The Chemistry Department at the University of Nevada has developed a Student Safety Program and has developed policies that will minimize your exposure to hazardous situations that may occur in courses. This information is based on the Department of Chemistry Student Safety Program, and applies to CHEM 100, 121L, 122L, 201, 202, 220L, 330, 345, 347, 348, 423, 424, 432, 435, 444, and 455. Other more specific safety policies may be applicable to individual courses, and to advanced Chemistry Department laboratory courses such as CHEM 292, 392, 490, 495, and 496.
The University of Nevada and departmental safety policies represent a Student's Right to Know about any potentially hazardous situation in which you may be placed while performing an experiment. For this reason, before you begin any experiments, your faculty instructor and teaching assistant (TA) will go over any safety precautions of which you should be aware and show you how to perform any particularly difficult or potentially dangerous procedures. Your TA will also emphasize any personal protective equipment and other safety equipment needed. All safety procedures will also be documented in writing, either as a part of the laboratory procedure, or as a handout. They may also be discussed in the lecture part of the course. You should ask your TA if you feel that you do not fully understand the instructions or information given to you about the hazards of any experiment. Once properly instructed, it is your responsibility to follow all safety procedures.
The experiments in these laboratories have been chosen or modified to use relatively safe chemicals and procedures as much as possible. However, all chemicals have a certain level of hazard and toxicity. Therefore, the use of hazardous chemicals cannot be avoided. Some of the experiments do use chemicals that are hazardous (flammability, toxicity, etc.), and special precautions are required. As part of the pre-lab for each experiment, you are expected to review and note the safety precautions and procedures for that experiment. The TA will check this part of your pre- lab before you are permitted to begin the experiment. When using organic solvents, use the chemical fume hoods and protective gloves. If students in advanced classes or undergraduate research work with carcinogenic or acutely toxic materials, they must use gloves and lab coats in addition to goggles, and work in a specially designated area. There is always the possibility of individual sensitivity or allergy to any substance. If you experience any unusual irritation, itching, or burning of the skin, respiratory tract, or eyes, stop the experiment and report the situation to your TA. Anyone with any relevant physical or medical condition (e.g., pregnancy, epilepsy, history of severe allergies, etc.) that might pose difficulties with laboratory operations must report these conditions to the laboratory and course instructor.
The most important personal protective equipment is eye protection. All persons in the laboratory shall wear goggles with impact and splash protection whenever any chemicals or experimental equipment are in use or on the benches anywhere in the laboratory. This includes the full laboratory period except during introductory discussions by the TAs or after all experiments are done and all equipment and chemicals are stored and students are only using the computers. Students who are asked more than twice (in one lab period) to put their goggles on or follow any other safety procedure will be dismissed from the lab for that period. The student will not be allowed to make up that lab and will receive a "zero" for that experiment. More than two "zeros" mean failure of the course (not just the laboratory portion of the course). Full coverage splash and impact goggles (ANSI Spec. Z87) must be worn. Any other splash goggles that you may have from another course may be acceptable. Have your TA or faculty instructor check them for you. You must have a pair that you can wear continuously in the laboratory. Ordinary plastic safety glasses or impact-only goggles are not acceptable. Impact goggles have a larger number of ventilation holes around the facepiece and do not offer protection from a chemical splash. Acceptable safety goggles are available at the ASUN Bookstore.
Students must wear a protective laboratory coat during experimentation. Because of their lack of protection, shorts and short dresses are not allowed in the laboratory. Legs must be covered to the foot. Open sandals or bare feet are forbidden in the laboratory. Shoes must cover the entire foot and be completely enclosed. Individuals with long hair must tie it back to keep it away from fire, chemicals, and moving equipment. Bracelets, necklaces, neckties, and similar loose items of attire may create a hazardous situation and so they must be confined or not worn in the laboratory. Students will not be allowed to enter the laboratory if not properly clothed and will receive a ‘zero' for that day's experiment and will not be allowed to make it up.