Safe Use of Chemicals

Guidelines for the safe use of chemicals

Common sense is your most valuable resource

If you are unsure of anything when working with chemicals, stop and ask Staff for help. The consequences of not doing so may prove costly to both yourself and to those working around you. Please be considerate.

When working with chemicals, great care must be taken to avoid accidents. The best way to accomplish this is to be well-informed of the chemicals with which you are working and to work in a slow, deliberate manner.

If you are tired, sick or distraught, please be considerate of the safety of your peers and yourself and re-schedule your work for another day.

Everyone must be familiar with the specifications and hazards information for all of the chemicals they plan to use. Much of the information is summarized in Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Copies of Safety Data Sheets for chemicals in use in the facility can be found in the SDS binders located near lab entrances.

Basic safeguards and protocols

  • ALWAYS follow established protocols for safely bringing chemicals into QNFCF labs.

  • ALWAYS wear protective personal safety equipment as detailed in equipment SOPs

  • ALWAYS open chemical containers inside wet benches approved for the chemicals in question.

  • ALWAYS finish open chemical bottles before opening new ones.

  • ALWAYS Add Acid (AAA) to water, NEVER water to acid.

  • ALWAYS label containers with the chemical composition, your name and the date. Even containers of water MUST be labeled.

  • ALWAYS store chemicals either in the proper chemical cabinets or wet bench.

  • NEVER pour any chemical back into its original container as this will contaminate the remaining fresh solution.

  • NEVER pour any chemical down regular city drains.

  • NEVER mix acids with solvents. These will react violently and may cause an explosion.

  • NEVER mix acids (such as sulphuric acid, etc,) with bases (such as potassium hydroxide, etc.) as they will react violently.

In addition

  • In the event of a small chemical spill, consult the SDS before taking corrective action 

  • Large spills must be handled by staff. Refer to the Emergency Response Plan.

  • If there is not enough room on the hood work surface to hold all of your chemical bottles during processing:

    • ALWAYS keep the extra bottle(s) in a tote(s) on the floor near the hood you are using.

    • ALWAYS make sure these extra bottles do not present a tripping hazard.

    • ALWAYS return the extra bottles to the proper chemical storage cabinet at the end of your session.