As the instructor present in the laboratory, it is your responsibility to be aware of all safety rules and regulations. This is true even if you are a TA and not the formal authority (i.e. instructor or professor) normally present. The most effective way of ensuring you can handle a potential emergency satisfactorily is to be prepared.
The following tips will help you ensure laboratory safety:
- Know where the nearest telephone is and, in an emergency, whom to contact.
- Know the locations of fire/emergency exits, fire alarms, and the best evacuation routes.
- Know the location of the first-aid box and be prepared with simple first-aid procedures.
- Know the location of fire extinguishers (CO2 and H2O), chemical spill kits, eye-washers, and emergency showers; also, know how to use these things.
In the event of fire:
Your first responsibility is to ensure the safety of students and other occupants of the building: pull the fire alarm. Then call 9-911 and Security Services at 966-5555 to report the details. If the fire is small, fight it with the appropriate fire extinguisher. Leave the area if you cannot control the fire with one fire extinguisher.
In the event of a fire alarm:
Direct your students to evacuate the building by the fire exit or shortest safe route. Do not use elevators. Give assistance to handicapped persons and close the door after everyone has left but do not lock it. Do not return to the building until authorized.
In the event of serious injury or illness:
Move the injured or ill person out of the lab only if it will not harm him/her further. If possible, do not leave an injured person unattended. Call 9-911.
In the event of a hazardous chemical spill or hazardous gas leak:
If you can safely do so, try to confine the leak or spill by shutting off the source of gas, and/or closing the door, etc. If serious, pull the fire alarm so that evacuation of the building can begin. Call the Department of Health, Safety, and Environment’s Emergency Spills unit at 966-8497 (or Security Services at 966-5555 before 8:30 am and after 4:30 p.m.) and give as much information as you can. Contain and neutralize chemical spills with the chemical spill kit, and report gas leaks or suspicious odours to Security Services.