Chemical Safety

Ensuring the safe and compliant use of chemicals on campus.

Campus Laboratory Safety Policies

The University of California, Berkeley is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for the campus community. Faculty, students, and other personnel in laboratories and other academic settings may work with hazardous materials, equipment, and processes. With regard to safety and environmental protection, this teaching, and research work is governed by state and federal regulations and University policies.

New UC Systemwide Laboratory Safety Policies...

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheets

EH&S Fact Sheets serve as campus-wide Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Labs

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of instructions for performing experiments or processes that involve hazards (chemical, physical, biological, radiation). SOPs are lab-specific and include documentation of the people who have received training for that procedure.

New students and employees working in your lab should be provided with hands-on training for hazardous materials and operations that are covered by the SOPs for your lab.

SOPs by Hazard Type General Lab Safety

A library of SOP templates for common hazardous chemicals and operations is available in the...

Safety Data Sheets

Safety data sheets (formerly MSDS) are the best source of information regarding the hazards, emergency response, and protective measures for any hazardous material.

Manufacturers are always the most reliable sources for SDSs, and the UC system has provided its researchers with UC SDS Resources, a systemwide website created to help locate SDSs and other chemical safety information. In addition,...

Chemical Explosion Causes Eye Injury

May 31, 2015

ANSI-approved safety glasses—and other personal protective equipment specified in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)—are essential whenever working with hazardous materials. SOPs also indicate other precautions that must be followed to ensure safety, such as performing work with energetic or explosive materials behind a fume hood sash or blast shield.

What happened?

A graduate student researcher was working at a laboratory bench synthesizing approximately one gram of diazonium perchlorate crystals. The student was transferring synthesized perchlorate using a metal spatula...

Chemical Inventory

Chemicals tracks the storage and use of hazardous materials on all UC campuses. UC Berkeley is required to report that information, and these reports are compiled by EH&S. In addition, Chemicals assists emergency responders and provides all lab members with a tool with which to track hazardous items in their rooms. See the Chemicals User Guide below.

Anyone responsible for an area where hazardous materials are stored is...

Lab Self-Inspection Checklist

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

Reviewing the EH&S lab self-inspection checklist is a good way to prepare for inspections. The department safety coordinator for each department or an EH&S lab safety specialist will reach out to each lab to schedule an inspection time.

Contact the campus chemical hygiene officer at (510) 643-6381 or ucbcho@berkeley.edu with any questions or concerns about the EH&S General Lab Safety Inspection Program.

Margarita Gonzales

Research Safety Manager
Chemical Safety
Controlled Substances
Lab Safety
EH&S Inspections

Peroxide Explosion Injures Campus Researcher

November 30, 2006
What Happened?

An undergraduate student researcher was working at the laboratory bench when the apparatus she was using exploded, sending glass fragments into her face and upper torso. The researcher was using a rotary evaporator (rotovap) to remove organic solvents from an azobenzene precipitate. She adjusted the bottom flask which then exploded sending glass towards her face, hitting her safety goggles and forehead. Lab personnel helped her to the safety shower and called 911. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she received stitches above her eyes and other treatment...