Prudent Practices

The following are some useful guidelines that applicable no matter what kind of project you are engaged in.

  • Never engage in horseplay or rough housing in the laboratory.
  • Do not bring any food or drink into the laboratory and do not eat, drink, or smoke there.
  • Do not smell or taste any chemicals or other lab samples for any reason.
  • Never work alone or unsupervised.
  • Do not work when you are exhausted or emotionally upset.
  • Don’t perform any experiments that you haven’t discussed in advance with your research advisor.
  • Never leave experiments running unattended in the laboratory.
  • Dress appropriately. This means your torso and arms should be well covered. Do not wear loose or sloppy clothing that could get caught in any equipment or come in contact with any chemicals. Long hair should be pulled back out of the way of any reagents or machinery.
  • Wear the appropriate gloves, safety glasses or goggles, and a clean lab coat when handling chemical and/or biohazardous materials.
  • Remove your gloves and wash your hands before using the keyboard associated with any instrumentation in the laboratory.
  • Never pipette by mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect all glassware, instrumentation, and lab surfaces after each experiment. Don’t let sinks become filled with dirty glassware.
  • Transport solvents and other reagents in secondary containers.
  • If an accident or spill happens, be sure to notify your supervisor so that the appropriate protocols can be observed.
  • Wash your hands before you exit the laboratory and especially after handling biohazards or chemical reagents.