Lab Safety

Gloves, safety goggles and lab coats are all required in labs.Lab safety and the proper disposal of waste are of great importance to the department as well as the University of California. Stringent guidelines must be followed, and resources are available for all employees. Much of the information is detailed below. Further information can be found on the Environmental Health and Safety website.
 

General Overview

For a general overview of all hazardous waste disposal please visit the EH&S website. The Environmental Health and Safety department handles the safe management of biohazardous waste on campus, including sharps waste, pathology waste and chemotherapy waste. Generators of biohazardous waste must follow the procedures outlined in the "Guidelines for Managing and Disposing of Biohazardous Waste":

Setting up an Account with EH&S

If your research group generates biohazardous or sharps waste and you do not have an existing billing relationship with EH&S, please follow the instructions at EH&S Recharge Services.

If needed, consult your department research administrator who may need to provide aditional approval. For assistance with setting up an EH&S recharge, contact Charisse Taylor at 642.6557 or charisse@berkeley.edu.

Waste Disposal (Hazardous, Cultures, Electronic, etc.)

Hazardous Waste Disposal

Hazardous waste disposal is the responsibility of each lab within Koshland Hall and our affiliated research labs and institutions. The campus Office of Environment, Health & Safety handles all hazardous waste disposal. For a breakdown of Hazardous Material Management Programs please see ehs.berkeley.edu. Our in-house safety representative is Harvey Jackson of the College of Natural Resources Facilities team.

EH&S recently transitioned to a new recharge program. It is extremely important that all procedures outlined by EH&S be followed by all labs and research units at all times.

Disposal of Cultures for PMB (Koshland Hall)

Large volume cultures with high ammonia content that are mixed with bleach (for sterilization) can produce chloramine gas, a toxic substance that can cause headaches, respiratory problems, rashes, and other effects.

We have developed a departmental policy for the sterilization and disposal of cultures. The preferable method is to autoclave the culture and dispose without the use of bleach. Alternatively, bleach the culture in the fume hood by bringing the total volume up to 10% bleach. Do not use more than a 10% bleach total concentration. Let this sit on the fume hood for  at least 30 minutes for cultures less than 1.0 L. For large volumes of 1.0 L or greater, it is recommended to leave the bleached cultures sit in the fume hood overnight before disposing of the culture down the drain. 

After dumping the culture, be sure to rinse the drain with copious amounts of water.

Do not bleach AND autoclave. This is destroying the autoclaves. Choose one method or the other.

Battery, Electronic Waste, Fluorescent Light Disposal

Batteries, computer parts and fluorescent lights are hazardous waste and should not be put in the regular trash because they contain heavy metals including mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel. For your convenience, small amounts of regular batteries can be disposed of in the Copy Room of 111 Koshland Hall. For instructions about how to dispose of larger amounts of batteries, plus the other materials mentioned above please visit ehs.berkeley.edu.

Local and Emergency Contacts

Local

Harvey Jackson handles all questions about hazardous waste and disposal for the department, and serves as a link between labs and EH&S. He is available anytime to help with questions or procedures. Harvey may be contacted at cnrfa_mgmt@berkeley.edu or 643-2606.

Emergency

In case of a spill or hazardous waste emergency of any kind please contact Harvey Jackson during regular business hours at the contact information above.
Outside of business hours please contact UCPD at 642-6760.

How to Call 911

  • From a campus phone please call 911
  • From a cell phone please call (510) 642-3333

Building Evacuation Procedure

In case of emergency (except earthquakes, see below) all personnel in Koshland Hall are directed to go to the lawn area between the Li Ka Shing building and Pat Brown's Grill. At this location roll will be taken to ensure everyone is present.

Earthquake Evacuation Procedure

In case of earthquake all personnel in Koshland Hall are directed to go to the lawn between Wellman Hall and VLSB north side of Strawberry Creek, after the shaking stops. At this location roll will be taken by building coordinators.

View the Koshland Hall Building Emergency Plan for more information.

Standard Safety Procedures

Video - Proper Use of a Fume Hood
Video - Cleaning Up a Small Mercury Spill
Video - Proper Hand Washing
Video - How to use the Online Hazardous Waste Program to create a waste label
Video - How to use the Online Hazardous Waste Program to request a waste pick up
Video - How to add waste to an already created label using the Online Hazardous Waste Program
Video - Using an Emergency Eyewash
Video - Gloves Gone Wild

To learn more about Health and Safety at the University, visit the Office of Environment, Health & Safety at www.ehs.berkeley.edu.

Standard Safety Procedures