Lab Hazard Assessments

Every year, University Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), accompanied by the college’s Facility and Laboratory Safety Engineer, conduct laboratory hazard assessments of all labs and workshops throughout the college. The purpose of these assessments are:

  1. Confirm occupant information
  2. Minimize risk of injury or illness to laboratory personnel
  3. Assess hazards that may be associated with lab activity
  4. Ensure lab personnel are trained and equipped with information and equipment to work safely in their laboratory environment.
  5. Assist labs with following local and federal regulations.

Below is a guide for all hazard pictograms that may be shown on a lab hazard sign.

Non-Hazardous Area: This icon indicates that during the hazard assessment no hazardous activities or materials were noted. This sign should not be interpreted to mean that it is impossible to be injured in a space. NO SPACE IS PERFECTLY SAFE.

Biohazard: Any space handling biologic material that is subject to the University biosafety program (University policy 714). A BSL lab sign, provided by the University’s biosafety office, must accompany the COE’s lab door sign.

Compressed Inert Gas: Wherever compressed, bottled air, nitrogen, argon, or other intert gas is present. Refer to the University’s Compressed Gas fact sheet.

Corrosives: Any space where strong acids or bases are used or stored. Must be enrolled in University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Cryogenics: Cryogenic liquids (liquid Nitrogen, etc), or cryogenic freezers in use. Refer to the University’s Cryogenic Material program.

Electricity:  Manipulation of live electrical circuits may be occurring.

Flammable Gas:  Compressed, flammable gasses are present. Refer to the University’s Compressed Gas fact sheet.

Flammable Liquids:  Flammable liquids, or solvents are stored or used.

Health Hazard:  A material, not otherwise listed, is present that is a health hazard.

High Noise:  Any space where the noise level may exceed safe limits as defined by OSHA 1910.95.

Hot Surfaces:  Persons may be exposed to devices or materials that may have a surface temperature of 140°F (60°C) or greater.

Hot Work Area:  Metal welding, cutting, brazing, grinding, or any other activity that may create flying sparks. Or any academic or research work on any material that could result in fire of any magnitude. Subject to the University’s Hot Work Program.

Laser:  Class 3b or 4 laser may be in use. Subject to the University’s Laser Safety Program. A laser safety sign, provided by the University Laser Safety Officer, must accompany the Lab Hazard Assessment door sign.

Lithium-Ion Batteries:  250 Ah, or greater, worth of lithium-ion batteries are in use or being stored.

Non-Ionizing Radiation:  Strong electromagnetic fields (EMF) may be present.

Overhead Hazards:  Cranes or hoists may be in use that can lift or suspend materials overhead.

Oxidizer:  Any chemical, other than pure oxygen, that is classified as an oxidizer.

Oxygen:  Pure oxygen is in-use or being stored. Refer to the University’s Compressed Gas fact sheet.

Powered Industrial Trucks:  Any space where powered industrial truck (forklift) traffic can be expected.

Projectile Risk:  Tools are in use that may create flying particles, chips, or other debris.

Radiation Production:  Any space where ionizing radiation is produced, or radioactive materials are handled or stored. A radiation safety sign, provided by the University’s Radiation Safety Officer, must accompany the Lab Hazard Assessment door sign. Refer to the University’s Handbook for Radiation Safety.

Rotating Equipment:  Persons may be exposed to unguarded rotating machinery.

Trip Hazard:  Any space where the floor may be uneven in places, or other ground-level obstacles are present.