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Recommendations for Laboratory Personnel

Do you work in a laboratory? When handling chemicals, always follow safety procedures, even if the chemical in question is not labeled as hazardous.

  • Make sure the laboratory is kept clean and tidy.
  • Use only such hazardous substances and equipment as are absolutely necessary for you to carry out your duties.
  • Always ensure that the sash front is down on any fume hood.
  • If possible, keep hazardous substances in their original Merck containers and packaging. These are able to withstand normal conditions of use and are suitably labeled.
  • If you need to use a different container for day-to-day use, ensure it is at least labeled with the name of the chemical, its hazard symbol(s) and clear text warnings. Keep containers with hazardous substances no higher than the height at which they can still be safely dispensed and shelved.
  • Where possible, keep very toxic and toxic substances under lock and key.
  • Keep any substance that emits harmful vapors or gases in a place that allows these to be permanently extracted.
  • Check the laboratory inventory at least annually and dispose of any chemicals that have become unusable or no longer required.
  • Never pipet by mouth. Always use a mechanically operated pipet. 
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in the laboratory.
  • Never keep food or drink in the vicinity of chemicals. Never place chemicals in containers that are normally used for food or drink.
  • In the event of a potentially harmful leakage of gases, vapors or particles leave the laboratory immediately and warn persons nearby. Before any attempt is made to eliminate the danger, take appropriate measures.
  • Always work under a hood if you are using spontaneously combustible substances, and keep a suitable fire extinguisher close to hand.
  • Always verify the absence of peroxides in liquids that show a tendency to form them, especially before distilling or evaporating the liquid. Dispose of them properly.
  • Keep liquids that show a tendency to form organic peroxides away from light. This is no guarantee, however, that peroxides will not form.
  • Always use the personal protective clothing and equipment that was issued to you. However, the use of respirators and full-body protection should be the exception rather than the rule.
  • Wear suitable clothing and sturdy, closed, non-slip footware when working in the laboratory.
  • Always wear safety spectacles affording adequate protection at the top and sides when working in the laboratory.
  • Always wear protective gloves when the hands in particular may be at risk. Always check gloves before using them, and replace any that are damaged or otherwise unsuitable for use.