All Chin-Sang Lab Personnel Must Read this Page and go over Orientation Checklist 

General Safety Practices 

[Chin-Sang Lab Emergency Procedures]  and [Responding to Emergencies] 

Emergency Phone Numbers:

Fire, Injury and Police:  9-911

Campus Security:    36080

Emergency report centre (Chemical spills etc.):  36111

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS):  32999

Fix-IT: 77301

Ian Chin-Sang’s office: x36124, home: 545-2653

All lab workers MUST have WHMIS training (please sign up for the next available course)

Important Websites:

Environmental Health and Safety

Biohazard Safety

Radiation Safety

 Walsh and Associates

Occupational Health Services

Policies and Standard Operating Procedures

Student/Worker Orientation Checklist [PDF]

Queens's Biohazards safety manual   

Queen's waste disposal procedures   


Hazardous chemicals can cause harm when they enter the body in sufficient amounts via inhalation, ingestion, injection or skin absorption. Harmful effects can also occur by eye or skin contact alone. The nature of the hazardous chemical and the routes by which it enters or contacts the body determine the type of controls that are needed.  

Regardless of the established exposure limit for a particular chemical, all laboratory workers should take steps to minimize chemical exposure via all routes of entry. 

Three methods are used to limit chemical exposure:

  • Engineering controls;
  • Administrative controls; and
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).

Engineering Controls  Whenever possible, substitution of less hazardous chemicals should be used as a primary method of preventing adverse effects due to chemical exposure. The fume hood should be used when there is a likelihood of excessive exposure to air contaminants generated by a laboratory activity.

Administrative Controls  Administrative controls for minimizing inhalation and physical contact exposures include:

  • General safety procedures; If use of a hazardous chemical is necessary, minimize its use and try to keep only necessary quantities of it on hand, i.e. use small working aliquots and do not order large backup stocks.  Ask for help when you need it. 
  • Self-inspection;  Pay attention to what you are doing and clean up spills immediately.
  • Chemical use and procedure approval and/or review.  Be aware of particular dangers associated with any process and be prepared for an accident or spill before starting that process.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE);  Always use appropriate PPE (see page 4).  Be aware of others around you, warn them to wear PPE (for example, lab coat and safety glasses) if you are performing a hazardous operation.



Basic Precautions

  • Awareness is the most fundamental rule of chemical safety. Take time to understand the
  • safety and health hazards of the chemicals in the workplace. Every laboratory worker
  • should take the following precautions:
  • Assume that unfamiliar chemicals are hazardous.
  • Review the safety and health hazard data of all chemicals used in the laboratory.  They are located in this binder or on the booked marked MSDS site listed under “Lab Safety” on the web browser.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of overexposure and the physical and sensory
  • characteristics (odor, appearance) of these chemicals.
  • Know appropriate procedures for emergencies, including the location and operation
  • of all emergency equipment.
  • Avoid distracting or startling others.
  • When first working with hazardous materials, have a person who knows how to use the materials nearby or, at minimum, maintain surveillance by telephone contact.
  • Avoid leaving experiments unattended, whenever possible.
  • Never use unlabelled chemicals or chemicals whose labelling is suspect.
  • Always order the least amount of chemical, whenever possible or practical.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.
  • Use hazardous chemicals in a chemical fume hood, whenever possible.
  • Store and handle chemicals in accordance with the guidelines contained in this
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan or in accordance with the chemical manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Store hazardous waste in a closed, labeled container in the fume hood.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste through the University Hazardous Waste Program.
  • Do not smoke in the laboratory at all times.
  • Do not eat, drink, chew gum or apply cosmetics in non-permitted area of the laboratory.
  • Do not store food or beverages in chemical refrigerators.
  • Do not mouth pipette. Use a mechanical pipette or aspirator.
  • Do not use chipped or cracked glassware.
  • Report all accidents, even if they do not result in injury, to Ian  (or the Safety officer (Ken Ko) if PI is not present) immediately.  My home telephone is listed on the information sheets near the lab exits.



  • The following housekeeping and hygiene practices should be implemented at all times to
  • reduce the likelihood of accident or chemical exposure:
  • Work areas should be kept clean and free from obstruction.
  • Hands should be washed after every experiment, before touching any non-contaminated
  • area or object, and before leaving the laboratory area.
  • Access to exits and hallway should never be blocked.
  • Hallways should not be used as storage areas.
  • Do not store anything under the emergency shower.
  • Work areas and lab bench should be cleaned at the end of the experiment and at the end of the day.


