Safety manual



Laboratory safety is a major concern to everyone in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department and especially to the Pavement Engineering and Science (PES) personnel working in the Western Regional Superpave Center (WRSC) laboratories. The WRSC laboratory comprises of rooms in two building at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR): Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory (HREL) (Building Code: 065) and Scrugham Engineering and Mines (SEM) (Building Code: 056).

  • Rooms in HREL: 103 (Aggregate Lab), 200 (Binder Lab), 201 (Mixing Lab), 202, 203, 204, 205, 209 (-18°C Freezer), 210 (5°C Freezer).
  • Rooms in SEM: 112, 116 & 116B (Cutting Room).

Floor plans of the two buildings are included at the end of this manual showing the various rooms that are part of the PES program.


Principal investigator responsibilities

The Principal Investigators (PI) have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their laboratories are safe. They must adhere to all guidelines and regulations. They are responsible for the safe use of biological (if applicable), chemical and radioactive (if applicable) substances in their laboratory.

In addition, the PI must:

  • Limit personnel, student, and visitor exposure to hazards to the lowest practical level
  • Develop lab specific safety procedures and train their personnel on them
  • Maintain documentation of training
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and instruction on use
  • Ensure waste is properly disposed
  • Report spills, exposures, or incidents to Environmental Health & Safety (EHS): EH&S 24-hour emergency line 327-5040

Laboratory staff/student responsibilities

  • Know the materials and procedures used in the laboratory
  • Follow safety guidelines and procedures
  • Know the emergency procedures
    Complete required laboratory safety training
  • Report unsafe conditions to lab supervisor, PI, EH&S
  • Utilize all required PPE

General emergency information

Emergency contacts

  • Murugaiyah Piratheepan, HREL 200A, 775-682-6446 (office). 775-219-4905 (cell-after hours)
  • Elie Y Hajj SEM 320A 775-784-1180, EH&S 775-327-5040

If there is an emergency, call (775) 334-COPS (2677) for the University Police or call 911.

For non-emergency items call the following:

  • University Police: (775) 784-4013
  • Reno Police Department: Non-emergency dispatch (775) 334-2121
  • Sparks Police: Non-emergency dispatch (775) 353-2231

If there is a fire or explosion that you cannot control, evacuate the area immediately. Pull the fire alarm and then call 911 from a safe location. For other emergencies, dial 911.

For non-life threatening emergencies or spills/exposures in the laboratory, immediately notify EHS and your lab supervisor/PI. Emergency contact information os also posted next to laboratory room doors for convenience.


Reportable incidents and hazardous waste spills

If a reportable incident or hazardous waste spill occurs:

  1. Isolate area and if possible contain the spill
  2. Contact the Biosafety Officer (BSO) at EHS and Hazardous Waste Manager (HWM) immediately, and PI

BSO: Ben Owens 775-327-5196
HWM: Woody Wright 775-784-1987
PI emergency numbers: 775-784-1180


Fire alarms/extinguishers

Locations of fire pull station alarms and fire extinguishers: Refer to egress maps located on the walls in various locations throughout HREL and SEM. Egress maps for SEM are located by the doors of SEM rooms 116 and 112. Egress maps for HREL are by all stairways and entrances. Egress maps have also been included at the end of this safety lab manual for HREL 1st and 2nd floors and SEM 1st floor.

Know the location of each of these, and identify the location of the extinguisher closest to your lab bench. If the fire alarm sounds, leave the building immediately and move away to a safe distance. Take note of assembly areas on the egress maps.


Eyewashes and safety showers

All laboratories and chemical storage areas must have ready access to an operating eyewash, with a safety shower generally required as well. Recommended maximum travel time for an affected individual (assume eyes have been splashed with chemical) is 10 seconds, with a maximum travel distance of 100 feet.

In the event of a personal contamination, prompt flushing of the affected area is necessary to minimize harm to the affected person. Keep the eyewash/safety shower area free of obstructions, and easily accessible.

  • Location of safety showers: Refer to the egress maps provided at the end of this manual.
  • Location of eyewashes: Refer to the egress maps provided at the end of this manual.

In case of exposure, proceed to nearest eyewash station. Hold eyelids open with thumb and forefinger and rinse for at least 15 minutes. Wash from the outside edges towards the inside to prevent washing hazardous materials back into the eye.

Rinse should be aimed at the inner corner of the eye (near the nose) not directly at the eyeball. “Roll” eyes around and up and down to ensure full rinsing.

Contact lenses (if worn) should be removed as soon as possible. Have another member of the lab call for emergency response immediately. The area around the eye wash station must remain clear at all times.


