Laboratory safety encompasses many facets, including chemical safety, biological safety, safety involving radioactive materials, and the safe use of equipment and machinery. Because laboratories vary markedly in the kinds of hazards present, laboratory safety must be tailored to the nature of research or teaching activities.
Chemical safety is regulated by the Department of Labor and Industries as part of the Standard on Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories (Washington Administrative Code 296-828). Biological Safety follows guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control published in the text, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. Radiation Safety information may be found by contacting Sue Sullivan as described under the Radiation Safety section of this webpage.

An excellent overview of laboratory safety may be found in the text, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory by the National Research Council The Environmental Health and Safety office supports laboratory safety in academic departments by providing chemical waste disposal, assisting with chemical inventories, providing material safety data sheets, answering questions, and providing information.

At Western, information about laboratory safety is found in the WWU Safety Information Book. This document is to be in each department and/or laboratory and is the basic method for documenting safety and health compliance.

For laboratory safety, complete or update:

  • Section 5 - hazard assessment certification for personal protective equipment

  • Section 6 - University Hazard Communication program

  • Section 7 - Department Chemical Hygiene Plan

  • Section 8 - Chemical Fume Hood

  • Section 9 - Chemical Inventory and Material Safety Data Sheets

  • Section 10 - Hazardous Waste

Other sections may apply, such tool safety or respiratory protection.

Page Updated 11.22.2017