Lab Safety

The Hydro-Biogeochemistry Group utilizes lab space both in Wilcox Hall (169 and 169A) and in More Hall. In order to (1) ensure the safety of all personnel, (2) maintain a high quality of research, and (3) preserve the lab space for future users, it is essential that everyone is trained and properly prepared to conduct safe lab work.


Required EH&S training

Before working in the lab, all people joining the research group need to take, at a minimum, the following training classes offered by UW Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). All courses can be found via this link.

Asbestos awareness ­– online (~15 min) – needs to be refreshed every year
Compressed Gas Safety – online (~30 min)
Electrical Safety, Basic – online (~25 min)
Fire Extinguisher Training – online (~30 min)
Fume Hood Training – online (~20 min)
GHS, Globally Harmonized System – online (~25 min)
Managing Laboratory Chemicals – online (~2 hours)
Back Injury Prevention – online (~20 min)

Be sure that Sean Yeung (CEE lab manager) and Becca Neumann are notified when you complete these trainings so that we can document your successful completion. Sean Yeung files and stores all training records.


Required Lab specific training

Arrange a lab walk through with Sean Yeung, CEE lab manager. He will walk with you through both the lab in Wilcox Hall and the lab in More Hall and orient you to site-specific lab etiquette, laboratory personal protective equipment, safety items, and emergency procedures (see below).

Review the lab’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) for working with chemicals or conducting potentially hazardous tasks. When completed, send an email to Becca Neumann and Sean Yeung to indicate you are aware of and understand the lab’s standard operating procedures.

If you will be working with foreign soil, or if you will need to access the locked fridge where we store foreign soil, you need to get trained on the lab’s foreign soil protocols. Contact Becca Neumann to receive this training. Foreign soil training needs to be refreshed ever year.

If you will be conducting fieldwork, EH&S offers Wilderness First Aid training if you desire to gain these skills. In addition, Nature published a helpful article on scientific fieldwork that offers guidelines for staying safe and reducing injuries.


General guidelines

Never enter the laboratories unless you have on closed-toed shoes and long pants or long skirts/dresses that cover your legs (no shorts or sandals allowed!).

In both Wilcox and More labs, know the locations of:

  • Nearest eye wash (Eye washes need to be tested/run every week to keep the water clean)
  • Nearest shower
  • Disposable lab gloves
  • Neoprene gloves for working with concentrated acids
  • Thermal insulated glove for working with hot items
  • Cut resistant gloves
  •  Safety glasses
  • Safety goggles
  • Face shields
  • Lab coats
  • Chemical aprons
  • Chemical MSDS/SDS (in the lab and on MyChem)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Phone
  • Spill kit and satellite spill management materials
  • Lab safety manual
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs) -- see above section
  • Safety map
  • Earthquake hiding places
  • Exits
  • Evacuation assembly areas
  • Hazardous waste accumulation areas
  • Glass and sharp plastic disposal areas
  • Sharps (needles, razor blades, syringes) & biohazardous waste disposal areas

Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate (gloves, lab coat, goggles). Lab SOPs outline special PPE requirements for regular laboratory tasks. In addition:

  • Review the laboratory personal protective equipment hazard assessment guide developed for the Neumann Research Lab.
  • Ask Sean Yeung or Becca Neumann any questions you have about PPE.
  • Sign the PPE hazard assessment guide to indicate that you have read, asked questions, and understand PPE requirements for the Neumann Research lab.

If you are working alone in the lab after hours, be sure to let someone know where you are. Avoid working with hazardous chemicals or dangerous pieces of equipment.

If an accident or near miss occurs, report it on OARS (Online Accident Reporting System) and notify Sean Yeung and Becca Neumann so that we are aware. These steps are designed to improve safety; there is no penalty for accidents.


emergency procedures

Leave the building when a fire alarm sounds.

  • If you are in More Hall, assemble down the street at Rainier Vista.
  • If you are in Wilcox Hall, assemble in the C12 parking lot located across the street (NE Mason Road) and next to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

During an earthquake: take cover under a table or sturdy object (to protect from falling items).

Chemical spill: if the spill is large, toxic, fuming/vaporizing, or creates a fire hazard, get out!
If needed: evacuate the lab to prevent exposure, call 911 if someone is hurt, or pull the fire alarm to evacuate the building.