Housekeeping

It is either learned up front, or with experience, neatness is required for all quality research. It is also a necessary safety precaution. Contamination of food, drink, and smoking materials are potential routes of exposure to hazardous materials. For this reason, food or beverage should not be taken into any laboratory where there is a toxicity hazard. Glassware or utensils that have been used for laboratory operations should never be utilized to prepare or consume food. Laboratory refrigerators and cold rooms should not be used for the storage of foods; separate, clearly labeled equipment should be employed. Smoking is prohibited in our building. It is good practice to wash hands often, even when gloves are being utilized. Avoid the use of solvents for washing; they remove the natural protective oils from the skin and can cause irritation and inflammation. In some cases, the solvents might even aid skin absorption of a toxic chemical.

Work areas need to be kept clean and free from obstructions. Cleanups should follow the completion of any operation or be done at the end of the day. Do not leave a disaster waiting for the next user. Aisles, hallways and stairways must not be used for storage areas. Avoid storing heavy objects on high places from which they could fall. Do not store bottles or equipment on shelves on laboratory benches unless there are restraining lips the shelves. Storage of bottles on benches is undesirable because of their propensity to be knocked over. Extended storage in hoods is also inadvisable because this practice interferes with the airflow in the hood, clutters up the working space, and increases the amount of material that could become involved in a fire.

All reagents stored in other than their original containers must be labeled clearly as to the contents, date and name of the person storing the solutions. Do not label as ``Joe's solution'' since this is a significant impediment to waste disposal at a later date. Chemicals stored in the laboratory should be inventoried periodically, and unneeded items should be disposed of. Containers should also be examined for deteriorating labels. The quantity of chemicals stored in the laboratory should be kept as low as possible. Old or outdated solutions should be disposed of (see later section). Wastes needs to be placed in appropriate receptacles properly labeled. Broken glassware, pipettes, syringes need to be placed first into puncture proof containers. The laboratory supervisor should arrange for the removal or safe storage of all hazardous materials which personnel have on hand when they are about to terminate, graduate, or transfer.