First aid kit

All personnel must be aware of the locations of the first aid kits in all WRSC laboratories. The signs are displayed in the laboratories to show the locations.


Exposures in the laboratory

All exposures must be reported to the PI and to EH&S.

Chemical exposure

For most chemical exposures to the skin, wash the chemical off with water for at least 15 minutes and remove any contaminated clothing. Use the sink for small exposures; for large exposures use the safety shower.

Molten asphalt cement exposure

First aid procedures in case of asphalt cement burns are posted in the doors of both the binder lab (HREL 200) and mixing lab (HREL 201). Procedure is also given below:

In the event of a molten asphalt cement burn, cool the asphalt cement and affected parts of the body immediately.

Methods of cooling (in order of preference)

  1. Completely submerge affected area in ice water
  2. Completely submerge affected area in tap water
  3. Place affected area under running water

Do not delay!

Use any available water, cooler than body temperature, while arranging for better cooling.

CAUTION: DO NOT apply ice directly to affected area as it may cause cold burns.

Proceed with the following:

Minor asphalt cement burns

At first opportunity get victim to physician. Includes:

  • Injury to small areas of fairly insensitive flesh involving a small quantity of asphalt cement

Serious asphalt cement burns

As soon as possible get the victim to the hospital.  Includes:

  • Injury to the head, face or extremities;
  • Injury when large amounts of asphalt cement are involved;
  • Evidence of nausea or faintness.

A list of urgent care clinics is posted on the doors of HREL 201 and provided below:

Urgent care clinics

Specialty Health Clinic
330 East Liberty Street Suite 100
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 398-3630
Hours:  Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM

ARC Health and Wellness Center/ Sparks
2205 Glendale
Sparks, NV 89431
(775) 331-3361
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 6:00 PM

After hours or weekends

St. Mary’s Urgent Care
1595 Robb Drive, Suite #2
Reno, NV 89523
(775) 284-5556
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30AM to 6:00PM
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00AM to 5:00PM

Medical/life threatening emergencies

St. Mary’s Hospital
235 W. Sixth Street
Reno, NV 89503
(775) 770-3800

Northern Nevada Medical Center
2375 E. Prater Way
Sparks, NV 89434
(775) 331-7000

Treatment for shock

In the event shock occurs, do the following:

  1. Keep victim lying down and quiet.
  2. Keep victim covered with a blanket or something similar to keep body temperature at normal, 98°F
  3. Keep victim’s head lower than feet to promote blood supply to head and chest

DON’T ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE ASPHALT CEMENT with products containing solvents or ammonia!


New employees/visitors

Location of this lab manual: Lab Manager’s office (HREL 200A), Mixing Lab in HREL 201, HREL 113, and SEM 116/SEM 112

Laboratory personnel should be aware of the potential hazards associated with the work and be proficient in the specified practices and procedures.

Know the chemicals you are working with. Look up the material safety data sheet (MSDS). Before using a new chemical, laboratory workers should review the MSDS. Consequently, all laboratory workers must know the location for the MSDSs that are maintained by the laboratory, and how to obtain MSDSs covering additional chemicals used in the laboratory. An MSDS folder showing the most common chemicals that this lab works with are located in HREL 200A. Please consult the PI if you want to gain access to this folder.

EHS subscribes to an electronic database that includes MSDSs and other sources of chemical hazard information. The database is available to the campus community (via campus computers only) through the EH&S website.

Hardcopies of many MSDSs are forwarded to EHS by chemical vendors. These MSDSs are maintained in the EHS office (ARF Room 220). Contact EHS at 775-327-5041 to request copies of MSDSs maintained by EHS.

If you are using a piece of equipment for the first time, be sure to ask for instructions.



All laboratory research personnel must take online and in-class laboratory safety training classes offered by the EH&S. Training must be documented (electronic or paper). In addition, the personnel need to attend the laboratory specific and/or test specific training before start working in the lab. Personnel shall not initiate research until training is completed.

A list of the training courses provided by EH&S can be found on their website.


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

All personnel are required to wear PPE whenever they are working in the lab. The following list is a minimum for general work:



  • No bare feet, open-toed shoes, or sandals are allowed!
  • Long pants are required.
  • No tank tops are allowed.
  • Wear clothes that you can afford to soil.

Lab coat must be worn at all times. When new to the lab, the lab supervisor will provide a new lab coat for you.

