General rules for handling chemicals

The following rules and documents provide essential safety guidelines all laboratory staff should be familiar with and follow when handling chemicals.

All laboratory personnel should be familiar with the Code of Practice for CRI and University Exempt Laboratories.

You should also follow a few essential rules whenever handling chemicals, these include:

  • personal protective equipment must be worn when handling chemicals - gloves, safety glasses and lab coats are a minimum requirement
  • all laboratory personnel must consult Safety Data Sheets (SDS or MSDS) when using a chemical for the first time or when they are unfamiliar with its hazardous properties
  • all laboratory personnel must follow the requirements of the University’s General Safe Methods of Use
  • all laboratory personnel must undergo some formal induction programme in chemical safety before working in the laboratory.

Laboratory Chemical Accidents - Video "Experimenting with Danger"

The US Chemical Safety Board has produced a excellent video resource of three major investigations undertaken in fatal laboratory accidents. Take a moment to watch it, it might save your life.

Experimenting with Danger ///


Hydrofluoric Acid Fatality


Important reference documents


For further information about what equipment must be worn when handling chemicals, please refer to the Personal Protective Equipment Safe Methods of Use.

For further information about glove compatibility, please refer to the following documents: