Resources

Below you will find a wealth of lab safety links, videos and other resources. Just expand any of the categories that interests you.

One Hundred Years of Progress (publication)

Since 1973, LSI President Jim Kaufman has been collecting anecdotal accounts of lab accidents.  The collection now includes more than 5,000 examples of what happens when you break the rules.  The first 1,500 have been published by LSI in a three-volume series entitled Learning By Accident.  One Hundred Years of Progress is a compilation of the most serious accident reports for each of the last seventy years.

This publication is a list of at least 125 major lab accidents which have occurred over the past 100 years, including:

  • 2011  A solvent fire destroyed the Discovery Laboratory at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) in Hyderabad, India.
  • 2010  A graduate student at Texas Tech in Lubbock lost three fingers and punctured an eye when the highly reactive material he was working with exploded.
  • 2009  In January, the UCLA research technician died from the burns sustained in the incident.
  • 2008  In December, a research technician , Sheharbano Sangji, at the University of California in Los Angeles was badly burned when pyrophoric t-butyl lithium sprayed from a syringe.
  • Windsor Pharmaceutical lab worker dies after exposure to toxic chemicals. The hood had been turned off due to roof construction. Ronald Daigle was the 46-year-old chemist. The chemical was trimethylsilyldiazomethane.
  • 2006  Six students and the teacher were injured at Western Reserve Academy in January when a flame test demo exploded. Two students were reportedly burned over 40-50% of their bodies.
  • A cylinder of liquefied nitrogen gas exploded in the Chemistry Department of Texas A&M University (College Station). The cylinder went through the ceiling into the penthouse. Damage is estimated at over one million dollars.
  • Nancy, France - A large explosion rocked a university's chemistry department in eastern France on Friday, killing a professor who was blown through the ceiling and seriously injuring a student, authorities said.

Updated in 2013 edited by James A. Kaufman, Ph.D.
Buy One-Hundred Years of Progress
Related Items: Learning By Accidents Volumes 1-3, Memorial Wall

Report an Accident

Accidents in the Laboratory are all too common and there has always been a serious issue of under reporting. Perhaps the fear of punishment could be one of the leading causes. However, here at the Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI), we believe accidents are lessons we can learn from. To help us further with our mission of "Making Health, Safety and the Environment an Integral and Important Part of Education, Work, and Life," we have created a simple accident reporting form. The information gathered will be published as anonymous but we ask that you do fill out the form completely to validate the information's authenticity.

Please tell us who was injured, how many injured and whether medical attention was needed.
Please describe what happened and how it happened.
Free Documents

Below you will find a list of helpful publications. Some publications can be duplicated and the information reused.  Be sure to check any copyright attributed to these publications. If you find a useful publication that you would like to share with others, please share the link with us and we will put it up in this library for all to use.

Reduction of Hazardous Waste From High School Chemistry Laboratories Editor: Dr. George H. Wahl, Jr.
School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide NIOSH Department of Health and Human Services
Introduction to Safety in the Chemical Laboratory Wisc-online Safety PowerPoint with quiz
Biosafety in the Laboratory Prudent Practices for the Handling and Disposal of Infectious Materials National Research Council
Less is Better American Chemical Society
School Science Laboratories A Guide to Some Hazardous Substances U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Model Chemical Hygiene Plan Free Electronic K-14 Schools Edition* The Laboratory Safety institute

*Free for K-12 Schools and 2-Year Colleges only.

Become a member of LSI and gain access to more free downloads through our webstore! All membership dues go toward scholarship funds so that school science, art and technology teachers can attend LSI public courses!

Lab Safety Dictionary
Lab Safety Guidelines

Laboratory Safety Guidelines: 40 Suggestions for a Safer Lab was written while Dr. James Kaufman worked for the Dow Chemical Company in an attempt to share with schools, colleges, and universities what he was learning about lab safety. In 1976, Dow sent copies to 2,000 colleges and university chemistry departments and received requests for 250,000 reprints!

In 1986, Dr. Kaufman assisted Dow with a revision of the guidelines. Dow sent this version to 10,000 high schools. Since then, over two million copies have been distributed and reprinted in various forms.

Lab Safety Guidelines PosterRecently, we revised the guidelines for Fisher Safety to make a new, four-color Laboratory Safety Guidelines poster. Twenty thousand copies are being distributed. Other versions have been produced with the help of Carolina Biological Supply and Fisher Science Education. Whiteboard animation videos on our website feature these guidelines as well.

The Laboratory Safety Institute offers these suggestions for improving laboratory safety because we believe that having an understanding of inherent hazards and learning how to be safer and healthier should be an integral and important part of science education, work, and life.

A 60-page booklet with a full discussion of each guideline, as well as large-format guideline posters are available on our webstore.

Currently we have our 40 Guidelines translated into multiple languages and over three million copies have been distributed. You can request a copy by using the link below. If you would like to assist us in translating into more languages please send us an email.

Languages Available (PDF format):

Arabic (العربية) German (Deutsch) Korean (한국어) Russian (русский)
Bengali (বাংলা) Hindi (हिंदी) Mandarin (中文简体) Sinhala (සිංහල)
English Italian (Italiano) Persian (فارسی) Spanish (español)
French (Français) Japanese (日本語) Portuguese (Português) Thai (ไทย)
Turkish (Türkçe)

Request a free copy of the Laboratory Guidelines

Labsafety-L
History

Labsafety-L got its start in the 90’s.  When OSHA promulgated the Laboratory Standard, the regulation forecast the need for 35,000 Chemical Hygiene Officers (CHOs).  LSI wanted to create a professional association for CHOs.  In talking to colleagues, it became clear that folks had enough conferences to attend and enough dues to pay.  So, in 1998 LSI created “The National Association of Chemical Hygiene Officers.

No dues, no meetings, no officers, and no bylaws.  What’s left?  Members talking to members about lab safety issues and concerns.  NACHO might well be the first “professional association” which was actually "born" on the internet.  Today, Labsafety-L serves as a listserv for nearly 1,000 scientists, science educators, and lab professionals throughout the world.

What is a Listserv?

A listserv is an electronic internet bulletin board, also called an "internet discussion group," or "email BB."  You send a command to the listserver (see "How to join" below).  After your name has been added to the list by the moderator (Jim Kaufman), any messages you send to the list will be distributed to all the addresses on the list, and you will receive the messages sent by other list members.  It serves as a tool for professionals to get answers to questions, have discussions and to offer advice to fellow professionals.

How does the listserv work?

The listserver is a computer. You send commands to the server by emailing LISTSERV@SIU.EDU.   When emailing, you do not need to have anything in the subject line, commands are placed in the body of the email message. When you want to start or participate in a discussion, ask a question or share something with the group, you send an email to the list, Labsafety-L@siu.edu.  Labsafety-L is hosted on the computers at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

How to join:

There are two ways you can join Labsafety-L. When joining, you must join using your first and last name.

  • Email Dr. James Kaufman and request to be added. Be sure to include your first and last name.
  • Send command to LISTSERV@SIU.EDU, in the email body SUB LABSAFETY-L (your first and last name. The subject line can be blank.

Commands:

Since the listerserver is a computer, subscribers have to email the listserv commands in order to change settings.  If you have any questions on need further explanation you can email or call us. Below you will find the list of commands. Remember, send commands to LISTSERV@SIU.EDU

 Commands: (Place in body of email)  Explanation:
SUB LABSAFETY-L "Your Name" Use this to subscribe to the list or to change your name. Make sure to use your full first and last name.
SIGNOFF LABSAFETY-L Remove your name and you will receive no more messages.
SET LABSAFETY-L ACK Instructs the listserver to send you acknowledgement that your message was received.
SET LABSAFETY-L NOACK Instructs the listserver to no longer send you an acknowledgement that your message was received.
SET LABSAFETY-L NOMAIL If you are going on vacation you can use this so the listserver will not send you any messages. This is important because if you have an auto response set up for your email while away, it will be sent to everyone on the list.
SET LABSAFETY-L MAIL Turns your mail back on so that you will once again receive messages from the list.
SET LABSAFETY-L MIME Use Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) format.
SET LABSAFETY-L NOMIME Take off the MIME format.
SET LABSAFETY-L DIGEST Receive digest version rather than all the messages.
SET LABSAFETY-L INDEX Receive message index rather than all messages.
SET LABSAFETY-L REPRO Receive a copy of your own message.
SET LABSAFETY-L NOREPRO Sets it so that you will not receive a copy of your own message.
REVIEW LABSAFETY-L Causes the listserver to send you the list (except for concealed addresses)
INDEX LABSAFETY-L Causes the listserver to send you a directory of available archive files from the list.
GET LABSAFETY-L LOGxxxx After you have received the archive directory you will see a list of numbers to replace the xxxx.
INFO REFCARD This will cause listserver to send you an email with a full list of commands. Above is just a list of the more commonly used commands.
Speaking of Safety Newsletter (Free)

Memorial Wall

Visit our Memorial Wall of those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of science due to poor lab safety.

