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Safety

The Department of Geology is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and faculty. We strive to teach appropriate respect for safety while engaging in scientific pursuits. Department faculty and the Department Safety Committee work to ensure that of all laboratories, equipment, and field activities are compliant with federal, state, local, and University safety requirements.

General safety requirements are:

  1. Signage – All research labs should have signs on/near the entry that provides contact information for the lab PI, safety officer, and emergency personnel. The sign should also include a summary of hazards, and minimum entry requirements such as PPE and training.
  2. PPE – Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is required when working in the Department of Geology research laboratories. PPE includes goggles or safety glasses, a lab coat, and proper gloves. Specific lab entry requirements and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for hazardous activities can be found in the safety documentation of each laboratory (Chemical Hygiene Plan).
  3. Training – All lab users must at a minimum have the USU EH&S Laboratory Safety Initial training. Users must complete an annual refresher training.
  4. Safety equipment– All lab users should know the locations of the fire extinguisher, eye-wash and/or safety shower, first aid kit, and chemical spill kit.
  5. Food and drinks- Food and drinks are not allowed in laboratory.
  6. Shoes- Open-toed or open-heeled shoes are not allowed.
  7. Hair- Hair should not be worn in a style such as would impair vision, cause distractions during job functions, or come in contact with work surfaces, or moving equipment.
  8. Transfer of chemicals- For transporting chemicals outside the laboratory, always place the chemicals in a secondary confinement on a cart. Hand-carrying chemicals outside the laboratory is absolutely forbidden. When moving chemicals within the laboratory, always wear PPE including safety glasses/goggles, gloves, and lab coat, and carry the chemicals with caution. Never grab the container by the cap.
  9. Fume hood- Always make sure a fume hood is operational before use. Open the sash to proper height when using. Avoid opening the sash too high because it reduces the effectiveness of air flow. Avoid the accumulation of items and waste in the fume hood that may obstruct the air flow or safe use. Lower the sash after use.
  10. Chemical spills- You must know the location of spill clean-up material in your laboratory. You must know the Spill Prevention and Response procedure for your laboratory.
  11. Housekeeping- Good housekeeping is an essential aspect of laboratory safety. The work area must be cleaned up at the end of each procedure and prior to the start of a new procedure. This includes cleaning of glassware and other lab equipment promptly after use. Broken glassware must be carefully disposed in the lab sharps container. All lab exists must be free and clear of obstacles, and doors must remain shut and locked.
  12. Chemical storage – All chemicals must be stored appropriately with other compatible chemicals/materials. Refer to chemical Safety Data Sheets for storage information.
  13. Waste – All laboratory chemical and hazardous wastes must be managed following University policies. Refer to laboratory specific safety documentation for details. Chemical waste must NOT be poured down the drain.
  14. Field Work – Field research requires the same or greater attention to safety that laboratory work requires. Some of the major hazards include driving to field sites, slips, trips, falls, heat, cold, lightning, and animals. Wear appropriate PPE for field activities involving hammers and chisels, chemicals, gas cylinders, or other equipment. Avoid working alone and develop a Field Research Safety Plan per Department requirements (see links below).

Specific safety requirements and safety training can be found at the following links: