Safety & Emergency
- Safety Training
- Hazardous Waste Disposal
- Radiation Safety
- Non-Urgent Safety Issues
- Material Safety Data Sheets
- Laser Safety
- Biological Safety
- Compressed Gas Safety
- Safety Equipment Suppliers
In the event of an accident requiring immediate attention (e.g., bodily injury, fire, major chemical spill):
- Dial the Boston University Police
- Internal Number 3-2121
- External Number 617-353-2121
- Report clearly the nature and location of the accident.
The police are qualified to deal with emergencies, but you must be available to give them as much information as you can about the nature of the accident. We must file an accident report on every incident that occurs in our teaching and research laboratories. You must report all accidents, whether serious or minor, to your (teaching) laboratory supervisor, to the Chemistry Office or to the Chemistry Safety Officer
- Ramesh Jasti
All persons—research students and post-doctorals, teaching fellows, faculty, staff—who work in, frequent or supervise laboratories should be aware of basic laboratory safety practices and procedures for handling and disposing of hazardous materials. In fact, it is a University requirement that all such persons attend a Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste Management lecture every year. These lectures are given on a monthly basis by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) and are announced by Departmental e-mail, so it is generally not difficult to find a time to attend. For further information, see the Office of Research Compliance EHS Training Page or contact George Lima, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org (617-358-1027) at OEHS or Corey Stephenson email@example.com (617-358-5089) the Chemistry Safety Officer.
The rules for hazardous waste disposal are designed to protect persons who work in and visit laboratories and to avoid contaminating the environment in general. More detailed information can be found on the EHS Hazardous Waste pages. Two rules in particular should be kept in mind:
- Chemicals may not be put into sinks and flushed down the drain
- Hazardous materials (chemicals, broken glass, needles and other sharp objects) may not be put in regular waste baskets.
Rule 1 is to protect the environment, since all waste flows into the Metropolitan Boston sewer system and flows to Deer Island where it is treated. The sludge from this operation is recycled and certain chemicals, particularly heavy metals, can make the recycled material unusable. Rule 2 is to protect the custodians who pick up the trash and are sometimes injured by sharp objects.
Every laboratory has, or should have, specific areas or receptacles for hazardous waste:
- Satellite accumulation area for chemicals (used solvents, chemical waste, unwanted reagents) to be disposed of
- Broken glass boxes specially designed to receive broken glass, pipettes, and other glass objects.
- Sharps receptacles for syringe needles, pipette tips (including plastic tips) and other small, sharp objects.
- Biological waste http://www.bu.edu/ehs/services/waste/biological-waste/
It is the responsibility of each researcher to learn the details of how waste is to be disposed of by attending the Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste Disposal lectures mentioned above, or by consulting his/her research advisor. Pick up of chemical waste is done on a regular basis by contractors hired by the OEHS; special chemical pickups can be arranged by calling Paul Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org (617-353-1993) or by going to the web (Link).
All individuals handling radioactive materials, x-ray equipment, certain lasers, etc. are required to receive individual training before working with such materials or equipment. Information on radiation safety training can be obtained at http://www.bu.edu/orctraining/ehs/radiation-protection/basic-radiation-safety-training/ or by sending email to the Director of Radiation Safety, Ron Slade email@example.com.
If you have any questions about safety situations that do not seem to be urgent, e.g., how to dispose of something that has been sitting around a lab for a long time, please contact the Chemistry Safety Officer, Corey Stephenson firstname.lastname@example.org (617-358-5089). Remember that visits to BU (sometimes triggered when calling 353-2121) by the Fire Department, Bomb Squad, etc. are very expensive—and sometimes unnecessary—so it is important to use common sense and not to over-react. If Dr. Stephenson cannot be located and you are still concerned, contact George Lima email@example.com (617-358-1027) at the OEHS.
Information on the properties, hazards, etc. of chemical substances.
Where to Find MSDS on the Internet, with links to 85 web sites
MSDS for Microorganisms
Oxford University MSDS
University of Illinois Laser Safety Information
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Biological Safety Database
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/odhsb/biosafe/bio.htm <== DEAD LINK
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registery
NIH “Health and Safety” database
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/odhsb/home.htm<== DEAD LINK
Compressed Gas Association
Scott Products Gas Handling Systems
Grainger (Lab Safety Supply)
Best Glove Manufacturing