Mini-Grants
The Laboratory Safety Institute provides mini-grants in support of projects that improve the health and safety of students and teachers in science labs.  Here are a few examples of they types of projects we have supported in the past.

1.  A university EHS director went to China on an exchange program.  She visited universities and wrote a summary comparing their lab safety practices for an article in Speaking of Safety.  LSI helped to support the visit.

2.  A high school teacher purchased twenty different types of chemical splash goggles and had her students evaluate each pair during the year.  LSI paid for half the cost of the goggles.  The results were published in Speaking of Safety.

3.  A graduate student wanted to study lab accidents and injuries in New York City area colleges and universities.  LSI provided some funding for travel expenses, postage, and photocopying.  The results were summarized in Speaking of Safety.

The projects should be of such a nature as to provide an interesting research result, a model for other schools or develop information that can be shared and be of benefit to others.  LSI does not provide support for salaries or simple for the purchase of equipment (in the absence of a mini research project).

Requests for support should:

1. Identify the principal investigator.

2. Describe the proposed project.

3. Explain how others can benefit from the project.

4. Provide an itemized budget. 

5.  Indicate the portions of the budge that will be funded by other sources and the portion requested from LSI.

Mini-Grant requests are reviewed as they are received and reply is normally provided within one month.  Email submissions are encouraged and appreciated.

Safety Videos

Welcome to our safety video section. Here you will find videos that were once part of our Lending Library, but are now viewable free online. We will try to offer as many videos as we can in this section, but if you want to know right away when something new is added, then you can subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Also check out Dow Lab Safety Academy!

Introduction to Lab Safety - This introductory program covers essential topics on laboratory safety applicable to a wide range of laboratories. This course is a 2 hour flash audio and video presentation.

  Assessing Risks of Toxic Chemicals

"Perhaps our notion of what's dangerous and what's not dangerous and what proper practice should be is distorted from the controversy that surrounded recombinant DNA technology. When it was introduced, procedures which most thoughtful people felt should be really addressed with a certain level of safety were exaggerated perhaps in the public mind. And, when there isn't a sufficient justification for a safety procedure, it loses its meaning and you lose respect for it. That is important to overcome because when you do work in a laboratory there are reagents in the laboratory and procedure that are very worthy of the kind of respect that's necessary to deal with them"

- Philip Leder, M.D. HHMI Senior Investigator Harvard Medical School

Centrifugation Hazards

Centrifugation requires a series of choices critical to safety.

- Which Centrifuge?
- Which rotor?
- Which tubes and adapters?
- What speed and for how long?
- What level of containment?

In just 9 mins you'll have the answers to these questions.

 

Chemical Hazards

This video promotes chemical safety. Phenol-chloroform extraction and ethanol precipitation are used to demonstrate the safety principles that apply to working with many of the hazardous chemicals found in the modern biology laboratory. This video will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

 

Chemical Storage Hazards

This video provides guidance for the prudent storage of the chemicals used in the modern biology laboratory. It will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

 

Emergency Response

No one intends to have an accident; everyone should know how to respond to one. This video provides guidance for responding to emergencies in the modern biology laboratory. It will introduce new staff to appropriate emergency response procedures and provide a general review in emergency response for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Procedures are presented for responding to the following emergencies:
- Laboratory fire
- Radiation spill
- Chemical spill
- Biological spill
- Personal injury
--- Clothing on fire
--- Skin contamination
--- Eye exposure
--- Cuts and puncture wounds

Glassware Washing Hazards

This video provides guidance for the safe washing and sterilization of laboratory glassware. It will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Safe glassware washing and sterilization require skill, teamwork, good work habits, and an understanding of the hazards involved.

