Lab Safety
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Lab Safety

Sep 13, 2023

Laboratory safety is a major concern to everyone in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department and especially to the Pavement Engineering and Science (PES) personnel working in the Western Regional Superpave Center (WRSC) laboratories. The WRSC laboratory comprises of rooms in two building at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR): Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory (HREL) (Building Code: 065) and Scrugham Engineering and Mines (SEM) (Building Code: 056).

Floor plans of the two buildings are included at the end of this manual showing the various rooms that are part of the PES program.

The Principal Investigators (PI) have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their laboratories are safe. They must adhere to all guidelines and regulations. They are responsible for the safe use of biological (if applicable), chemical and radioactive (if applicable) substances in their laboratory.

In addition, the PI must:

If there is an emergency, call (775) 334-COPS (2677) for the University Police or call 911.

For non-emergency items call the following:

If there is a fire or explosion that you cannot control, evacuate the area immediately. Pull the fire alarm and then call 911 from a safe location. For other emergencies, dial 911.

For non-life threatening emergencies or spills/exposures in the laboratory, immediately notify EHS and your lab supervisor/PI. Emergency contact information os also posted next to laboratory room doors for convenience.

If a reportable incident or hazardous waste spill occurs:

BSO: Ben Owens 775-327-5196HWM: Woody Wright 775-784-1987PI emergency numbers: 775-784-1180

Locations of fire pull station alarms and fire extinguishers: Refer to egress maps located on the walls in various locations throughout HREL and SEM. Egress maps for SEM are located by the doors of SEM rooms 116 and 112. Egress maps for HREL are by all stairways and entrances. Egress maps have also been included at the end of this safety lab manual for HREL 1st and 2nd floors and SEM 1st floor.

Know the location of each of these, and identify the location of the extinguisher closest to your lab bench. If the fire alarm sounds, leave the building immediately and move away to a safe distance. Take note of assembly areas on the egress maps.

All laboratories and chemical storage areas must have ready access to an operating eyewash, with a safety shower generally required as well. Recommended maximum travel time for an affected individual (assume eyes have been splashed with chemical) is 10 seconds, with a maximum travel distance of 100 feet.

In the event of a personal contamination, prompt flushing of the affected area is necessary to minimize harm to the affected person. Keep the eyewash/safety shower area free of obstructions, and easily accessible.

In case of exposure, proceed to nearest eyewash station. Hold eyelids open with thumb and forefinger and rinse for at least 15 minutes. Wash from the outside edges towards the inside to prevent washing hazardous materials back into the eye.

Rinse should be aimed at the inner corner of the eye (near the nose) not directly at the eyeball. "Roll" eyes around and up and down to ensure full rinsing.

Contact lenses (if worn) should be removed as soon as possible. Have another member of the lab call for emergency response immediately. The area around the eye wash station must remain clear at all times.

All personnel must be aware of the locations of the first aid kits in all WRSC laboratories. The signs are displayed in the laboratories to show the locations.

All exposures must be reported to the PI and to EH&S.

For most chemical exposures to the skin, wash the chemical off with water for at least 15 minutes and remove any contaminated clothing. Use the sink for small exposures; for large exposures use the safety shower.

First aid procedures in case of asphalt cement burns are posted in the doors of both the binder lab (HREL 200) and mixing lab (HREL 201). Procedure is also given below:

In the event of a molten asphalt cement burn, cool the asphalt cement and affected parts of the body immediately.

Methods of cooling (in order of preference)

Do not delay!

Use any available water, cooler than body temperature, while arranging for better cooling.

CAUTION: DO NOT apply ice directly to affected area as it may cause cold burns.

Proceed with the following:

At first opportunity get victim to physician. Includes:

As soon as possible get the victim to the hospital. Includes:

A list of urgent care clinics is posted on the doors of HREL 201 and provided below:

Specialty Health Clinic 330 East Liberty Street Suite 100 Reno, NV 89501 (775) 398-3630 Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM

ARC Health and Wellness Center/ Sparks 2205 Glendale Sparks, NV 89431 (775) 331-3361 Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 6:00 PM

After hours or weekends

St. Mary's Urgent Care 1595 Robb Drive, Suite #2 Reno, NV 89523 (775) 284-5556 Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30AM to 6:00PM Saturday & Sunday: 9:00AM to 5:00PM

St. Mary's Hospital 235 W. Sixth Street Reno, NV 89503 (775) 770-3800 Northern Nevada Medical Center 2375 E. Prater Way Sparks, NV 89434 (775) 331-7000

In the event shock occurs, do the following:

DON’T ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE ASPHALT CEMENT with products containing solvents or ammonia!

Location of this lab manual: Lab Manager's office (HREL 200A), Mixing Lab in HREL 201, HREL 113, and SEM 116/SEM 112

Laboratory personnel should be aware of the potential hazards associated with the work and be proficient in the specified practices and procedures.

Know the chemicals you are working with. Look up the material safety data sheet (MSDS). Before using a new chemical, laboratory workers should review the MSDS. Consequently, all laboratory workers must know the location for the MSDSs that are maintained by the laboratory, and how to obtain MSDSs covering additional chemicals used in the laboratory. An MSDS folder showing the most common chemicals that this lab works with are located in HREL 200A. Please consult the PI if you want to gain access to this folder.

EHS subscribes to an electronic database that includes MSDSs and other sources of chemical hazard information. The database is available to the campus community (via campus computers only) through the EH&S website.

Hardcopies of many MSDSs are forwarded to EHS by chemical vendors. These MSDSs are maintained in the EHS office (ARF Room 220). Contact EHS at 775-327-5041 to request copies of MSDSs maintained by EHS.

If you are using a piece of equipment for the first time, be sure to ask for instructions.

All laboratory research personnel must take online and in-class laboratory safety training classes offered by the EH&S. Training must be documented (electronic or paper). In addition, the personnel need to attend the laboratory specific and/or test specific training before start working in the lab. Personnel shall not initiate research until training is completed.

A list of the training courses provided by EH&S can be found on their website.

All personnel are required to wear PPE whenever they are working in the lab. The following list is a minimum for general work:


Lab coat must be worn at all times. When new to the lab, the lab supervisor will provide a new lab coat for you.

Safety glasses are located in HREL 201 in the middle table in a drawer that is appropriately labeled

For specific tasks, additional (in addition to general PPE) PPE must be worn at all times:

When mixing and compacting:

When extracting and recovering binder:

Locations of fire pull station alarms and fire extinguishers Do not delay!