Noise and Safety

Changes in sounds are often a first indication that something is wrong with equipment or machinery. Try to keep background noises from pumps, shakers, compressed air jets, etc. at as low a level as possible for the comfort of everyone and so that you can hear when something is going wrong. Noisy radios are not permitted in laboratories.

The use of personal audio equipment which include earphones is forbidden in the research areas and teaching laboratories of the Department of Chemistry

Out of Hours Working

There are special risks from working in a laboratory in the Department outside normal working hours (8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday) as help may not be available in the event of an accident. It is the duty of all Research Supervisors to be aware of the work being undertaken by their students and to ensure that out of hours work is properly regulated. The following rules apply out of normal hours:-

  • Undergraduates are forbidden to be in laboratories unless a member of the academic staff of the Department is present with them.
  • Lone working is forbidden. Make sure there is always someone within calling distance.
  • Experiments that involve any measure of risk must be left to normal working hours. No work involving Cyanides or HF may be carried out outside normal working hours.

Unattended Experiments

Experimental work left running unattended poses special risks in terms of fires and floods and must be carefully controlled. The following rules apply:

  • Unattended running of experiments may be carried out only when absolutely necessary.
  • Experiments involving overnight refluxing of solvents must be within a ducted fume-hood. All water lines must be fixed securely.
  • All experiments left on must have a notice on
    • stating Experiment in Progress Please Leave On
    • and indicating potential hazards in plain English e.g., "Flammable solvent", "Contains Toxic Material"
    • and the name and telephone number of the person who is responsible for it:- This must be a realistic telephone number where you can be contacted at all times because you may be called out at any time to deal with your experiment.
    • If at all possible, this information should also be posted in a prominent position external to the laboratory.
    • If an unattended experiment is set up in a fume hood, the lighting for that fume hood should be turned on.
    • Electrical equipment left on should carry a Do Not Switch Off notice in yellow card giving the name of the person leaving the equipment and a contact phone number. For large permanent equipment like Electron Microscopes, NMR equipment etc. contact numbers should also be posted external to the laboratory and Emergency Electrical OFF switches clearly identified within the laboratory.


Certain chemicals, radiation and physical tasks pose a greater than normal danger to an expectant woman and to her unborn child. If you become pregnant, you should inform your Supervisor in writing - they may then be able to help you to avoid exposure to such agents and to any problematic tasks.



The prospect that you and your co-workers stay safe will be increased if you all keep your working 
environment reasonably tidy and free of obstacles.