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Department of Chemistry
Who is responsible for ensuring that a safe environment exists in a given laboratory?
It is the responsibility of every member of the Department of Chemistry to ensure that a safe work environment is available for all faculty, staff, and students be it in a laboratory or office space.
Who is responsible for providing lab-specific safety training?
It is every laboratory supervisor’s obligation to ensure that the personnel operating in their lab environments have the necessary skills and training to ensure that they can work safely.
Is it appropriate to neutralize acids/bases prior to having them removed as chemical waste?
It is not necessary, nor recommended, that acids/bases be neutralized prior to disposal. Not only will the neutralization process generate larger quantities of waste, neutralizing substances could in itself pose a safety concern.
What is the minimum personal protection equipment (PPE) required in a lab?
The minimum PPE required in a chemistry lab consists of safety glasses and closed toed shoes. The use of lab coats is highly recommended. It is recommended that contact lenses not be worn in chemistry labs as they can trap chemicals close to the eyes causing serious damage. Individual lab supervisors do have the right to require additional PPE above and beyond the minimum requirement.
How should solvent waste be segregated prior to disposal?
Organic solvents should also be segregated into halogenated and non-halogenated containers since these two classes of solvents require different disposal considerations by RPR Environmental. Containers of chemical waste should be stored in a vented solvent cabinet or in a fume hood. Waste containers must be intact and suitable for holding the chemical with a tightly fitting lid to prevent leakage. Twenty liter pails must be sealed. Pour-spout containers must have an intact cap. These containers should be stored in an area with secondary containment in case of a leak or breech of the original container. No waste container should ever be filled beyond 80% of its capacity. List the content(s) of the container on the Chemical Waste Label and their approximate volumes (percentages) - do not use short forms or abbreviations - full chemical names are required.
What is the proper storage procedure for chemical waste?
Liquid and solid chemical waste should be segregated where possible as should any incompatible compounds. It is the responsibility of the lab personnel, including the lab supervisor, to ensure that incompatible chemicals are not combined in the waste containers. Acids and bases should not be stored in the same waste container, nor should they be stored with organic solvents. Organic solvents should also be segregated into halogenated and non-halogenated containers since these two classes of solvents require different disposal considerations by RPR Environmental. Containers of chemical waste should be stored in a vented solvent cabinet or in a fume hood.
What chemicals can be disposed of down the sink?
No chemicals, including aqueous solutions, are to be disposed of down the sinks no mater how dilute.
What height should the sash be set to for optimal fume hood operation?
For optimal fume hood operations the sash should opened to a height of approximate 15.25 cm (6 inches).
Are the fire extinguishers in the lab good for all fires?
The extinguishers in most of the research and teaching labs are carbon dioxide extinguishers. Although they can be used on a wide variety of fires they are never to be used on fires caused by reactive metals. In lieu of a Class D fire extinguisher, sand should be used to smother metal fires
What general chemical incompatibilities should I be aware of?
The following is a list of some common chemicals encountered in chemistry labs and their associated incompatibilities. This list is by no means exhaustive. It is the responsibility of the lab supervisor and lab personnel to be aware of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their labs.
- Chemical Is Incompatible With...
- Acetic acid Chromic acid, nitric acid, hydroxyl compounds, ethylene glycol, perchloric acid, peroxides, permanganates
- Acetone Concentrated nitric and sulphuric acid mixtures, chlorinated solvent/alkali mixtures
- Acetylene Chlorine, bromine, copper, fluorine, silver, mercury
- Alkali & alkaline earth metals Water, carbon tetrachloride or other chlorinated hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, halogens
- Ammonia (anhydrous) Mercury, chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, iodine, bromine,hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous)
- Ammonium nitrate Acids, powdered metals, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrites, sulphur, finely divided organic or combustible materials
- Aniline Nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide
- Arsenical materials Any reducing agent
- Azides Acids
- Bromine Ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, methane, propane (or other petroleum gases), hydrogen, sodium carbide, benzene, finely divided metals, turpentine
- Calcium oxide Water
- Carbon (activated) Calcium hypochlorite, all oxidizing agents
- Carbon tetrachloride Sodium
- Chlorates Ammonium salts, acids, powdered metals, sulphur, finely divided organic or combustible materials
- Chromic acid & Chromium trioxide Acetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, glycerol,alcohol, flammable liquids in general
- Chlorine See bromine
- Chlorine dioxide Ammonia, methane, phosphine, hydrogen sulphide
- Chloroform Strong bases, ketones and strong bases, alkaline metals, aluminium, strong oxidizers
- Copper Acetylene, hydrogen peroxide
- Cyanides Acids
- Flammable liquids Ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, halogens
- Hydrocarbons Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid, sodium peroxide
- Hydrocyanic acid Nitric acid
- Hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous) Ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous)
- Hydrogen peroxide Copper, chromium, iron, most metals or their salts, alcohols, acetone, organic materials, aniline, nitromethane, combustible materials
- Hydrogen sulphide Fuming nitric acid, oxidizing gases
- Hypochlorites Acids, activated carbon
- Iodine Acetylene, ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous), hydrogen
- Mercury Acetylene, fulminic acid, ammonia
- Nitrates Sulphuric acid
- Nitric acid (concentrated) Acetic acid, aniline, chromic acid, hydrocyanic acid, hydrogen sulphide, flammable liquids, flammable gases, copper, brass, any heavy metals
- Nitrites Acids
- Nitroparaffins Inorganic bases, amines
- Oxalic acid Silver, mercury
- Oxygen Oils, grease, hydrogen, flammable liquids, flammable solids, flammable gases
- Perchloric acid Acetic anhydride, bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, wood, grease, oils
- Peroxides, organic Acids (organic and mineral), avoid friction, store cold
- Phosphorus (white) Air, oxygen, alkalies, reducing agents
- Potassium Carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water
- Potassium chlorate Sulphuric and other acids
- Potassium perchlorate Sulphuric and other acids (see also chlorates)
- Potassium permanganate Glycerol, ethylene glycol, benzaldehyde, sulphuric acid
- Selenides Reducing agents
- Silver Acetylene, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, ammonium compounds, fulminic acid
- Sodium Carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water
- Sodium nitrite Ammonium nitrite, and other ammonium salts
- Sodium peroxide Ethyl or methyl alcohol, glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydride, benzaldehyde, carbon disulfide, glycerin, ethylene glycol, ethyl acetate, methyl acetate, fufural
- Sulphides Acids
- Sulphuric acid Potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate (similar compounds of light metals such as sodium and lithium)
- Tellurides Reducing agents
Is it acceptable to prop open lab doors?
Section 188.8.131.52 (4) of the Ontario Fire Code requires that laboratory doors remain closed at all times so as to act as a physical barrier against the spread of fire.
What are the maximum amounts of flammable and combustible materials that can be stored in open areas of a lab?
According to Section 4 of the Ontario Fire Code , 50 L of flammable materials and 250 of combustible materials can be stored in open areas of a lab.
What is the difference between a flammable and combustible material?
A combustible compound has a flash point that is greater than 37.8 ° C but less than 93.3 ° C while a flammable compound has a flash point less than 37.8 ° C and a vapour pressure of 275.8 kPa at
37.8 ° C .