Lab Safety FAQs

Question 1: How do I surplus pure chemicals my lab no longer needs?

Question 2: What do I do with empty bottles that contain vacuum pump oil?

Question 3: What do I do with empty containers that contained chemicals?

Question 4: How do I prepare biohazard waste for autoclaving?

Question 5: How do I dispose of plastic pipettes contaminated with biohazard waste?

Question 6: How do I dispose of Pasteur (glass) pipettes contaminated with biohazard waste?

Question: 7: How do I dispose of sharps waste?

Question 8:  How do I determine which EH&S trainings I need to take?

Question 9:  How do I document that lab members have received the appropriate safety training?

Question 10:  How can I prepare for EH&S Lab safety surveys?

Question 11:  How do I determine which Personal Protective Equipment I need to use?

Question 12: What do I do if my -80 freezer fails and I need to find space for the freezer’s contents?

Question 1: How do I surplus pure chemicals my lab no longer needs?

Contact Environmental Health and Safety for chemical pick up.
http://www.ehs.washington.edu/epowaste/chemwaste.shtm
Once your request has been submitted to EH&S, you can expect a pick up in two to six weeks. Please note that pure chemicals are required to be in their original containers. Chemical waste can be stored in a reused container that is relabeled with a hazardous waste label (see FAQ 3).

Question 2: What do I do with empty bottles that contain vacuum pump oil?
Environmental Health & Safety collects used, clean empty metal and plastic drums from campus departments that receive bulk chemicals. The drums are reused to store and transport hazardous waste. This program saves the UW thousands of dollars a year. Email chmwaste [ a t ] u.washington.edu for more information. Do not leave drums on the loading dock without first contacting EH&S. They pick up drums only upon request.

Smaller plastic drums should be rinsed, dried, and placed in the trash or preferably recycled. If they previously contained chemicals, deface their labels, bag them, and label them "non-hazardous" so that custodial staff know they are safe to handle.

Question 3: What do I do with empty containers that contained chemicals?

Whether recycling or disposing in the trash, plastic, metal, or glass containers must ALWAYS have their label defaced.

I. RECYCLE
Determine whether the container can be recycled or if it must be disposed of in the trash. Before recycling, make sure the container is empty and clean.  A partial list of chemicals sold in recyclable plastic, metal, or glass containers is:

II. DISPOSAL IN THE TRASH
If the chemical in the container was extremely hazardous, then the container must be put in the trash.

First follow EH&S regulations for hazardous chemicals.
http://www.ehs.washington.edu/epowaste/ehw.shtm

If the bottle contained extremely hazardous chemicals, it can either be used as the collection bottle for similar hazardous waste, and eventually sent to EH&S or it can be trashed.  

If it will be used for waste, deface its label(s) and affix a filled-out hazardous waste label to it: hazardous waste label.

If it will be thrown away, rinse the container three times, collecting the rinse water in a labeled hazardous waste container.  (See Lab Safety FAQ 1.)  
 
Double bag the empty, defaced, rinsed container and put it in the trash receptacle. DO NOT recycle it. If a glass bottle is broken, treat it as any other laboratory sharp by putting it in a lidded plastic tub for disposal.

Double bagged laboratory glass and plastic ware not contaminated with biohazardous material, chemicals, or radioactive materials may be placed in sturdy cardboard boxes. When full, the box cannot weigh more than 40 pounds. Boxes must be labeled with the lab’s room number and PI's name. Seal the box with special “laboratory glass” tape. Place the box next to your regular waste container for collection. Note: This is NOT recycling, which you should try to do whenever possible.

Never use boxes for the disposal of:

  1. Sharps (for example, Pasteur pipettes, razor blades, needles)

  2. Liquid wastes

  3. Chemically contaminated laboratory glassware or plastic ware

  4. Chemical containers that cannot be disposed of as regular solid waste.

 

Question 4: How do I prepare biohazard waste for autoclaving?

I. Biohazard waste must be double-bagged with sturdy bags. The inner bag needs to be at least as thick as the outer bag but only the outer bag is required to have a biohazard symbol on it.

II. Close bags LOOSELY with AUTOCLAVE TAPE . The opening should be at least 1-1.5” in diameter so steam can penetrate to sterilize the waste. Do not tie the bag, do not use twist ties, and do not use any type of tape except AUTOCLAVE TAPE.

III. Bags must be labeled with the PI’s name and lab room number.

IV. Leave biohazard waste bags in the green bin located next to the large autoclave in S030 for decontamination prior to disposal. If the can is full, set the bag in an autoclave tray on the floor. Autoclave trays are the heavily stained trays under the autoclave sign-up book. Additional trays are located next to the sink.

V. Do not put more than 25 pounds of material in each bag. The bags absorb water in the autoclave and can become heavy.

VI. When using both a bag and a box for biohazard waste, check the measurements of the box to be certain they don’t exceed 14”X16”X18”. Boxes larger than this will not fit in the autoclave and will be returned to your lab for repackaging.

Question 5: How do I dispose of plastic pipettes contaminated with biohazard waste?

Regular plastic serological pipettes are not considered sharps and are processed in one of two ways, depending on their waste status. If they are contaminated with biohazard material, they must be collected into a puncture-resistant box and processed as standard biohazard waste. If they are not contaminated with biohazard material, they must be packaged in a cardboard box that is sealed with “laboratory glass” tape. For pictures, please see http://www.ehs.washington.edu/rbsresplan/sharp.shtm.

Question 6: How do I dispose of Pasteur (glass) pipettes contaminated with biohazard waste?

Pasteur pipettes must be collected as sharps. Use a red medical waste container (the kind used for collecting syringes, needles, etc.).

Question: 7: How do I dispose of sharps waste?

Package your waste according to the instructions from EH&S: http://www.ehs.washington.edu/rbsresplan/sharp.shtm

Write your lab name and room number on the outside of each sharps container. Leave labeled containers beside the green bin in S030, next to the large autoclave. GS Facilities staff will autoclave it, and see that it is properly disposed of.

Question 8:  How do I determine which EH&S trainings I need to take?

http://www.ehs.washington.edu/forms/pso/ehslabsafetytrainmatrix.pdf

Question 9:  How do I document that lab members have received the appropriate safety training?

http://www.ehs.washington.edu/forms/pso/labemployeesafetytrain.pdf
http://www.ehs.washington.edu/manuals/lsm/lsmc.pdf
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/fsosurveys/ppetool.docx

Question 10:  How can I prepare for EH&S Lab safety surveys?

http://www.ehs.washington.edu/fsosurveys/prvaslbchklst.pdf
http://www.ehs.washington.edu/fsosurveys/checklistexpl.shtm

Question 11:  How do I determine which Personal Protective Equipment I need to use?

https://www.ehs.washington.edu/rbsresplan/ppe.shtm

Question 12: What do I do if my -80 freezer fails and I need to find space for the freezer’s contents?

Option A. Genome Sciences has two back up -80 freezers. They are located in S333 and S303. Use the sign-up sheet on the front of the freezer. Date and label your items.

Option B. Facilities Services has -80 freezers for labs to use during emergencies. To set up a loaner during business hours, contact the HSB zone office at 206-543-3010. After hours, call 685-UWPD and ask that FOMS (Facilities Operations Maintenance Specialists) contact the on-call technician to assign a loaner freezer.