Chemical Storage and Handling

Many potential hazards are associated with the storage and handling of laboratory chemicals. These hazards may be minimized by understanding the properties of the chemicals and planning procedures by which they may be handled safely. Simply storing chemicals alphabetically is not prudent. Storing incompatible chemicals together may have disastrous results.

Flammable chemicals are to be stored in room 2426 under the fume hood In the solvents cabinet or outside Rm. 2426 in the Flammables storage cabinet.  Small working stocks of EtOH, Acetone, Butanol, Methanol and Isopropanol may be stored at your bench.  Chloroform should be kept in the flammable room/cabinet see Steve Lougheed for access to Flammable storage cabinet; a small lab stock of phenol/chloroform is stored in 4C refrigerator. Virginia Walker has also put a Flammables storage 4C outside of our lab that we can use but please label everything that you store in that refrigerator.

The following guidelines are prudent for all chemical storage and handling:

Chemical handling: Use bottle carriers to transport chemicals. Close caps securely.  Pour all chemicals carefully. Add acid to water, not water to acid.

Labels: Be sure all labels are securely attached and legible. Keep chemicals in their original container if possible. Label all secondary containers to avoid unknown chemicals and/or inadvertent reaction. Date all chemicals, which may become unstable over time or are peroxidizable.

 Shelves: Do not store chemicals on hard-to-reach shelves. 

Incompatible chemicals: Incompatible chemicals must not be stored together. For each chemical, the hazardous nature must be considered individually and in relation to other chemicals in the area.  See Appendix Below

Fume hood: In general, the fume hood should not be used for storage of chemicals, unless they are part of the experiment being conducted in the fume hood at that time. The exception is storage of the lab stock of sodium azide, which is stored in a secondary containment vessel in the fume hood.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The use of personal protective equipment is necessary when feasible engineering and administrative controls are unavailable or if there is a need to supplement those controls.  Requirements for the use of PPE are as follows:

Body and Foot Protection  When working with chemicals, a lab coat or apron and closed-toe shoes should be worn at all times. Keep an extra pair of closed-toe shoes at work.  If you spill something on your shoes or if you choose to wear open toe shoes to work, you will always have a safe pair of shoes to wear in the lab.  Hair and loose clothing should be confined when working with chemicals or when near an open flame (Bunsen burner or alcohol lamp).  If your require a lab coat let me know your size and I will order one for you. 

If you are working with, or near any chemical or process that represents a significant splash hazard, you must be wearing long pants in addition to a lab coat.  An example of such a hazard includes using any amount of liquid or powdered acrylamide, phenol (especially hot phenol for RNA preps), sodium azide or sodium fluoride.  A general rule that computer work and worm genetics don’t require that you wear long pants, but that molecular biology and protein biochemistry experiments usually do require long pants.  Be aware that if someone near you is doing such an experiment, then you will be asked to leave the area until they are done.

Hand Protection  Hands are the most likely part of the body to be exposed to chemicals. Skin contact with chemicals may result in irritation, burns, or absorption of the chemical in to the blood stream. Glove materials must be compatible with the chemical(s) used. Consult the MSDS for the chemical, the glove manufacturer’s literature.

Eye Protection  Safety glasses, goggles, or face shields should always be worn when eye hazards are possible. Provide students and visitors with eye protection before entering a laboratory.  Extra safety glasses are stored at the end of every bench.  Please notify PI whether the safety glasses do not fit.  Always wear safety glasses or goggles when working with sodium azide, unpolymerized acrylamide, phenol or chloroform.


 General Procedures

  • Additional protection is required for work with particularly hazardous substances such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins (mutagens and teratogens)biotoxins and substances with a high degree of acute toxicity.  When working with these high hazard materials the following general procedures must be followed:
  • Read the MSDS to familiarize yourself with the hazards associated with the substance.  (MSDS’s are In a binder at the front of the lab 2426). 
  • Order the smallest quantity of the chemical necessary to perform the procedure or
  • experiment.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, paying close attention to permeation
  • resistance of gloves or protective clothing to be used.
  • If using the fume hood.  Make sure that it is clean and uncluttered. Permit only authorized personnel to use any designated area.
  • Label ALL containers with the contents, date, manufacturer’s name and hazardous properties of the material(s) in the containers.
  • Transfer high hazard chemicals in tightly closed containers placed within a durable outer container.
  • Limit traffic through the immediate area.
  • Decontaminate the work surface immediately after working with these materials. To facilitate decontamination, work surfaces should be covered with spill paper which may be cleaned or disposed of as hazardous waste or biological waste after completing the procedure.
  •  Securely store these materials immediately after use.
  •  Label all waste materials with the corresponding chemical classification (e.g. Toxic) or as biological waste.
  •  Before starting your experiment, review procedures to be followed in case of an accident or spill.  Know the location and use of eyewash stations and safety shower.



