Lab Safety



Gas Cylinders Select Agent & Toxins
Biological Safety Hazardous Waste Shipping & Receiving Hazardous Materials
Bloodborne Pathogens Honey Bees Spill Response
Chemical Safety Labels Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Department of Homeland Security Lasers Training
Emergencies Links
Ergonomics Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Fire Safety

Medical Screening & Surveillance
Formaldehyde Nanotechnology
Forms Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Fume Hoods Radiation Safety


Biological Safety

Wellesley College's Biosafety Program puts forth programs to protect faculty, staff and students from exposure to biohazardous materials, to guard against the release of biohazardous materials that may harm humans, animals, plants or the environment, and to protect the integrity of experimental materials. Responsibility for oversight of the program resides with the Environmental Health and Safety Office, the Science Center Office and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). All recombinant or synthetic DNA studies, pathogenic organisms, and bloodborne pathogens must be registered with the IBC.

Wellesley College Information:

  • Biosafety Manual  (includes info on risk assessment, roles and responsibilities, biosafety cabinets, PPE, autoclave use, and waste disposal)
  • Registration Form for Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and Infectious Agent Research 
  • Amendment Form for Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and Infectious Agent Research

Other Resources:

  • Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Emerging Biotechnology - NIH Office of Science Policy Website


 Chemical Safety

The OSHA Lab standard applies to all employees working with hazardous chemicals in the laboratory. The Chemical Hygiene Plan addresses how to safely work with hazardous chemicals to prevent occupational exposure in the laboratory. 

  • Standard Operating Procedures for Hazardous Chemicals
  • OSHA Laboratory Standard - Safety & Health Topics Page and Lab Safety Fact Sheets
  • OSHA Hazardous & Toxic Substances - Safety and Health Topics Page
  • American Chemical Society - Committee on Chemical Safety - Booklet "Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 7th Edition Volume 1 Accident Prevention for College and University Students"
  • American Chemical Society - Committee on Chemical Safety - Booklet "Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 7th Edition Volume 2 Accident Prevention for Faculty and Administrators"
  • American Chemical Society - Committee on Chemical Safety - Brochure "Safety for Introductory Chemistry Students Brochure"
  • Chemical Safety Board - Video on Lab Accidents entitled "Experimenting with Danger” is now available. See here for the news release by the CSB
  • Laboratory Chemicals Safety Summaries from Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals by the National Research Council in 1995.

 Radiation Safety

The Radiation Safety Committee is responsible for ensuring that users of ionizing radiation are in compliance with existing regulatory requirements, such that any resultant radiation exposures are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). These objectives are accomplished through a radiation safety program that includes protocol review, continuous accountability of materials and devices, radiation safety training, laboratory waste processing and personnel dosimetry. Responsibility for oversight of the program resides with the Science Center Office.


 Hazardous Chemical Waste

Wellesley College is committed to pollution prevention and the management of hazardous chemical waste in compliance with applicable regulations. It is Wellesley’s goal to reduce, reuse or recycle, when possible. Hazardous chemical waste is managed by the EHS Office and the Science Center.

Other types of waste in the laboratory include biological, spill clean-up material, universal and medical wastes.  Information on disposal practices can be found on the EHS website under Waste Management

  • American Chemical Society Less is Better - for waste minimization concepts for labs


Other Important Information:


Anesthetic Gases




Bloodborne Pathogens:

The purpose of this Plan is to minimize and/or eliminate employee occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. An occupational exposure, for the purpose of this standard, means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membranes, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) that may result from the performance of an employee's duties.


Information on Accidents, Injuries, and Chemical Release

  • Police Department: x5555 or 2121 for non-emergencies
  • Health Services: x2810
  • EH&S: x3882


Department of Homeland Security's

CFAT rule imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities which includes institutional research facilities.

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards
Chemicals of Interest- Appendix A published Nov 2007


Ergonomics is the scientific study of human work and considers the capabilities and limits of the worker during interaction with tools, equipment, work methods, tasks, and the working environment. It is, “fitting the task to the person and not the person to the task”. The EHS Office manages this program.

Fire Safety

Fire Safety and Emergency Evacuation information.


OSHA Safety and Health Topic - Formaldehyde

Fume Hoods

A laboratory fume hood is a three-sided enclosure with an adjustable front opening. It is designed to capture, contain, and exhaust hazardous fumes generated inside its  enclosure. Fume hoods accomplish this by exhausting air through the hood face to the outside of the building. Fumes are then drawn away from the worker's breathing zone. Because exposure to volatile chemicals is one of the top health and safety hazards to laboratory workers, a fume hood operates as a principle safety devise in a laboratory setting.  (Info from

Wellesley College Science Center Fume Hoods with Phoenix Controls Info Sheet1 and Info Sheet 2 showing Sensors and Flow Box Info

Links on Fume Hood Operation & Safety:


Gas Cylinders


Guidance on Working with Honey Bees


Properly labeled containers are important in protecting your health and safety as well as first responders. It is also an OHSA requirement.

Labels on purchased chemicals must include:

  • The common name of the chemical
  • The name, address and emergency phone number of the company responsible for the product
  • An appropriate hazard warning
  • Signal words used to indicate degree of hazard are "DANGER", for the most serious hazard, "WARNING", for moderate hazard, and "CAUTION" to indicate a lesser degree of hazard.
  • Cornell EHS Label Program


The Laser Safety Program at Wellesley College follows ANSI Z 136.1 and 136.5 "The Safe Use of Lasers" and the MA DPH Regulations. Copies of the written program and ANSI standards are available in the EHS Office.

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health Regulations 105 CMR 121 : To Control the Radiation Hazards of Lasers, Laser Systems and Optical Fiber Communication Systems Utilizing Laser Diode or Light Emitting Diode Sources
  • DPH Radiation Control Program Registration Form for ANSI Class 3b or 4 Lasers
  • Wellesley College Laser Inventory Form for all ANSI Class Lasers
  • Recommended Vendors for Laser Safety Products


Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. SDS's include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures.

Medical Screening & Surveillance

Medical screening is a method for detecting disease or body dysfunction before an individual would normally seek medical care. Medical surveillance is the analysis of health information to look for problems that may be occurring in the workplace that require targeted prevention. Working with some lab chemicals (ie. formaldehyde) or equipment (lasers) may require faculty, staff or students to be involved in these programs.


EPA defines nanotechnology in their Final Nanotechnology White Paper as "Research and technology development at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels, in the length scale of approximately 1 - 100 nanometer range; creating and using structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size; and the ability to control or manipulate on the atomic scale." Click here for access to the EPA paper.


Personal Protective Equipment or PPE


Select Agents & Toxins

Shipping and Receiving of Hazardous Materials


Spill Response

Chemical Spills:
Small spills can be cleaned up by the user if prepared, trained and spill response equipment is readily available.

  • Evaluate the situation (including a review of the SDS)
  • Notify manager/supervisor
  • Secure the area
  • Control and contain spill
  • Clean up
  • Decontaminate
  • Ensure proper disposal of spill material

For large spills, unknown materials, or extremely hazardous materials, immediately secure & post the area. Contact Campus Police 24/7 at x 5555 and or EHS at x 3882 during work hours.

Large spills may require reporting to local, state or federal agencies. Contact EHS at x 3882 to ensure proper reporting.

American Chemical Society Guide for Chemical Spill Response Planning in Laboratories

Links & Resources: