Lab Safety Getting Started and Maintaining Compliance

Helpful Lab Safety Info: Getting Started and Maintaining Compliance

To help you prepare for everyday lab activities involving chemicals, the following information may be useful:

1. Lab Safety Checklist – A current copy of the inspection checklist is available at: Lab Safety Inspection Checklist

2. UH Manoa Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) – Please review this and have a current copy available in the lab: CHP

3. Chemical storage/inventories – have chemical storage areas in order (in proper cabinets/shelves and not stored on the floor). All items must be clearly labeled, segregated by hazard class, with inventories updated (within the past calendar year) and made available. Also, MSDS sheets for all chemicals must be available either in hard copy or via the internet in the lab. Please note that if you have peroxide forming chemicals, ensure that they are tested and labeled per our program requirements (See Glo at the Chem Stockroom for test strips and labels): PEROXIDES

4. Hazardous waste – all hazardous waste must be properly labeled and stored (i.e, full constituent names, relative percentages of mixtures, secondary containment provided, identified by and segregated by hazard class, and the word “waste” must be on every container): Audit The complete Hazardous Materials Management Program (HMMP) manual can be found at: UHHMMP01

5. Spill kits – have a chemical spill kit available in each lab and ensure that spill procedures are posted: Spill Procedures

Also, a container designated for broken glass must also be available in the lab.

6. Emergency/Hazard postings – have current emergency information posted on the outside of each lab door; emergency procedures posted inside each lab; and caution signs posted in areas where highly toxic, poisonous, hazardous, or carcinogenic materials or gases are stored. See the following link for available emergency signs: Lab Safety Emergency Information and Signs

7. Training – all lab staff should have initial lab safety and refresher training documentation available for review. See Lab Safety Training for a list of upcoming initial lab safety training classes. Also, the following Lab Personnel Safety Checklist should be used by the PI or lab manager to conduct refresher training annually: Lab Personnel Safety Checklist

8. Personal Protective Equipment – have available at all times for specific procedures. Proper eye protection, gloves, lab coats and covered shoes are required to be worn at all times in areas where chemicals are used/stored. Personal Protective Equipment

9. Standard Operating Procedures – have SOP’s written and available in the CHP binder (or other accessible location) for operations posing a special hazard (i.e heating phosphoric acid, working with pyrophorics and other reactive chemicals, carcinogens, using pressurized toxic/flammable/poison gases, conducting electrophoresis, distillations, extractions, etc.). A blank form fillable SOP is available in pdf and template SOPs for certain chemicals can be found at: Lab Safety Standard Operating Procedures Template

The American Chemical Society has developed a toolbox for researchers: Hazard Assessment in Research Laboratories. Please use this resource if you do not already have systems in place to conduct a hazard analysis and develop written SOPs. Contact Michael Soles, EHSO Chemical Hygiene Officer, via email at or by phone at 956-5097 with any questions or if assistance is needed conducting a hazard analysis.

10. Gas cylinders – must be secured at all times with a valve cap in place when not in use. See page 11 of the CHP for details: CHP

11. Lab controls – ensure that all mechanical ventilation (including fume hoods Lab Safety Chemical Fume Hood Use Guidelines), gas detection systems, or other lab safety equipment you have installed to provide measures of protection are working properly and adequately maintained.

12. General housekeeping – lab areas should be orderly and without clutter. Ensure that exit doors, emergency showers/eye wash stations and fire extinguishers are accessible and unobstructed. Also, to prevent chemical exposures, no food or drink should be consumed outside of designated areas, or where chemicals are stored or are in use.

Please note that this is not a complete list of items that we review during our lab safety inspections, but reviewing it, the CHP and the HMMP will help you prepare for your daily activities and inspections by EHSO and regulatory agencies. Also, if you have question related to any other EHSO programs (Biological Safety, Radiation Safety, etc.) please see for more information. As always, feel free to contact our office with any questions.