11.15 - Lab Safety

Last updated on April 25, 2023

POLICY: It is the policy of Spoon River College to provide the safest possible environment in research/teaching laboratories.  The Lab Safety Policy does not stand-alone; other more specific programs such as fire safety and hazard communication support it, which are available within Section 11 of the Policies and Procedures Manual.


This policy applies to all occupants of Spoon River College labs.


Lab:  For the purpose of the policy, a lab is a place equipped to conduct experiments, tests, investigations, etc. or any place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation, etc.  Labs are located in allied health, agriculture, art/theatre, biology, chemistry, diesel technology, nursing, physics, physical science, and welding.


  1. Responsibilities:
    1. Lab occupants: The primary responsibility for lab safety lies with the occupants.
    2. Administration: The Vice President is responsible for the development and implementation of campus safety standards that will provide a safe working environment, which includes the lab safety program.  This will be accomplished through assistance from local, state, and federal agencies as well as the campus community.
    3. Faculty: The faculty in charge of the lab is responsible for:
      1. developing a lab safety policy for their respective lab that includes the elements listed in the general lab rules below.
      2. notifying the Vice President of unsafe conditions.
      3. check the operability of the safety equipment on a regular basis. If deficiencies are found, immediately contact Vice President to initiate repair of the equipment.
  2. General Lab Safety: Use of common-sense safety rules can eliminate the majority of problems that may arise. Since all laboratory settings are different, the faculty in charge of the lab is responsible for establishing and implementing rules.
    1. Entrance into the lab: The faculty in charge of the lab:
      1. determines the hazards that are present in the laboratory.
      2. determines restrictions for access to labs by unauthorized personnel.
    2. Exiting the lab: When leaving the laboratory under normal circumstances, the faculty in charge of the lab:
      1. turns off all services not in use.
      2. turns off all lights.
      3. locks all entrances to the laboratory.
  3. General lab rules: The faculty in charge of the lab shall:
    1. Develop a lab safety policy for their respective lab that includes the following elements:
      1. a list of personal protective equipment required.
      2. the location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the specific lab;
      3. emergency procedures.
      4. safety rules and procedures (this may include, but is not limited to, appropriate dress code, rules on food/beverages, no horseplay, etc.).
      5. disposal of waste (if applicable).
    2. Ensure that all equipment is free of obstruction.
    3. Practice good housekeeping. This includes:
      1. ensuring that the new, permanent containers are properly labeled.
      2. promptly disposing of all old or expired chemicals.
      3. keeping aisles and exits clear at all times.
      4. avoiding storage of chemicals and gas cylinders in hallways.
      5. storing chemicals in closed containers.
      6. utilizing proper procedures for spill cleanup.
    4. Ensure that safety equipment is present in their lab(s) as required. This equipment should include:
      1. fire extinguisher;
      2. smoke detectors (if possible);
      3. emergency eyewash;
      4. emergency shower (Chemistry Lab);
      5. fume hoods/biological safety cabinets;
      6. telephone;
      7. first-aid kit.*

      *The faculty will not be responsible for administering first-aid. In all “serious cases” requiring emergency treatment call for Emergency Response (from a safe location):  FROM A CAMPUS PHONE: 911