Lab Safety Newsletter

July 2018

New SOPs Available

REM 2018 Annual Safety Chair in Review


New SOPs Available

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

In recognition of the expanded use of 3D printers in Purdue University facilities, REM has developed 3D printing health and safety guidelines.  Studies have indicated that 3D printers are capable of generating potentially harmful concentrations of ultrafine particles (UFP) and chemical vapors during the print process and through processes following printing to treat the finished product.  Prior to installation of all types 3D printing devices REM encourages the review of the guidelines to ensure proper precautions are taken.  Additional questions can be directed to Eric Butt.

3D Printer SOP

The Importance of an Emergency Power Failure Plan

Like any other part of the infrastructure, electrical power to the campus can fail, either as an isolated incident (e.g. tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses) or as part of a larger event (regional power outages or natural disaster). When power failures occur, health and safety issues need to be addressed.  REM has recently added a Standard Operating Procedure template to our library to address such issues.  Labs should consider their operations and if relevant add this power failure SOP to the Chemical Hygiene Plan documentation. Please contact Eric Butt if you have any questions regarding this new SOP.

REM Standard Operating Procedure library
The new Hazardous Waste Disposal Tag is currently being distributed across campus.

Hazardous Waste Labeling

The new Hazardous Waste Disposal Tag (pictured above) is currently being distributed across campus. This label is necessary for all hazardous waste as soon as the first drop of waste enters a container. The constituents must be written out and percentages approximated for each. No Hazardous waste label is necessary if the chemical is in its original container. The hazard section of the label should be filled out based on generator knowledge and SDS information for the chemical in the waste container.  Labels can be requested by calling (765) 494-0121.

An example of a properly set up workstation. An example of a properly set up workstation.

REM 2018 Annual Safety Chair in Review

Laboratory Ergonomics

Presented by David Petros 

In the laboratory, ergonomic concerns can come from overreach, bending or twisting, the use of microscopes and microtomes, standing for extended periods of time, one-size fits all equipment, and repetitive motions like pipetting. To prevent injury and discomfort caused by laboratory work, the following steps can be taken:

  • Plan your experiments
  • Consider ergonomics in laying out your workstation (minimize reaching)
  • Sit at a bench knee-hold and not in front of cabinets
  • Do experiments in small batches
  • Take micro-breaks to stretch and relax the body

Products are available to assist with laboratory ergonomics such as auto, multi-tip, and low friction pipettes, forearm pads, turntables, and anti-fatigue mats.

Additional information on ergonomics is available.

Employee Injuries

Presented by Eric Butt  

University-wide, reported employee injuries and associated costs have decreased over the last 10 years. Finger, hand, and lower arm injuries are most frequent, while lower back and head injuries are most costly. The majority of injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls or sprains and strains. Purdue has continued to decrease its total injury rate over the last 10 years as demostrated in the OSHA 300 log included below. In order to reduce injuries workers should do the following:

  • Investigate every accident
  • Report near misses
  • Share results with your safety committee
  • Review common injuries
  • Be aware of surroundings
  • Prioritize safety communication and training

Purdue University’s OSHA 300 Log and Regulatory Postings

Leading an Effective Safety Committee

Presented by Kristi Evans 

Safety committees increase employee participation in safety and make employees aware of hazards and how to abate those hazards. Safety committee goals should be to identify and reduce hazards, reduce injuries, increase participation and near-miss reporting, and incorporate safety into the culture.  Some traits of an effective safety committee include the following:

  • Established committee make-up
  • Regularly scheduled meetings
  • Established roles
  • Well defined goals
  • Developed meeting agendas
  • Participation at all levels
  • Celebrate accomplishments
  • Record accurate minutes

The safety committee can play a large role in the Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) process by developing best practices and conducting self-inspections. Having a safety committee helps increase participation in the ISP and integrate safety into the work environment.

Laboratory Training and Inspections

 Presented by Jim Schweitzer 

The current version of the Integrated Safety Plan Self-Audit Checklist is available on the REM website and should be used.  Each room should have an individual form unless it is an office or conference room. All portions of the checklist should be filled out unless specified by the instructions, and it should be signed by the responsible individual. The PDF version of the document includes embedded links to resources to assist through the process.

The Researcher's Guide can be used as starting point to determine what compliance requirements my apply to your lab. Most laboratories are under the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). This requires the following training:

  • Develop a laboratory-specific chemical hygiene plan
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures
  • Follow all components of the CHP
  • Conduct initial and refresher training

Additional training resources are available on REM's website:

REM Training 

The Importance of Good Housekeeping in Laboratories

Presented by Eric Johnson 

A common problem in academic laboratories is maintaining clean and effective workspaces. Many people may be working in a lab together, and good housekeeping is extremely important to ensure safety for yourself and others.  Routine cleaning should occur to dispose of items that are no longer needed or currently in use. Hoods, countertops, and shelves should be wiped down as needed to prevent cross contamination. All chemicals and waste should be closed and labeled so that hazards can easily be identified.

Chemicals should be properly stored in cabinets or on shelves when not in use. Fume hoods and lab benches should not be used for permanent storage of chemicals. Segregation of incompatible materials, such as acids and bases or solvents and oxidizers, should occur to prevent undesired chemical reactions. Secondary containment may be required in some cases. The Chemical Hygiene Plan details specific instructions on segregation and chemical storage.

An example of poor housekeeping and its consequences occurred recently on campus. A custodian emptied a trashcan from the lab into a larger container. This container began smoking and caught on fire. With good laboratory housekeeping and a better awareness of proper hazardous material storage and disposal, this incident could have been avoided.

Campus Safety Contacts

call 911

If you see something, say something.

Purdue Police
Phone: (765) 494-8221

Purdue Fire
Phone: (765) 494-6919


Sign up for Emergency Text Messages

Carol Shelby, Senior Director

(765) 494-7504
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