There may be many different types of safety equipment in laboratories at Boston University. The Laboratory Supervisor/Principal Investigator (PI) should ensure that laboratory workers are familiar with the location and proper operation of safety equipment available to the laboratory. A few of the more common pieces of laboratory safety equipment include:
Chemical Fume Hoods
Chemical fume hoods are the most common engineering control to protect against inhalation of chemicals at Boston University. The Environmental Health & Safety office (OEHS) coordinates annual inspection of chemical fume hoods to ensure they are functioning properly.
The Facilities Management office (OFM) repairs chemical fume hoods which are not functioning. If a laboratory worker suspects that a chemical fume hood is not functioning properly, he or she should contact OFM at 353-2015 (Charles River Campus) or 414-6666 (Medical Campus).
When using a chemical fume hood, laboratory workers should follow these guidelines:
- On sashes that open vertically, keep the sash as low as possible. The sash should never exceed the maximum sash height indicated on the inspection sticker.
- Keep only what is needed for the task in the hood. Excess equipment in the hood can reduce the provided protection.
- Work as far back in the hood as possible; ideally, at least 6″ from the opening.
- Taping a “Kimwipe” or other light paper “flag” to the bottom of the sash can serve as a rudimentary airflow indicator. If the flag does not indicate inward airflow, stop work, lower the sash, and report the problem to the Facilities Management office.
Chemical Spill Containment Kits
Chemical Spill Containment Kits are provided in common areas to provide laboratories with basic equipment to contain a chemical spill. These kits are stocked with general material to help contain a large chemical spill. The Laboratory Supervisor/Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for providing spill containment/clean up material appropriate to the chemicals used in the laboratory.
Eye Wash Station
The emergency eye wash station provides a means to remove chemical contamination from the eyes and/or face. Laboratory personnel should follow these guidelines when using the eye wash station:
- Eye wash stations are inspected annually to ensure they meet appropriate standards and regulations. On the Charles River Campus, OEHS oversees the annual inspection. On the Medical Campus, eye wash stations are inspected by the Faculties Management office. Repairs on both campuses are conducted by the Facilities Management office.
- Laboratory workers should flush their eye wash stations weekly to ensure clean water is available in the event of an emergency.
- Eye wash stations should be clearly marked and kept free from obstructions.
- In the event of eye contamination, the laboratory worker should hold his/her eye open and rinse for a minimum of 15 minutes, then seek medical attention.
Fire Extinguishers and Blankets
Some laboratories are provided with fire blankets. Fire blankets are only required in the event the laboratory works with flammable materials, but no safety shower is available. The laboratory is responsible for maintaining fire blankets.
Fire extinguishers are provided to laboratories in the event a fire blocks a means of egress and the laboratory worker must fight a fire to save his or her own life. No laboratory worker is expected or required to use a fire extinguisher except to escape a life-threatening situation.
Fire extinguishers are inspected annually and replaced as needed. The Facilities Management office (OFM) manages the installation, inspection, and replacement of fire extinguishers.
Laboratories should have the appropriate class of extinguisher for the fire hazards in the laboratory. In general, a class BC or class ABC extinguisher is appropriate. In some instances, this extinguisher is supplemented with a class D fire extinguisher, as required.
Laboratory personnel are trained on the various classes of fires and basic fire extinguisher use in annual Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste Management Training.
The emergency safety shower provides a means to remove gross chemical contamination from the body or to extinguish a fire on the body. Laboratory personnel should follow the guidelines set forth for using the safety shower.
Emergency safety showers are inspected annually to ensure they meet appropriate standards and regulations. On the Charles River Campus, EHS oversees the annual inspection. On the Medical Campus, safety showers are inspected by the Faculties Management office. Repairs on both campuses are conducted by the Facilities Management office.
Emergency safety showers should be clearly marked and kept free from obstructions.
In the event of a fire on the body, implement the ACES or RACE fire plan, as appropriate. The laboratory worker should activate the safety shower and stand under the water flow until the fire is extinguished, then seek medical attention.
In the event of gross chemical contamination on the body, the laboratory worker should remove contaminated clothing, activate the safety shower, and stand under the water for a minimum of 15 minutes, then seek medical attention.