Safety glasses are located in HREL 201 in the middle table in a drawer that is appropriately labeled

For specific tasks, additional (in addition to general PPE) PPE must be worn at all times:

Working in the aggregate lab

  • NIOSH particulate respirator N95 (encouraged but not required)
  • Latex gloves
  • Hot mill gloves when taking out aggregates from the ovens

Working in the mixture lab

When mixing and compacting:

  • Cover as much of your skin as possible (long sleeve lab coat)
  • Hot mill gloves

When extracting and recovering binder:

  • Wear goggles
  • Cover as much of your skin as possible (long sleeve lab coat)
  • Wear both disposable nitrile or latex gloves and the more heavy duty reusable nitrile glove
  • Always work under the ventilation hoods!

Working in the cutting lab

  •  Rain coat (to keep you dry)
  • Ear muffs/disposable ear plugs

Working in the binder lab

  • Disposable nitrile/latex gloves
  • Hot mill gloves
  • Cover as much of your skin as possible

Working in the large-scale testing lab

  • Hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Laboratory coat
  • Hot mill gloves (for hot objects)
  • NIOSH N95 particulate respirator (recommended)

Safety procedures

Good practices

  1. Safety is paramount.
  2. Horseplay is ABSOLUTELY NOT ALLOWED anywhere in the lab.
  3. Lab personnel wash their hands after working with potentially hazardous materials and before leaving the laboratory.
  4. Lab personnel must not perform any tests or use any equipment unless they have been trained to properly/safely perform/use them.
  5. Perform tests carefully and do not rush.
  6. Eating, drinking, smoking, smokeless tobacco, handling contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human consumption is not permitted in laboratory areas. If food is stored, it is done so outside the laboratory area in cabinets or refrigerators designated and used for this purpose.
  7. Clean up after your work space after you are finished for the day.

Cutting and coring asphalt mixtures

  1. Always cut or core in a controlled manner
  2. Always wear safety glasses and ear muffs/plugs
  3. Be aware of body parts and keep them away from machine parts (saw) that may potentially crush or cut

Aggregate lab

  1. Always have the rollup door open and the large industrial fan on whenever you commence work in the aggregate lab
  2. A N95 particulate respirator is encouraged. Information on NIOSH N95 particulate respirators that are provided for this lab are included in the back of this manual. Respirators are located in the storage room of HREL 200.
  3. Safety glasses must be worn!
  4. Some of the aggregate bags and pans are heavy. Make sure to lift with a good posture and to use your legs (not your back) whenever you are picking them up. If it’s too heavy for just you to pick up, ask for help

Mixing/compaction lab

  1. Always protect yourself from hot surfaces. Wear long sleeved shirt and lab coat. Never wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Long pants are also required.
  2. When compacting beams/ HVEEM samples/ Marshall samples/gyratory samples, always be aware of where your body parts are. Hydraulic compactors are unforgiving and WILL easily crush your fingers.
  3. When using D-Limonene to clean utensils and equipment, make sure to not breathe in the vapors and try to work in the hoods as much as possible.
  4. When using WD-40 to clean utensils and equipment, avoid breathing in the vapors.
  5. Be wary of the heating gels used during mixing. Keep flames away from you and your clothing.
  6. Never rush when dealing with hot asphalt binder! Rushing can increase the chances for splashes and consequent burns!

Binder lab

  1. Always protect yourself from hot surfaces. Wear long sleeved shirt and lab coat. Never wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Long pants are also required.
    Never rush when dealing with hot asphalt binder! Rushing can increase the chances for splashes and consequent burns!

Large-scale testing lab

  1. Always wear the hard hat when you are inside the lab.
  2. A N95 particulate respirator and safety glasses are recommended when working with subgrade, base, and /or asphalt mixtures.
  3. Get proper training from the laboratory manger or department technician before using any tools in the lab
  4. Always use a properly secured ladder when reaching objects above your head level

Safety equipment

  1. Protective eyewear (goggles) is worn when conducting procedures that have the potential to create splashes hot asphalt binder or hazardous materials. All personnel MUST wear safety glasses at all times.
  2. In addition to goggles, face shields are recommended when transferring hazardous materials such as asphalt solvents from one container to the other.
  3. Gloves are worn to protect hands from exposure to hazardous materials. Hot Mill gloves are worn to protect hands from exposure to hot surfaces. Glove selections based on an appropriate risk assessment. Hands are washed prior to leaving the laboratory
  4. Gloves are changed when contaminated, integrity has been compromised, or when otherwise necessary.
  5. Gloves are removed and hands are washed when work with hazardous materials has been completed and before leaving the laboratory.
  6. Dust masks are changed when contaminated, integrity has been compromised, or when otherwise necessary.
  7. Disposable ear plugs are not washed or reused. Used ear plugs are disposed of at the end of the day.