Chemicals are located throughout the University, and many of them are stronger and have greater hazards than those you use to clean your house. You have a right to know about the chemicals in your workplace, the hazards they present, how to protect yourself from these hazards, how to work safely with them, and a place to go for questions. This page is intended for Faculty/Staff that do not work with chemicals (cleaning, lab use, machinery, etc.) as a part of their daily job, but rather may be exposed to chemicals or need to clean a workplace from time to time. Faculty/Staff that work with chemicals as a part of their job, please take a hazard communication course to fulfill requirements.

Know Your Chemicals

The label is the best way to identify and understand hazardous chemicals. The labels will indicate what it is, how it could potentially harm you, and ho you protect yourself. The label will also provide information on routes of entry (how the substance can enter your body). The primary ways that chemicals can enter your body are through your skin, by inhaling fumes/vapors, or by ingesting them.

If you encounter chemicals without labels, do not use them, and contact your supervisor or SRM. Labels should include the following information:

Know the Hazards

While the label has significant amounts of important information for pre-use, use and what to do in case of emergencies, you should also be able to identify what the hazard symbols mean. Here is a quick overview:

Hazardous to your Core Health
  • Carcinogen
  • Mutagenicity
  • Reproductive Toxicity
  • Respiratory Sensitizer
  • Target Organ Toxicity
  • Aspiration Toxicity
Flammable
  • Flammables
  • Pyrophorics
  • Self-Heating
  • Emits Flammable Gas
  • Self-Reactives
  • Organic Peroxides
Irritant
  • Skin and Eye Irritant
  • Skin Sensitizer
  • Acute Toxicity - Harmful
  • Narcotic Effects
  • Respiratory Tract Irritant
Compressed Gases
  • Gases are Under Pressure



Corrosive
  • Corrode Your Skin
  • Skin Burns
  • Eye Damage
  • Corrosive to Metals
Explosives
  • Explosive
  • Self-Reacting
  • Organic Peroxides
Oxidizer
  • Oxidizer
Environmental
  • Aquatic Toxicity
Toxic
  • Fatal Toxicity
  • Acute Toxicity

Protection

Under the Precautionary Statements in the labels, or designated by an image, you may need to wear personal protective equipment to reduce the likelihood of an exposure. These statements are not to be taken lightly, and proper precautions shall be followed. This might mean:

  • Gloves - Type is designated by the type of chemical, not all gloves are the same. See the Glove Selection page for more information.
  • Eye Protection - There are numerous types of eye protection, most common are safety glasses.
  • Protective Clothing - There are numerous types, most common is a lab coat.
  • Respiratory Protection - There are numerous types, most common are surgical masks and respirators.

Work Safely

The best thing you can do besides be knowledgeable is to be aware of your surroundings and focus on the task at hand. Go slow, move with purpose, and be aware of what is going on around you.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor, or Safety and Risk Management at 994-2711.
All emergency situations, call the police - 911 or 994-2121 on campus.