being maintained. Look for signs of deterioration or wear of rubber parts, harness, and hardware and make certain that the apparatus is clean and free of visible contamination. Periodically perform fit tests to ensure that the mask forms a good seal to an individual’s face. Masks come in different sizes and cannot be considered universal or one-size-fits-all. Facial hair, especially beards, interferes with the mask seal and is not to permitted for SCBA users.

   Examine safety showers and eyewash units visually and test their mechanical function. Purge them as necessary to remove particulate matter from the water line.

   Inspect an AED periodically following the manufacturer’s recommendations and procedures as well as after use and before returning to its storage location.


The following general emergency procedures are recommended in the event of a fire, explosion, spill, or medical or other laboratory accident. These procedures are intended to limit injuries and minimize damage if an accident should occur. Post numbers to call in emergencies clearly at all telephones in hazard areas. Because emergency response (personnel, contact information, procedures) varies greatly from institution to institution, all laboratory personnel should be properly trained and informed of the protocols for their particular institution.

   Have someone call for emergency help, for instance, 911 or other number as designated by the institution. State clearly where the accident has occurred and its nature.

   Ascertain the safety of the situation. Do not enter or reenter an unsafe area.

   Without endangering yourself, render assistance to the personnel involved and remove them from exposure to further injury.

   Warn personnel in adjacent areas of any potential risks to their safety.

   Render immediate first aid; appropriate measures include washing under a safety shower, administration of CPR by trained personnel if heartbeat or breathing or both have stopped, and special first-aid measures.

   Put out small fires by using a portable extinguisher. Turn off nearby equipment and remove combustible materials from the area. For larger fires, contact the appropriate fire department promptly. Be aware that many organizations limit fire extinguisher use to designated trained personnel only.

   Provide emergency personnel with as much information as possible about the nature of the hazard, including a copy of the material safety data sheet (MSDS).

   In a medical emergency, laboratory personnel should remain calm and do only what is necessary to protect life.

   Summon medical help immediately.

   Do not move an injured person unless he or she is in danger of further harm.

   Keep the injured person warm. If feasible, designate one person to remain with the injured person. The injured person should be within sight, sound, or physical contact of that person at all times.

   If clothing is on fire and a safety shower is immediately available, douse the person with water; otherwise, roll the person on the floor to smother the flames.

   If harmful chemicals have been spilled on the body, remove the chemicals, usually by flooding the exposed area with the safety shower, and immediately remove any contaminated clothing.

   If a chemical has splashed into the eye, immediately wash the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid with water for 15 minutes. An eyewash unit should be used if available. Forcibly hold the eye open to wash thoroughly behind the eyelid.

   If possible, determine the identity of the chemical and inform the emergency medical personnel attending the injured person. Provide an MSDS for each chemical that is involved in the incident to the attending physician or emergency responders.

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