Laboratory Safety

About this policy

Policy contact:

Mark Napier

Date of last update:

March 30, 2020



  1. Safety is the responsibility of each individual user. In addition each faculty member, principal investigator, lab manager, lab supervisor or designated responsible authority is responsible for the safety of the individuals working within his or her laboratories.
  2. Students (except for those employed specifically for work in a lab or makerspace) may not work alone in any area where hazards are present. Employees are expected to understand the hazards involved in their work and to use appropriate measures to mitigate risks.
  3. Any area containing any personal safety hazard shall be provided with a phone which must be readily available to all users at all times and an appropriate first aid kit containing, in addition to basic supplies, any items that may be required by the specific hazard(s) present.
  4. Because of potential for exposure to hazardous chemicals, dust, airborne debris, etc., food and drink are prohibited in all fabrication/maker areas.
  5. Close-toed shoes are required in all fabrication/maker areas. Sandals or flip-flops are not allowed.
  6. Clothing, jewelry and hair must be secured properly when in the vicinity of any moving machinery.
  7. Safety Data Sheets (SDS, formerly MSDS) for all laboratory chemicals and materials, if available, are required to be maintained in the laboratory where the materials are present. Safety Data Sheets are available from manufacturers' web sites and through the MSDSOnline® service at the IUEHS website.
  8. Specific facilities will be limited to use by authorized individuals only.
  9. All equipment must be installed, operated, and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. User manuals and other relevant documentation must be available to the user at the operating location.
  10. For purposes of this Policy, all referenced IU Policies and Programs shall apply to all Luddy personnel without regard to employment status.


Failure to follow the requirements of this Policy may result in loss of access to certain facilities. Failure to follow the requirements of University-wide policies cited herein may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Prohibited items

Resources provided by Luddy may not be used for the production of weapons or instruments of destruction, or components thereof, or any other item deemed to present an undue hazard.


  1. IU EHS provides a variety of training resources at Protect IU - Safety Training. All users should, at a minimum, complete the Personal Protective Equipment and Hand & Power Tool Safety courses. Anyone acting in any supervisory capacity shall in addition be certified in basic First Aid and complete the Blood-borne pathogen course available through IUEHS e-Training. Additional training will be required for the use of specific facilities, and for anyone acting in a supervisory capacity.
  2. Use of some facilities and equipment will require specific instruction and permission from a qualified supervisor. Only after demonstrating a satisfactory level of competence will the user be added to the list of authorized users for that system.
  3. Training records and documentation will be maintained by the School's Laboratory Safety Coordinator.

Machine tools

Use of any machine tool must comply with IU's Machine Guarding Program.

Laser cutting

  1. The laser tools available in Luddy School labs, as delivered by the manufacturer, are rated Class 2 in reference to a visible laser pointer which is considered safe for short exposures. If the manufacturer-provided enclosure and interlocks are defeated or otherwise rendered ineffective, the device becomes a Class 4 laser and is subject to all the provisions of IU's Laser Safety Program. Therefore laser tools may not be operated unless all enclosures and interlocks are functioning correctly.
  2. In general, no synthetic materials containing Chlorine, Fluorine, Bromine, or Iodine may be used. Before working with any material, its Safety Data Sheet should be consulted to ensure that decomposition products will not be hazardous to personal health or corrosive to equipment.
  3. No laser cutter may be operated without adequate exhaust ventilation in operation.


  1. When not in use, soldering tools must be placed in an appropriate holder that will protect against accidental contact.
  2. Soldering fumes must be exhausted by an adequate ventilation system, or at a minimum filtered through a bench top fume extractor designed for that purpose.


Welding, cutting, and similar processes that may produce molten metal, sparks, or hot surfaces are subject to the provisions of IU's Welding, Cutting and Brazing Safety Program and Hot Work Procedures.


  1. Any robotic system will require a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment as prescribed in IU's Robot Safety Program and must satisfy all the requirements of that Program as well as all relevant portions of this Policy (ex: moving machinery).
  2. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment must be completed before any robotic system is placed in service, and must be updated to reflect any changes to the system.


Any ground vehicle used as part of a research or academic endeavor may be subject to IU's ORV Policy.

Aerial drones

Contact INLOCC before purchasing!!

Purchase or operation of any Unmanned Aerial System must be in compliance with FAA, local, and IU regulations, and must be approved and coordinated through INLOCC in accordance with IU's Policy on Unmanned Aircraft.


Any use of chemicals must comply with IU's Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Material handling, storage, and waste disposal

  1. All containers must be labeled to correctly indicate their contents.
  2. Waste products must be rendered safe prior to disposal. Disposal procedures must prevent release of contaminants and mitigate handling hazards.
  3. Certain types of waste are subject to the requirements of IUB Waste Management Program.

Incident response


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In the event of a personal injury incident, observe the following priorities:

  1. Do not place additional personnel, including yourself, at risk.
  2. Call 911 (if possible, assign someone to call) if the incident is severe, or if it exceeds the capabilities of those present.
  3. Take action to mitigate hazards (turn off power to machines, for example).
  4. Render aid to the victim commensurate with your training.
  5. Any injury should be reported immediately to a supervisor (faculty, AI or an employee overseeing the lab).
  6. Provide a written narrative detailing what you observed, what actions you took, who else was involved, etc. to the School's Laboratory Safety Coordinator.

Further details can be found in the IU First Aid Program (NOTE THIS IS A PDF) reference.