Laboratory personnel should obtain prior approval to proceed with a laboratory procedure from PI when: 

  • Working with high hazard materials;
  • Performing high hazard procedures (i.e. potential for violent reaction);and/or
  • Working alone (to be defined based on policy statement)

In addition, you must have received radiation safety training before working with radioisotopes or touching any of the material or equipment in the radiation work area at the back of the lab.


Corrosive Materials

 Corrosive substances are some of the most hazardous substances commonly encountered

in the laboratory. In general, corrosive substances cause destruction of living tissue very

rapidly at the site of contact (skin, eyes, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract). For

this reason, proper selection and use of personal protective equipment is critical, when

working with corrosives. See page 4 for more specific guidance regarding personal

protective equipment.

Containers: Whenever practical, corrosive materials should be purchased and stored in break-proof or break-resistant containers.

Storage: Mineral and non-flammable organic acids are to be stored in the cabinet under the fume hood in a secondary containment vessel.  Flammable acids, i.e. acetic acid, are to be stored in the flammable room.


Toxic Materials

Toxic materials include carcinogens, reproductive toxins (teratogens, mutagens, etc.) and acutely hazardous materials. Toxic materials that are simultaneously hazardous because of another attribute (i.e. flammable, corrosive) should be evaluated to determine which is the most significant hazard and stored accordingly.

Access to these materials should be restricted to the people involved in the experiment and people who have been informed of the hazardous properties of the chemical. These chemicals should not be stored in a hallway, stairway, or any other emergency egress path regardless of whether they are contained in a storage can or cabinet. Additional precautions for working with specific toxic materials are contained in the SOP section of this binder.

You may not order or use a toxic material unless:

You have been trained in its use.

I have reviewed the material and okayed its use in the lab.

If the toxicity of the chemical is the primary hazard, the chemical should be stored in one of the following ways:

 In the fume hood;

 In specified room;

In a hermetically sealed container at a temperature low enough to significantly reduce its volatility (i.e. flammable refrigerator or freezer).

 Eyewash Stations


Location:  There are two eyewash stations located In our hallway.  Eyewash stations should be run every few weeks as the water tends to turn brown after some time.


Use: After any eye contact with a chemical, activate the eyewash station and flush eyes

for at least 15 minutes. If the chemical is alkaline, flush for at least 30 minutes. Avoid

rinsing the chemical into the uninjured eye. If contact lenses are in place, flush for one

minute, remove the lenses, and continue flushing. After flushing for the appropriate

amount of time, seek medical attention at the University Health Services.


Safety Shower


Location:  The safety shower is located in the hallway with  the eyewash station.


Operation:  Stand under the shower and pull the handle. Remove affected clothing. After flushing for the appropriate amount of time, seek medical attention at the University Health Services.  Note:  Do not play with or “test” the shower-you will make a huge mess.  EH&S regularly tests the showers to insure that they work.


Emergency Response Guidelines


Laboratory Policy on Emergency Response

All laboratory personnel, regardless of whether that person is engaged in activities involving hazardous chemicals, must be familiar with campus emergency response procedures and in specific chemical spill response procedures established for this laboratory.  Except in the case of minor spills of non-toxic chemicals, PIs and the Lab IIPP coordinator should be notified immediately of any accident or lab hazard.  Emergency response information is also posted on flip charts near both exits to the equipment room.



a. Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from any further harm.

b. Alert people in the immediate area to evacuate.


d. Close doors to affected area.

e. Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.



a. Alert people in the immediate area of spill.

b. Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves and long-sleeve lab coat.

c. Avoid breathing vapor or particulates of spilled material. Use an air-purifying respirator only if you participate in the Campus Respiratory Protection Program.

d. Absorb or cover the spill with suitable materials. Collect residue, place in container and dispose of through Campus Hazardous Waste Program.

e. Clean spill area with soap and water for final decontamination.



a. Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.

b. Turn off ignition and heat sources.

c. Close doors to affected area.

d. Call for Emergency Response: 911

e. Post with danger signs and have person knowledgeable of

incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.



a. Skin Contact: flush affected areas with copious amounts of water and remove  clothing immediately.

b. Eye Contact: flush eyes with water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention.

c. Call 911 for all medical emergencies and notify your Chemical Hygiene Coordinator about the incident