Lab Safety

Emergency Phone Numbers

Penn Public Safety
511 from a campus phone | 215-573-3333 from a non-campus phone

Philadelphia Emergency Dispatch

Penn Environmental Health & Radiation Safety

LRSM building administrator, Tim Litty

Lab Safety

EMERGENCIES: Call Penn Public Safety. Penn Public Safety is much more aware of the location on campus than Philadelphia Emergency Dispatch and can expedite assistance.

Call EHRS in the event of any chemical emergency or spill.

Call the LRSM building administrator or call 215-898-7208 (after hours) for facility emergencies (water leaks, power outage, abnormal lab temperature, etc.).

Notify the lab manager as soon as possible after any incident (in person or call mobile phone number posted on office, 7A, door).

CELL PHONES: Add Penn Public Safety (215-573-3333) to your contact list. Mobile phone service in the LRSM basement is weak. Use campus phones when possible for emergencies.

FIRE: In case of fire, notify everyone to clear the area immediately and sound the building alarm, then call Penn Public Safety. There is a fire extinguisher in every lab, however it is crucial that the operator be familiar with the proper operation and contents of the extinguisher before attempting to combat an early stage fire. Do not attempt to fight a fire alone or use a portable fire extinguisher on a well-established fire.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: Know the location of the nearest exit, eyewash (at the sinks in rooms 7B and 11), safety shower (outside rooms 11 and 4), and campus phone (rooms 7B and 9A).

DO NOT WORK ALONE: Make sure there is someone in the vicinity when:

  • Working after 5pm and on weekends.

  • Working with voltages greater than 30V.

  • Working with power tools.

  • Working with chemicals.

  • Working with temperatures greater than 100°C.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED. A graduate student or post-doc with expertise in subject matter may supervise the students; however, the supervisory relationship must be designated and clearly communicated. Low-risk activities like running non-hazardous samples on analytical equipment do not require active supervision, but all experiments must be reviewed by a supervisor in advance to ensure the students are aware of proper protocols and to determine when active supervision is necessary.

LAB ATTIRE: Closed toed shoes and long pants must be worn at all times in the lab.  Remove any dangling wardrobe accessories (necklaces, bracelets, scarfs, etc.) and tie back long hair.  Do not apply cosmetics, lip balm, or handle contact lenses while in the lab.


  • Safety glasses must be worn at all times in the lab. 

  • Disposable nitrile gloves and lab coats must be worn when handling chemicals.

  • Additional PPE may be required for specific tasks. This includes, but is not limited to: chemical gloves, aprons, goggles, face shields, heat-resistant gloves, and cryogenic gloves. PPE should only be used for the purpose for which it is intended, e.g., cryogenic gloves should not be used to handle hot objects. Know how and when to use specialized PPE.


  • Work neatly, taking care to avoid chemical spills or the spread of chemicals outside designated areas.

  • Remove used gloves before touching personal items or common surfaces, especially computer keyboards and mice, equipment buttons and handles, sink faucets, drawers, and storage boxes.

  • Even if you have not worked with chemicals in the lab, wash your hands before touching your face, handling personal items, or leaving the lab.

NO FOOD or BEVERAGES: Eating, drinking, and chewing gum in the lab are prohibited, even if you are not working with chemicals. Room 7 is an exception.


  • All users must complete the full EHRS Introduction to Physical Science Lab Safety program before working independently in the MSE laboratory.

  • Know the potential hazards of the chemicals or equipment with which you are working BEFORE you start a procedure.  Read and follow task and equipment-specific protocols carefully.  Ask questions if you are unsure.

  • Assess the risks of unexpected but possible outcomes before performing a task and take measures to minimize risk.