenever necessary. When working in
a laboratory, either safety spectacles or an eye shield MUST normally be worn. When performing
any operation involving hazard to the eyes, e.g. handling acids or alkalise, use either a full face
visor or work in fume hood. If there is any doubt concerning personnel safety and protection,
Safety Officer/ Programme Chairman/lecturer should be consulted.

ELECTRICITY: Very large amount of electricity is consumed during unit operations experiments. INSTRUCTION SHEETS: Any appropriate instruction sheets should be studied before starting the experiment. NOT in the usual waste bin. start up procedure and sequence of operation. jobs not involving the use of hand tools or chemicals or mechanical/electrical power or the handling of . There should be no eating or reading of newspapers in the laboratory. Smoking is strictly prohibited in all laboratories. All cables and hoses should be routed to avoid walkways. Work involving any potential hazard should not be carried out by anyone working alone outside normal working hours. OUT OF HOURS WORKING: Anyone who intends to work in the evening should inform the Programme Chairman/lecturer concerned. Always obey the set instructions and use whatever special protective clothing and equipment are specified. BROKEN GLASS: This should disposed off in the glass bin. CABLES AND HOSES: Cables must be suspended and not lying on the floor. For other work ( e. HEAVY MACHINERY AND LATHES: Operation of these machines is only allowed under the supervision of a Workshop Technician. Suitable operating procedures are laid down for these machines and adequate guards are fitted. Never use the machine when the guards are not in place. Breakage should also be reported to the technician in charge of the equipment. Equipment should be left in safe condition and electrically isolated at the end of any working period and should not be left operating when unattended. Sometimes the floor may be wet.g. All personnel working in the laboratory must know where to switch off all main power supplies in an emergency. Always switch off power before removing plugs from sockets. (unless the procedure given below is complied with) Water supplies should be isolated or disconnected when the equipment is not in use. Care is therefore essential. Pipes carrying steam can cause contact burns and scalding at outlets. Particular attention should be given to the recommended precautions.

Remember that homogenisers. Use a fume cupboard or glove box whenever handling materials that can gives toxic fumes. Where necessary use a respirator. Do not use mouth pipetting techniques. TOXIC SUBSTANCES: Almost every chemical is poisonous to some extent. A recently published estimate suggests that between 1% and 2% off all common laboratory chemicals are carcinogenic. Some such as aniline are poisonous in themselves. Therefore: . spillage must be cleared up immediately. A safe and reliable laboratory techniques must be cultivated. Normally a poison may enter the body through the nose. other such as dimethysulphoxide will dissolve and carry through material which had been on the skin surface. Notice that spillage of mercury represent long-term sources of a volatile and cumulative poison. and during the work if necessary. Therefore use plasters or gloves whenever such risks are present. always use the pipette pump. avoid skin contact. Rubber gloves under certain circumstances may be used to hold chemicals against the skin. Many liquids readily pass through the skin. centrifuges and other dissolution techniques produce aerosols. Try not to allow chemicals to come contact with the hands. If they do occur. mouth or skin. Chemicals can also enter the body through breaks in the skin. You must always aim to avoid or contain spillage. Some techniques for avoidance are: Do not smoke. Additionally must learn to recognise special toxic hazards and carry out advance planning to deal with them. Always wash thoroughly at the end of the period of laboratory work.glassware) which can be considered non-hazardous. lone working is permissible PROVIDED their permission from the lecturer concerned/safety officer has been approved. dusts or aerosol. Therefore one must adopt a double-edged approach to the handling of all chemicals. eat or drink in laboratories. Handle broken glass and other sharp objects with caution. Broken glassware represents a common way for unintentionally injections of chemicals.

. 1989) is: HAZARD  EXPOSURE = RISK To minimise risk.(i) Learn the various emergency procedures (ii) Know the location of the nearest telephone. Eye protection must always be used when chemical substances or apparatus are handled (v) Ensure that adequate warning notices are always given and that warning notices. The rules and regulation itself do not guarantee safety without the full co-operation from all the members of any organisation. both hazard and exposure must be kept to a minimum. (x) Report to the Programme Chairman/lecturer or technician on any accidents involving personal injury and incidents which might have had serious consequences. Accident report forms are available. fire fighting equipment. Ensure that all these appliances are maintained in a satisfactory state (iii) Know the location of the main control valve. first aid box and eye wash station. a bears a notice showing the date and clearly stating the emergency close down procedure. and this needs a proper’s formulated safety measures. Safety means abiding the well laid rules. (vi) Ensure that all equipment intended to run unattended for long periods example overnight is safely and securely assembled. (xi) Treat all aspects of safety as matters of paramount importance. fire alarm. stopcocks and switches. Realisation and appreciation of the chemical hazards should be the main concern to us as the quality of the environment is in question which determine the survival of the future generation. which no longer apply removed. Thus the basic equation for any health risk (Farmer. (iv) Use all appropriate protective devices. falling which will result in the unwanted problems and disaster. (vii) Avoid smoking and eating in laboratories (viii) Do not wear laboratory coats in place where people eat or drink (ix) Ensure that all hazardous materials are properly stored and in the minimum quantities consistent with the work being undertaken.

call for assistance at: (i) UTP HSE (Health. Contact person: Dr. Rizsa Rusli (Safety Officer) Tel : 05-3721113 OR at: (i) Ambulan/Bomba/Polis General Tel : 999 Balai Polis Pusing Tel : 05 2881222 Balai Polis Tronoh Tel : 05 3676222 (ii) District Hospital. of Chemical Eng. Safety & Environment) Department (ii) UTP Dept.In case of emergency. Batu Gajah Tel : 05 3663333 (iii) Tel : 05 3676355 Tronoh Pusat Kesihatan Kecil . Nasiman Sapari Tel : 05-3692102 Contact person: Pn.