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Fall Research Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Update

Published December 1, 2022

Let’s “fall” into some safety updates and reminders!

Training Content – You Asked and We Listened
Content for both the Initial Laboratory Safety Training and Lab Safety Refresher are now posted on our training landing page. Simply click the “EHS – Laboratory Safety Training” dropdown, then click the icon next to the name of the training you would like to view. You can download a PDF copy for reference anytime.

  • Please note that viewing the posted content does not give credit for the training. Credit is only given for courses completed in Learn@Work or provided live by EH&S.

Always Be Prepared – Wear Your PPE!
In FY22, there were 7 eye exposure injuries in our labs and in all cases, appropriate eye protection was not worn. This is a simple protective measure that can prevent eye-related injuries. Based on this, EH&S has updated and clarified requirements for PPE use in labs:

  • Lab safety begins with proper lab attire. Anyone working in a lab must wear shoes that cover the entire foot and clothing that does not leave the skin exposed below the waist.
  • Standard (or “minimum”) PPE that must be worn for most lab work includes:
    • Eye protection: safety glasses
    • Protective clothing: lab coat
    • Hand protection: gloves
  • Exceptions to the minimum PPE MUST be based on a hazard assessment performed by the lab and documented in the Blue Book. Examples of tasks that may warrant exceptions from the minimum PPE include working at a computer workstation within the lab, using a microscope, etc.
  • Additional information can be found on our PPE page and in the Lab Safety Training.

Vented Cap Requirement for Off-Gassing Waste Streams
Certain waste streams are known to produce gases over time, most notably “piranha solution” (a mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide) and aqua regia (a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid). These, and other off-gassing materials, have the potential to over-pressurize sealed containers, possibly leading to violent rupture of the containers. As a result, it is an EH&S policy and disposal requirement to store all piranha and aqua regia solutions/waste with a vented cap. Please contact EH&S with questions or concerns or if you need help finding appropriate vented caps.

For more information, or if you have questions about any of these topics, please contact EH&S at or (314) 362-6816. You can find all new and existing lab safety resources as well as lab safety contacts on the EH&S website.