Lab Safety

General Safety Guidelines

  1. NO eating or drinking in the laboratory. Consume food and drink only in designated areas.
  2. NO handling of contact lenses or applying cosmetics in the laboratory.
  3. Use the appropriate PPE at all times. Refer to site specific procedures located in your lab.
  4. Use lab equipment for it’s dedicated purpose.
  5. Confine long hair and loose clothing.
  6. Use a proper pipetting device – absolutely no pipetting by mouth.
  7. Avoid exposure to gases, vapours, aerosols and particulates by using a properly functioning laboratory fume hood.
  8. Wash hands upon completion of laboratory work and removal of PPE including gloves and coats. A vigorous hand washing with mild soap and warm water for 20 seconds is appropriate.
  9. Know the location and correct use of all available safety equipment.
  10. Avoid disturbing or distracting others while they are performing laboratory tasks.
  11. Ensure visitors to the laboratory are equipped with appropriate PPE.
  12. All chemicals must be correctly labeled in accordance with their Safety Data Sheet classifications.
  13. Consult the Safety Data Sheet before using an unfamiliar chemical.
  14. Determine potential hazards and appropriate safety measures before beginning new operations and confirm that existing safety equipment is sufficient for new procedure.
  15. Fix unsafe conditions (employees) or report unsafe conditions to the Instructor or Principal Investigator (students).
  16. Proper waste procedures must be followed at all times.

Corridor Guidelines

These guidelines reflect requirements of all applicable health and safety codes and standards including but not limited to fire safety, public health, biological safety and radiological requirements.

General Requirements

Compliance is bases upon the following health, safety, and operational objectives:

  1. Corridors used for egress must remain free of hazardous materials, equipment, storage, and other materials and debris to assure safety.
  2. Hazardous materials and agents must be kept , stored, and used within laboratories.
  3. Food and drink must remain outside of laboratories.
  4. Building systems must be accessible for service and maintenance personnel.
  5. Researchers need a break area outside of their laboratory to eat and drink that is convenient.
  6. Corridors are assigned to departments and administrative units; use must not adversely affect safety or put the college at risk of regulatory action.
  7. Corridors do not have adequate ventilation to control the heat load generated by equipment and are not designed to provide secondary containment for chemical spills or to control fugitive emissions and odors.
  8. In the event of an emergency, the Lewiston Fire Department (LFD) requires space to stage and operate in corridors and near stair enclosures.

Prohibited Items

The following are considered serious and immediate action by the responsible department should be taken:

  1. Any item located within a stairway or stair enclosure
  2. Any items that restrict the width of any portion of a corridor to less than 44 inches
  3. Any items that obstruct emergency equipment (fire alarm pull stations, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, emergency washing equipment, emergency shut-off valves, etc.)
  4. Storage or use of hazardous materials (chemical, biological, or radioactive)
  5. Items which obstruct electrical panels, access hatches or valves
  6. Lab processing equipment
  7. Hazardous or biological waste
  8. Compressed gas cylinders
  9. Mechanical equipment with exposed belts, pulleys, and gears
  10. Items that produce steam, odors, or aerosols
  11. Unsecured items which pose a fall hazard that potentially causes injury
  12. Workstations
  13. Highly combustible furniture (couches, sofas, etc.)
  14. Combustible materials outside of enclosed cabinets (papers, books, boxes, etc.)
  15. Unapproved recycle and waste containers
  16. Temporary storage associated with construction (unless specifically planned, designated, and authorized)

Allowed Items


  1. Refrigerators and freezers for non-hazardous storage and food. Units should be labeled with name and contact information
  2. Non-combustible or low-combustible filing and storage cabinets with latching doors
  3. Low-combustible chairs and table for breaks if a break room is not available
  4. White boards, bulletin board, art, signs, display cases, and similar wall hung items that are low or non-combustible and occupy a reasonably small percentage of the wall
  5. Vending machines
  6. Recycle intended for public areas

Conditions for Allowed Items

  1. All items should be located along one side of the corridor and located so that it does not block access to panels, emergency equipment, or obstruct signage.
  2. Allowed use should not obstruct access or visibility of safety equipment, lighting, exit and other signs.
  3. Large equipment should not be placed on tables or stacked on top of other equipment.
  4. Extension cords should not be used.
  5. Large, heavy objects should be adequately secured.
  6. Furniture or furnishings should be of low combustibility.
  7. Equipment should not reduce required corridor width, typically 44 inches


Maintain clearances as follows:

  1. Emergency Showers: 24 inches from non-electrical equipment and 60 inches from electrical equipment
  2. Doors: 18 inches from pull side and 12 inches on the push side from the door latch for accessibility
  3. Fire Extinguishers: 18 inches left and right and nothing below
  4. Ceiling: no closer than 18 inches below sprinkler heads
  5. Doors from Occupied Rooms: should meet swing clearance requirements (37 inches clear in corridor when door fully open)
  6. Electrical Panels: 30 inches from either side, 36 inches in front, and nothing above or below

Lockout/Tagout for Lab Equipment