Safety Policies

On April 23, 2008 the faculty voted to approve three Safety policies that will be added to our existing safety policies and guidelines. These policies are effective immediately and enforcement of them through the stated consequences will begin on June 1, 2008. Each of the policies are given in detail on the next few pages, however I summarize them here.

1.  Policy for Eye Protection in Undergraduate Chemistry Teaching Laboratory
All students, teaching assistants, and instructors are required to wear approved safety eyewear at all times when they are in the bench top region of the laboratory area. There are no exceptions.  Snugly fitting splash proof safety goggles are required. Do not wear contact lenses even with safety goggles.

2.  Research Laboratory Eye Protection Policy
All students, faculty, and visitors are required to wear approved safety eyewear at all times when they are in the bench top region of the research laboratory area. There are no exceptions.

3.  Research Laboratory Lecture Bottle Storage Policy
Lecture bottles need to be stored properly. Compatibility of gases should be checked and lecture bottles should be stored with compatible gases. Lecture bottles must be secured in a floor stand or shelf unit.  All gas cylinders must be labeled with content, concentration, and date of receipt. It is recommended to review the inventory of lecture bottles and dispose of any unused or compromised lecture bottles as chemical waste. EH&S is available if assistance is required in disposing of compromised lecture bottles.

In addition to these three policies, the faculty voted to define a Departmental Emergency protocol. We will have this protocol posted on each floor of the buildings, and we strongly encourage students and faculty to follow them.

1. Policy for Eye Protection in Undergraduate Chemistry Teaching Laboratory
ALL STUDENTS, TEACHING ASSISTANTS, AND INSTRUCTORS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR APPROVED SAFETY EYE WARE AT ALL TIMES WHEN THEY ARE IN THE BENCH TOP REGION OF THE LABORATORY AREA. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. Snugly fitting splash proof safety goggles are required. Do not wear contact lenses even with safety goggles.

Oversight
It is expected that the lab instructor circulates through the bench top areas frequently during the laboratory session. The lab instructor has the primary responsibility for enforcing safety rules and teaching proper laboratory procedures and techniques to the students. Eye safety violation was the principal violation of the laboratory safety policy observed by spot inspections of General Chemistry laboratories during fall 2007. The lab instructor is expected to act as a model of lab safety practices and must also be vigilant in enforcing all safety rules, especially the policy regarding acceptable clothing and footwear.
It is recommended that a rigorous program of supervision for laboratory instructors, which should include frequent visits to laboratory during times when students are performing experiments, be implemented by the General Chemistry Lab Coordinator or other delegated authority. It is further recommended that the Lab Coordinator report the results of these visits to the Safety Committee each semester at a Safety Committee meeting. In addition, the syllabus in any General Chemistry course with a laboratory contain a statement of the rules or reference to the rules distributed in lab and the penalties for violation of the safety requirements.

Enforcement
Any undergraduate student not in compliance with this rule will first receive a verbal warning from the laboratory instructor. After a second offense, the lab instructor will deduct 5 points from the grade for that day’s lab report. Any student receiving a third warning during the same period of lab will be dismissed from that lab and receive a grade of zero for that laboratory report. The lab instructor will email the name of the dismissed student to the Lab Coordinator and the Professor in Charge of that course. Any student dismissed from a second laboratory that semester for violation of the eye safety policy will meet with the Professor in Charge to determine if additional action, such as dismissal from the course, or a grade of F for the course is appropriate. Any additional violations of this policy or other safety procedures will result in a grade of F for the course.
Any lab instructor not in compliance with the eye safety policy as determined by unannounced inspections by the Lab Coordinator, Professor in Charge, or a member of the Safety Committee will receive a written warning from the Laboratory Coordinator. For the instructor, a violation of the policy includes failure to wear approved goggles or failure to enforce the policy for students. If there is a second warning during that semester or laboratory period, the lab instructor will receive an unsatisfactory rating for teaching performance. Any lab instructor with three warnings in a given semester will meet with the Laboratory Coordinator and a member of the Safety Committee to determine if a recommendation for dismissal from the teaching program should be forwarded to the Department head or the representative of the department head.

2. Research Laboratory Eye Protection Policy
ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY AND VISITORS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR APPROVED SAFETY EYE WARE AT ALL TIMES WHEN THEY ARE IN THE BENCH TOP REGION OF THE RESEARCH LABORATORY AREA. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

Appropriate eye wear will be made available next to all laboratory entrances. The Department will be implementing this over the next month.

Oversight
It is expected that the lab supervisor/faculty member enforces safety rules, acts as a model of lab safety practices and is vigilant in enforcing all safety rules, including the policy regarding acceptable clothing and footwear.

Enforcement
According to Appendix VI of the 08 Graduate Student Handbook

3. Research Laboratory Lecture Bottle Storage Policy
LECTURE BOTTLES NEED TO BE STORED PROPERLY. COMPATIBILITY OF GASES SHOULD BE CHECKED AND LECTURE BOTTLES SHOULD BE STORED WITH COMPATIBLE GASES. LECTURE BOTTLES MUST BE SECURED IN A FLOOR STAND OR SHELF UNIT. ALL GAS CYLINDERS MUST BE LABELED WITH CONTENT, CONCENTRATION, AND DATE OF RECEIPT. IT IS RECOMMENDED TO REVIEW THE INVENTORY OF LECTURE BOTTLES AND DISPOSE OF ANY UNUSED OR COMPROMISED LECTURE BOTTLES AS CHEMICAL WASTE. EH&S IS AVAILABLE IF ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED IN DISPOSING OF COMPROMISED LECTURE BOTTLES.

A rack for appropriate lecture bottle storage can be fabricated in the mechanical shop.

Oversight
It is expected that the lab supervisor/faculty member enforces safety rules, acts as a model of lab safety practices and is vigilant in enforcing all safety rules, including the policy regarding lecture bottle storage.

Enforcement
Upon notification by EH&S, the Safety Committee reviews the case and makes recommendations for sanctions to the Department Chair.

Chemistry Department Emergency Protocol
In case of a flood, fire or other emergency that has any potential to affect equipment, personnel, chemicals or paper records, the following procedure should be followed:

1)     Pull the fire alarm to evacuate the building if you judge that there is any physical danger to occupants.
2)     Contact University Police at 412-624-2121.
3)     Contact the “Primary Contact” for each of the labs and/or offices that are affected by the emergency.  Usually, this is the Professor (P.I.) or Lab Supervisor responsible for the space; if he or she cannot be contacted, then at least one of the “Responsible Parties” should be called. Leave messages if contacts do not answer.
4)     Contact the Director of Facilities and EH&S and involve them as much as possible in decision making concerning the appropriate response to the emergency.
5) If at all possible, the advice/supervision of a faculty member or graduate student from the group whose lab is affected should be obtained before anyone enters a lab.  Allowing people to enter labs to “clean them up” or ameliorate damage by covering equipment without any supervision by a chemically trained person can create a potentially dangerous situation.
6)     An email summary of the event should be sent out by the Director of Facilities to building occupants as soon as possible after the event.

Note: Even minor safety incidences need to be reported to the appropriate faculty or staff without undue delay.