The availability and use of a number of types of safety equipment is essential to the practice of safe science. Safety equipment should be present in well-marked, highly visible, and easily accessible locations in or near all laboratories and shops that use hazardous chemicals. For more information regarding safety equipment or specific regulatory requirements, please contact EHS.
Emergency showers generally serve as a form of first aid and are required at locations where the eyes or body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. University of Houston laboratories and certain other facilities with hazardous chemicals are equipped with emergency showers within the work area for emergency use to promote personnel safety.
- All laboratory or shop personnel who could be exposed to chemical splash must receive training on the use of safety showers.
- Ensure that the shower area is readily accessible, clear of obstructions, clearly labeled and well lit. Contact Facilities Services for malfunctioning showers.
- In the event of chemical splash to an individual’s body, immediately flush the body for 15 minutes under the shower, remove all clothing, and seek immediate medical attention.
- Post signs indicating the location of the nearest safety shower.
- Never use safety equipment for cleaning laboratory or shop equipment, personal objects, or for other non-emergency purposes
Safety showers are inspected annually by EHS to ensure they meet performance requirements. Contact EHS for annual safety shower inspections and following repairs by Facility Services.
Eyewash Stations and Drench Hoses
An eye wash station is used to flush both the face and the eyes in the event of a hazardous chemical splash. Some laboratories and shop areas are equipped with drench hoses - a supplemental device with flexible hose connected to a flushing fluid used to irrigate and flush the eyes, face, and body areas.
Emergency eyewash stations and drench hoses generally serve as a form of first aid and are required at locations where the eyes or body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. University of Houston laboratories and shops with hazardous chemicals are equipped with emergency eye wash stations within the work area for emergency use to promote personnel safety. Eye washes can be found as standalone units, in combination with plumbed safety showers and sometimes faucet mounted.
- All laboratory and shop personnel who could be exposed to chemical splash must receive training on the use of eye wash stations.
- Ensure that the eye wash area, including path of travel is readily accessible, clear of obstructions, clearly labeled and well lit. Contact Facilities Services for malfunctioning eye wash stations.
- In the event of chemical splash to an individual’s body, immediately flush the eyes for 15 minutes under the eye wash, remove all facial coverings, and seek immediate medical attention.
- Post signs indicating the location of the nearest eye wash station. Contact EHS for any questions.
- Eye wash stations with drains, including faucet mounted and drench hoses must be flushed weekly by laboratory or shop personnel and documented on the log.
- Never use safety equipment for cleaning lab or shop equipment, personal objects, or for other non-emergency purposes
All eye wash stations are inspected annually by EHS to ensure they meet performance requirements. Contact EHS for annual eye was station inspections and after repairs by Facility Services.
Fire is a common hazard that is present in science and engineering laboratories, especially those working with hazardous chemicals. Hot work (i.e. work that involves burning, welding, etc.) poses the risk of fire and explosions, especially around hazardous materials. Flammable and combustible liquid use in laboratories and shops are sources of ignition which can lead to unplanned fires. Laboratories and shops are equipped with fire extinguishers to supplement fire protective systems and help protect laboratory and shop personnel by putting out small fires. The UH Fire Marshal recommends that employees and students become familiar with the buildings in which they work, including the location of exits, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers in case of emergencies.
For more information about fire extinguishers, annual inspection request or to request training in the use of fire extinguishers, Contact UH Fire & Life Safety at 713-743-5858.
General information on safety and compliance with EHS policies on fire extinguishers can be found on the Safety Equipment: Fire Extinguishers page.
Fire Blankets are made of treated wool or of inherently non-flammable materials used for smothering fires. Fire blankets have several uses in the laboratories and shops.
- If a person’s body or clothing catches fire, the person should immediately drop to the floor and roll to help extinguish the fire. A fire blanket may be used as the last resort if it is the closet item at hand.
- If a blanket is used to smother flaming clothing, quickly remove the blanket once the flames are extinguished because the blanket will retain the heat and cause more severe burns.
- Notify UHPD of the emergency immediately at 713-743-3333 or 911.
- Fire blankets can also be used to keep shock victims warm.
- If available at your laboratory or shop, personnel must be trained on the proper use of Fire Blankets.
- Fire blankets should be easily accessible and unobstructed,
- The location of a fire blanket must be posted.
For more information about fire extinguishers, integrity verification or to request training in the use of fire extinguishers Contact UH Fire & Life Safety at 713-743-5858.
Laboratories that utilize hazardous chemicals must have access to a spill control kit, strategically located, accessible and well stocked. In general, a spill kit should contain some absorbent material, appropriate personal protective equipment, a container for spill residue, and a plastic dustpan and scoop. Laboratories that use mercury or mercury-filled thermometers and manometers should also have a mercury spill kit available. Once a spill kit has been used, the contents should be restocked immediately to ensure availability when the next spill occurs.
General Spill Kit – typically includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), absorbent materials (Vermiculite or Litter box filler), neutralizing agents for acids and caustics, clean-up materials (i.e. tongs, plastic scoop,plastic trash bags, a backet, etc.) and waste label, as specified in Chemical Spill Procedures in Appendix A of the General Laboratory Safety Manual.
Certain substances that require additional spill kit supplies outside of the requirements of a general spill kit (e.g. mercury, hydrofluoric acid, cytotoxic drugs, and radioactive materials). For more information see Chemical Spill Procedures in Appendix A of the General Laboratory Safety Manual.
For more information, see the Spill Kits page.
First Aid Kits
University offices, laboratories and shops must provide first aid kits suitable for the occupational workplace and response time of emergency medical services. Laboratories with hazardous chemicals are required to have a first aid kit, with its location known to all personnel.
- First aid kits must be easily accessible to everyone and not in locked cabinets and their location must be clearly marked.
- Post a sign indicating the location of First Aid Kit.
- Contents must be stored in containers that protect kit items from damage, deterioration, or contamination
- First aid kits are to be easily moved to the location of an injured or acutely ill person,
- First aid can be placed on vehicles in the absence of readily accessible first aid kits in a fixed location
- first aid kits must be restocked as necessary and regularly inspected.
- First aid kits can be purchased through any laboratory safety supply vendor or assembled to fit unique needs of the laboratory.
EHS will inspect first aid kits during annual inspections to ensure the supplies are adequate and not expired. See the Spill and First Aid kit page for suggested contents.