Safety Update

improvements to CFN safety

Wai Lin

Wai Lin

Summertime at Brookhaven Lab brings much excitement and a flurry of activities on site and in our laboratories as we host additional student interns, guests, and collaborators. While it may be hot outside, remember when entering labs that you must have proper attire, as posted on the hazard placards at each door—long pants and fully enclosed shoes at a minimum. Skirts, shorts, or sandals are not allowed in any of the labs.

General Reminders

  • Note that a long-sleeve shirt or lab coat is required when you are transferring liquid nitrogen. If you are filling small portable dewars at the loading dock on the south side of the building, you can find lab coats in the personal protective equipment cabinet, along with face shields and gloves for your convenience.
  • Wasps and bees are common insects at Brookhaven. While most people will experience redness, swelling, pain, or itching when they are stung, some may have very serious allergic reactions. Please inform the building's facility project manager or CFN operations staff if you see these insects flying about the work area, particularly by the rear loading dock. It may be necessary to have a pest controller find and remove a nest nearby.
  • Please be mindful to share the road with more drivers, bicyclists, and walkers. Ensure that you stay within the speed limit of 30 miles per hour or as posted, and stop for pedestrians at the crosswalk. When backing up out of your parking space, check your car's rearview mirror and look behind you and on either side of the car. Injuries and vehicle accidents are likely to occur when backing out if you are distracted or in a rush.

Safety Data Sheets

When sending samples to the CFN as part of your proposal, you must treat "samples," "reagents," and "components" as the chemicals that they are and consider their hazards when arranging for them to be delivered. Ensure that non-procured materials from other research facilities are appropriately packaged and marked with the contents and hazard information (e.g., ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic), and provide a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when one is available from the manufacturer, importer, or distributor.

Shipping chemicals or experimental samples off site from Brookhaven requires a SDS that is compliant with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. If a new substance is prepared at the CFN, please contact me in advance on how to obtain or prepare the SDS. You will need to provide information on the properties and hazards of the material.

With the limited space available for storage, we find ourselves accumulating samples and chemicals brought to the labs. When you have completed your work at the CFN, please return your samples to the home institution or arrange with our staff for their proper disposal. Remember that all materials need to be properly labeled with their contents and hazard information. Any substrates containing nanomaterials or toxic metals (As, Ba, Cd, Pb, Hg, Se, Ag) must be identified on the label as "Contains…"


Your attention to what can go wrong and your engagement with the CFN staff are essential to maintaining safe operations. Every experiment, event, or project provides an opportunity to improve safety, so I encourage your feedback on better ways of doing things.

—Wai-Lin Ng
ES&H Coordinator

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