Video covers:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Sorting
Working together
Use of washing machines
Acid washing
Autoclave

LSI Hosts BioRAFT for Demo and Discussion

The Laboratory Safety Institute hosted on May 9th, 2013 BioRAFT for a presentation of the BioRAFT platform for safety, compliance and training, and a fact-finding discussion on the differences between academia and industry in safety management.

  • Learn about the BioRAFT EHS Management software
  • Discuss the differences between academia and industry for EHS
LSI's Favorites Playlist

By means of the internet and especially YouTube, there are many videos made available to us. You can view some of LSI's favorites by subscribing to our YouTube account.

http://www.youtube.com/user/LabSafetyInstitute

The video presentation you see here is a compilation of all our favorites found on YouTube.

Video 1: Safety Gear
Video 2: The Sloppy LabVideo 3: Food in the LabVideo 4: Evacuate (when you hear alarms)
University of Michigan Lab Safety Videos
Visit their site

The University of Michigan's ECE Safety Committee created four comical but informative videos on personal protective equipment (PPE), lab housekeeping, chemical hygiene (food and chemicals), and building evacuationVideo 1: Safety Gear
Video 2: The Sloppy Lab
Video 3: Food in the Lab
Video 4: Evacuate (when you hear alarms)
Assessing Risks of Toxic Chemicals - 16:30 mins.

"Perhaps our notion of what's dangerous and what's not dangerous and what proper practice should be is distorted from the controversy that surrounded recombinant DNA technology. When it was introduced, procedures which most thoughtful people felt should be really addressed with a certain level of safety were exaggerated perhaps in the public mind. And, when there isn't a sufficient justification for a safety procedure, it loses its meaning and you lose respect for it. That is important to overcome because when you do work in a laboratory there are reagents in the laboratory and procedure that are very worthy of the kind of respect that's necessary to deal with them"

- Philip Leder, M.D. HHMI Senior Investigator Harvard Medical School.

Centrifuge Hazards - 8:51 mins

Centrifugation requires a series of choices critical to safety.

This video presents guidance for the safe use of centrifuges. Introduce new staff and provide a meaningful review for experienced workers.

Chemical Hazards- 9:27 mins

Produced by Schumann Productions Inc

This video promotes chemical safety. Phenol-chloroform extraction and ethanol precipitation are used to demonstrate the safety principles that apply to working with many of the hazardous chemicals found in the modern biology laboratory. This video will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Chemical Storage Hazards - 11:17 mins

Produced by Schumann Productions Inc

This video provides guidance for the prudent storage of the chemicals used in the modern biology laboratory. It will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Emergency Response - 11:44 mins

Produced by Schumann Productions Inc

No one intends to have an accident; everyone should know how to respond to one. This video provides guidance for responding to emergencies in the modern biology laboratory. It will introduce new staff to appropriate emergency response procedures and provide a general review in emergency response for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Procedures are presented for responding to the following emergencies:
- Laboratory fire
- Radiation spill
- Chemical spill
- Biological spill
- Personal injury
--- Clothing on fire
--- Skin contamination
--- Eye exposure
--- Cuts and puncture wounds

Glassware Washing Hazards - 10:04 mins

Produced by Schumann Productions Inc

This video provides guidance for the safe washing and sterilization of laboratory glassware. It will introduce new staff to good laboratory practices and provide a meaningful technical review in safety for the more experienced laboratory worker.

Safe glassware washing and sterilization require skill, teamwork, good work habits, and an understanding of the hazards involved.

Video covers:
-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
-Sorting
-Working together
-Use of washing machines
-Acid washing
-Autoclave


