Workplace Safety

The campuswide Workplace Safety Program serves as the university’s central program for creating a safe and healthful work environment. 

Machine Guarding Program

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

The Machine Guarding Program describes various types of physical guards, interlocks and safeguarding methods for facilities and research machinery / equipment. This program can assist you in identifying the hazardous parts of a machine, determining the need for safeguards, and obtaining or fabricating the necessary guards.

Download Machine Guarding Program Document

Hot Work Permit

Anyone performing temporary hot work is required to have a valid Hot Work Permit for each day of work.

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...

Indoor Air Quality

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

Air Quality Odors Affecting Your Workplace - Fact Sheet

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,...

Eye Exposure to Specular and Diffuse Reflections

October 17, 2016
What happened?

A student conducting a physics experiment was briefly exposed to specular and diffuse reflections from a continuous wave 975 nm invisible laser beam while not wearing laser eye protection. The student was applying oil to an objective lens with a glass stick when it was noted that the laser was still on. The student was immediately referred to the optometry clinic and was promptly examined. No eye damage was found.

What went right?

The student immediately stopped work and alerted their professor as soon as...

Nitric Acid Waste Over-pressurization Event

July 3, 2018
What happened?

A graduate student researcher was consolidating aqueous nitric acid solutions into a 4-L bottle marked as hazardous waste. The bottle was stored inside a fume hood along with other waste bottles, organic reagent bottles, a hotplate and an oil bath. The fume hood sash was left open when all researchers left at the end of the day.

Several hours later, a custodian entered the lab and saw broken glass and brown liquid on the floor. It appears that the nitric acid waste was stored in a bottle that contained residual organic compounds, the combination of which generated...

Plastic Secondary Container Shatters Due to Dry Ice Sublimation

May 28, 2019
What happened?

A researcher packaged a microgram crystalline sample with dry ice to ensure sample integrity. The crystalline sample was first placed inside a glass vial, which was subsequently housed inside a plastic secondary container with a screw cap. The researcher placed dry ice around the glass vial inside the secondary container before loosely capping the top to vent.

When it came time to take out the glass vial, the researcher found that the secondary container was stuck, even though the cap was originally loosely screwed.

The researcher recruited the help of a staff...

Step Ladders

Step ladders are self-supporting portable ladders, nonadjustable in length, with flat steps and hinged base. A step ladder is used on a level firm surface. Review the resources below to learn more about step ladder safety.

UC Berkeley Resources Ladder Safety Program Office Safety Fact Sheet Using Step Stool - Job Safety...