Lab Safety Training

Our safety information can help augment Northwestern's safety training. These topics are updated and expanded on a regular basis.

Personal Protection Equipment

OSHA regulations mandate that employers must assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or likely. This regulation also requires use of proper personal protective equipment to protect employees from the identified hazards. A hazard assessment should evaluate each work task or process and consider the hazard type, source and part of body affected by it.

Identify potential hazards and see VWR products available to address your lab safety needs pdf icon (pdf).

Eye and Face Protection

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) recently updated its standards for protective eyewear and face protection. Impact resistance is now defined as "basic" or "high." The frame, temple and lenses of all spectacles, goggles and face shields must be marked with "Z87," which indicates basic impact protection; "Z87-2" indicates prescription lenses and "Z87+" indicates high impact protection.

Our suppliers have evaluated their products against the new standard and have begun marking their products accordingly. Any glasses that are not in compliance with the new criteria will be redesigned or discontinued. See VWR products for eye and face protection pdf icon (pdf).

Glove Selection

Hand protection is one of the most effective methods of reducing chemical exposure. Workers should inspect their gloves before handling hazardous materials and replace them at the first sign of wear. Maximize glove life by removing the chemical from the surface of the glove after each use and storing them away from the contaminating atmosphere.

Choosing the right glove for your application is critical. The chemical breakthrough time and degradation rating, process, and temperature are among criteria used to determine the best type of glove to use. See VWR gloves that have been evaluated and recommended for use with different chemicals pdf icon (pdf).

Emergency Eyewash & Showers

Availability and operability of emergency eyewash and showers are critical for a safe work environment. In addition to instructing employees about their location and use, OSHA has the following standards for these devices:

  • Be located within 10 seconds travel time of the hazard, on the same level as the hazard, and the path shall be free of obstructions.
  • Be in good working order (tested weekly and inspected annually)
  • Be protected from freezing and contaminant settling (in eyewash heads)
  • Be identified with highly visible signs in a well-lit area.
  • Deliver tepid water or flushing fluid.

See VWR's emergency eyewash and showers pdf icon (pdf).

Any questions about technical safety support? Contact 866-VWR-Safe (897-7233) or e-mail