IV. Safety Equipment


rev 2/2012

A. Fire Extinguishers

Each faculty member should review the hazards in his/her laboratory on an ongoing basis to determine if the fire extinguisher(s) present are appropriate. If additional or different class extinguishers are needed, the faculty member should notify the Department Office who will notify Facilities Management.

Classes of Fire Extinguishers

Class A - wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and plastics.

Class B - flammable liquids, oils, greases, tars, oil-base paints, and flammable gases.

Class C - energized electrical equipment.

Class D - combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, lithium, and potassium.

Facilities Management inspects extinguishers each month to ensure that each extinguisher:

  1. is located in its designated place,
  2. is not obstructed in access or visibility,
  3. has visible operating instructions and nameplate,
  4. has unbroken seals,
  5. indicates pressure is in the operable range, and
  6. has no physical damage, corrosion or leakage.

The inspection tag is dated and initialed every six months. Annual extinguisher maintenance and periodic hydrostatic testing in accordance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.157 is done by a contractor under the supervision of Facilities Management.

Extinguisher use is demonstrated by the faculty member at the beginning of each laboratory course. If extinguishers are to be discharged during the demonstration, special extinguishers should be requested from Facilities Management.

B. Panic Alarms

Panic alarm buttons are located in Carr and Kendade laboratories, and some other areas of the science complex. The alarm is a blue box with a push button. Pushing the button sends an alarm alerting Public Safety and Service that there is an emergency situation in that area, and a Public Safety and Service officer will be dispatched.

C. Eyewash Stations and Emergency Showers

All chemical laboratories are equipped with eyewash stations. Eyewash stations are flushed once a week for at least three minutes by staff assigned by the departments. All instructional chemical laboratories have either hand-held drench hoses or emergency showers. Facilities Management tests emergency showers twice a year. The spray hose units in Carr and Kendade are not emergency devices as they are not connected to the potable water system.

Proper use of eyewash stations and emergency showers is described by the faculty member at the beginning of the semester in all laboratory courses.

Eyewash/shower units in Carr and Kendade are connected to a flow alarm system. When the unit is activated, the alarm notifies Public Safety and Service that a unit is being used on that floor. This alarm should not be relied upon to alert Public Safety and Service to the need for assistance. The blue Panic Alarm button should be pushed if assistance is required. When flushing units, Public Safety and Service should be called to notify them that it is not an emergency.

D. Gas Shut-Offs

Gas shut-offs are located in all laboratories in Carr and Kendade. There are two types, lever handles and push buttons. Lever handles may be both turned on and off by laboratory personnel. Push button shut-offs require Facilities Management service to restart gas flow.

E. First Aid Kits

Departments provide first aid kits and are responsible for restocking the kits. Additionally, labs using particular chemicals with special first aid requirements keep those materials in the lab. For example, labs using hydrofluoric acid keep 2.5% calcium gluconate for immediate treatment of skin contact. Faculty should discuss such special requirements with the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

F. General Ventilation

All laboratories are under negative pressure when the hoods are on to prevent contaminated air from entering the halls. Hoods should be turned on whenever chemicals are being used in a laboratory to ensure that negative pressure is maintained and to maximize exhaust from the laboratory. Doors should not be propped open as it negatively impacts the air balance of the building.

In Carr LL23A and LL23B, and G27, air flow through vented cabinets is monitored and indicator lights are located outside those rooms. When the light is on, flow is low, the room should not be entered and Facilities Management should be called.

G. Fume Hoods

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety checks fume hood performance annually. Acceptable performance is defined as an average face velocity of at least 100 linear feet per minute (lfm) with the sash open to 15 inches, marginal performance as a face velocity of 75 to 100 lfm, and unacceptable performance as a face velocity of less than 75 lfm. All hoods are equipped with sash stops or posted with acceptable sash location indicators. Hoods with unacceptable performance are posted with “Do Not Use” signs until repaired.

Hoods in Carr and Kendade are equipped with alarms which signal when face velocity is less than 100 lfm, or, for hoods with horizontal sashes, when the sash height is raised above 15 inches. Chemical operations should not be conducted in a hood which is alarming or on which the alarm has been muted. The alarm mute can be used when the hood sash needs to be raised to set-up equipment; the sash must be lowered and the alarm off before the experiment is started. When the hood is not being used or when the experiment is in progress and manipulations are no longer needed, the hood sash should be closed at which time adequate airflow will be provided by the air foil and bypass. When using hoods with vertical sashes, the sash panels should be placed in front of the user with the operation accessed by reaching around the side.

Noise level or indicator lights should not be relied upon to ensure that a hood is functioning. An airflow check should be conducted daily or before operation to ensure that the exhaust is functioning. A “Kimwipe” should be held at the hood opening to determine if there is an inward air flow. If the airflow check indicates that there is no inward flow, post the hood “Do Not Use” and contact the Department Chair or Office.

For those hoods with alarms, a hood should never be used when the hood is in alarm. If the alarm does not stop when the sash is lowered below 15 inches, close down all chemical operations in that hood, lower the sash and report the problem to the Department Chair or Office, who will in turn call Facilities Management.

If all hood alarms in a room go off simultaneously, close down all chemical operations, lower the sash, exit the room and report the problem to the Department Chair or Office.

If the power is off, the emergency power system will maintain enough flow in the hoods to maintain a negative pressure, preventing contaminants from escaping into the room. Hoods should never be used when on emergency power, and all sashes should be kept closed.

H. Spill Control Supplies

Spill response procedures are outlined in Chapter III. Spill control supplies for use in cleaning up spills that can be controlled by laboratory personnel are located in Carr LL11, Carr 1st floor hallway, Clapp 207, and in Psychology/Education room 128. The supplies available in these locations include:

  • nitrile gloves
  • tyvek protective suits
  • chemical splash goggles
  • vapor barrier absorbent pads
  • acid, base and solvent neutralizers
  • mercury clean-up powder

Please notify the Department Office when supplies are used so that they can be replaced. Replacing supplies is the responsibility of each Department.

I. Oxygen Sensors

Several rooms are equipped with portable oxygen sensors and present and audible and visual alarm if oxygen levels fall below 19.5% or increase to 23.5%.

  • Carr NMR rooms (LL02, LL05A)
  • Clapp 5B
  • Shattuck G03

The GasBadge Plus meter remains on all the time and can not be turned off. The screen indicates oxygen concentration in % volume. Meters are maintained by the controlling department.

If the meter does not consistently read in a normal range, it should be calibrated by department staff following manufacturer procedure for calibration using ambient air. If the meter does not calibrate, contact the vendor for replacement.