Wipf Group Chemical & Laboratory Safety Information

The first step after a chemical incident is always to remove contaminated clothing, then rush for water – most likely the safety shower – to rinse contaminated skin areas, alert bystanders and get help! Do not do anything alone and don't do lab work alone!

Note: After taking the necessary and justified immediate action (for example: pull fire alarm, call Campus police at 4-2121, a.o.), all accidents and safety issues involving University employees, undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs should be reported without delay to the research advisor or lab supervisor and, subsequently, in a timely fashion to the departmental assistant chair.  It is your responsibility to assure that your research advisor is informed asap and can take appropriate measures to prevent additional or future exposure to hazardous conditions. This also implies that you should not start a cleanup of the area before being authorized to do so.

If your research supervisor is out of reach, also immediately contact EH&S for advice.

Within 12 h of the accident, you will have to provide a written statement describing the circumstances, the protocol you followed, etc. The incident also needs to be reported to the Workman's Compensation Office.  Lack of prompt reporting might cause personal financial liability for any medical treatments. For a brief overview of reporting responsibilities, click here. Also, have a look at Frequently Asked Questions and the Notice to Employees. Update: As of January 1, 2012, University of Pittsburgh employees who believe they are injured as a result of performing their work duties must call 1-800-633-1197 to report the injury.

Any visitors to our labs need to be authorized; for detailed University policies, click here. Please stop all unaccompanied visitors before they enter our labs and direct them to our office staff (our designated Lab Manager or Lab Supervisor) or the 2nd floor office personnel in Chevron for clarification of their status.

Important general chemical safety rules include: Clothing appropriate for the work being done shall be worn at all times. Loose sleeves, tails, ties, lapels, cuffs, or other loose clothing shall not be worn. You are required to wear work-appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment (safety glasses, labcoat, protective gloves when handling chemicals) in all lab areas. Do not keep any volatile solvents, in particular ether and pentane, in plastic squirt bottles. The only organic solvent that can be kept in a squirt bottle for convenience should be acetone, and that should be kept in a corner of the hood. Keep all solvents in closed containers, ideally glass bottles, and don’t store them in the hood to avoid clutter and feedstock for fires. Keep a clean and uncluttered hood and bench, and keep solvent waste in a capped plastic bottle inside a secondary container inside your hood (in a corner). If you have any waste containers outside the hood, they need to be in a vented (snorkel) area so that you and others don’t enhale the fumes.


Chemistry Department EMERGENCY PROTOCOL


University Safety Manual

University Chemical Hygiene Plan

Lab Safety Manual for Students (pdf)

Hazardous Chemicals Handbook (pdf)

Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards

Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (pdf)

Chemical Resistance of Nitrile and Alternative Gloves; General Chemical Guide for Glove Selection

NMR Safety Guide (pdf)

Purification and Disposal of Chemicals


Summary of Chemical Hazards - for an Overview of Fundamentals of Hazard Assessment, click here

Standard Operating Procedures

Chemical Incompatibilities

Wipf Group Spill Kit

Wipf Group Waste Collection Setup

List of Common Peroxide-Forming Chemicals - Peroxide teststrips are available from DC or PW; for a review of peroxides and peroxide-forming compounds, click here.

Solvent Drum Dispensing Guidelines

Empty Container Disposal Guidelines

Techniques for Handling Air-Sensitive Compounds

Segregation of Chemicals in the Wipf Group


University of Pittsburgh Environmental Health & Safety Homepage

University of Pittsburgh Radiation Safety Office Homepage

Pitt Training Programs


Online Training for Chemical Hygiene - Required Course for All Wipf Group Members!

Safety Check List - Check the boxes if you are familiar with the items and procedures!

Further Reading of Laboratory Accidents - Lessons Learnd & Case Studies that test your own judgement!


NOTE: These guidelines are for the benefit of the Wipf Research Group, and not intended for use by unauthorized or untrained personnel.

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