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Useful Websites

Chemical Information & SDSs

Advanced ChemSynthesis Ltd. - Specializing in the design, synthesis and analysis of small organic compounds for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
CCOHS ChemInfo - Search ChemInfo database.
Donjindo - Produces over 800 well-known products used by research organizations in many disciplines.
EMD Chemicals Inc. - represents the North American extension of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, for specialty chemicals.
Fisher Scientific - Order literature and catalogs for Fisher products here.
Fluka Chemical - (Aldrich/Signma/Fluka/Supelco)
Kem Tek - Products for your pool and spa.
Kodak - Material Safety Data Sheets for chemical products and Article Information Sheets, for items such as film, paper, and equipment. Contains country specific regulatory information.
ILP, Inc. - Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance.
Modec Inc. - Technical development of decontamination technologies involving nuclear, chemical and biological agents.
MSDS-Search - The purpose of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is to inform industrial purchasers and users of hazardous chemicals of reasonably foreseeable physical and chemical hazards that may arise from the use of those chemicals.
NIOSH International Safety Cards - The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created both NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is in the U.S. Department of Labor and is responsible for developing and enforcing workplace safety and health regulations.
Packard Chemicals - The Life & Analytical Sciences (LAS) division of PerkinElmer provides drug discovery, genetic screening and chemical analysis instrumentation, reagents and services for scientific research and clinical applications.
Praxair Products - Praxair Services has something big in store for customers in For McMurray, Alberta Canada, who need more liquid nitrogen.
Scientific Instrument Services - Specialty abrasive/adhesive.
Vedco Products - Veterinary supplies

Government Agencies & Programs

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
EPA - US Environmental Protection Agency
ERIN - Australian Environmental Resources Information Network
FDA - US Food and Drug Administration
DOT - US Department of Transportation
IARC - International Agency for Research of Cancer
NIEHS - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NTP - National Toxicology Program
NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission
OCT-CTA - Office de transports du Canada - Canadian Transport Agency
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Association
TC - Transport Canada
USDA - US Department of Agriculture

Online Training

Fire extinguishers - learn how to use fire extinguishers online.

Other Web Resources

American Council on Science and Health
Industrial Hygiene

Professional Associations

ABIH - American Board of Industrial Hygiene (CIH exam/cert)
ABSA - American Biological Safety Assn. (CBSP exam/cert)
ACGIH - American College of Govermental Industrial Hygienists
ACS - American Chemical Society
AIC - American Institute of Chemists
AIHA - American Industrial Hygiene Association
ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers
ASSE - American Society of Safety Engineers
ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials
ANSI - American National Standards Institute
CGA - Compressed Gas Association
CMA - Chemical Manufacturers Association
IHMM - Institute of Hazardous Materials Mgmt. (CHMM exam/cert)
NAOSMM - Publishes a quarterly magazine
NFPA - National Fire Protection Association
NRCC - National Registry of Certified Chemists (NRCC-CHO exam/cert)
SEFA - Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association

Research Institutions EH&S Links

Auburn U.
Carnegie Mellon
Harvard U.
U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Indiana U.
MIT Biosafety Office
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Penn State U.
Princeton
Purdue U.
Rutgers
Southern Illinois U. Carbondale
Sanford
Umeå University
U. California Irvine
U. California Riverside
U. Delaware
U. Georgia
U. Iowa
U. Minnesota
U. New Hampshire
U. Texas
U. Vermont
U. Washington
U. Waterloo

Vendors & Suppliers

AL & OSH Consultants Australia - Consulting Services
Ansell Limited - Gloves.
BestGloves - Gloves.
BOC Sciences - provides both a wide range of research chemicals and biochemicals and services to support the pharmaceutical industry through all stages of drug discovery..
Carolina Biological Supply
 - Lab Supplies Chemicals Specimens, Safety products.
CIH Equipment - Specializing in environemtnal test equipment repair and calibration, flow calibration, noise control, and sound level meter calibration.
Ergonomics Inc. - Custom test equipment for Regulatory Compliance.
Ergonomics Training - BACKSAFE® is an injury prevention program.
ERLab Group - Ductless and filtered fumehood and enclosures.
Flinn Scientific - Lab Supplies, Chemical Specimens, Safety Products.
Genium - Safety Books and Media.
Kimberly-Clark - Glassware.
Lab Safety Supply - Safety Products.
New Pig Spill Control - Spill Control/Clean-up.
OSH Web Directory Australia
Production Basics - You need a workstation.
SafetyEquipment.net.au - Understands that personal safety and protection are of critical importance in any workplace for all its staff and visitors.
Safety Cultures
Silver Wolf Consulting & Engineering, Inc.
Trend Product Coding, Marking & Labeling Systems - In-House Surgical Instrument Etching units for infection control approved identification.
VistaLab Technologies - Ergonomic Pipetting device.

What-Not-To-Do Poster