Science and Math
Safety Rules and Laboratory Policies

Implications for Physics 2048 and 2049

This policy took effect in Fall 2005.

The Science and Math Division (part of which became the Natural Science Division in Fall 2013) established a set of rules and policies that govern the conduct of both instructors and students in a science lab. The policies are general enough to apply to all labs, so each course has additional details or explanations determined by the course coordinator (Dr. James Carr for PHY2048L and PHY2049L).

All students are required to read and sign a document that contains the following statements before they will be allowed to participate in any lab activities. Some of the specific requirements are listed in your course syllabus and the pdf copy of our lab policies document here on the web, while others have always been explained in the first lab session as summarized on the web. (See Lab Zero for PHY2048 and Lab 0 for PHY2049 for those details.) Additional comments have been inserted below to explain how each rule applies in our lab.

It is important that you realize that these policies are not unique to our laboratory. They apply to any lab you might work in, including industrial labs. Introducing and enforcing them in our lab is part of the educational process, so you will have acceptable work habits when you move into the work world.

(signed) Dr. Carr
revised 1/05/2014


Safety Contract

Working in the science laboratory entails specific important responsibilities that do not apply to other classrooms. To keep a science laboratory a safe working place, you must follow all safety rules for your course. You are expected to conduct yourself in an appropriate, responsible manner while in the laboratory and should show respect for fellow students and your instructor, as well as the laboratory materials and equipment being used.

  1. Know the proper fire drill procedure. Know the location of all emergency equipment and how to use it safely and properly. Be prepared to provide assistance to fellow classmates who might need help.

    Comments for the Physics Lab (updated Fall 2013):

    If the fire alarm goes off, leave everything in the room where it is and exit the lab in a prompt and orderly fashion. The instructor will be the LAST to leave the room and will LOCK it.

    The first students to exit should verify the primary exit route (shown by a red line on the sign by the door) and check if it is safe to enter the hallway. If there is a fire or hazard in the hallway blocks both the main (red) and secondary (blue) exit routes in the hall, we have a backup exit through the windows at the front of the lab. Stay together as you leave and follow any other class groups who are likely to be ahead of us. Gather as a group in the area across the parking lot to the WEST of the TPP building, next to but outside of the parking garage. Staff will tell us when it is OK to return.

    Emergency AC Power Shutoff: Know where the "big red button" is located. You must turn off the power before assisting anyone who has somehow come in contact with the 120 V 60 Hz AC power in the room.

    Additional comment:
    Report any lab emergency using the phone in the lab. The second button is a direct line to the TCC Police 911 operator. You can also use the call box located in the hallway between TPP112 and 116, or by calling the campus police operator at 201-6100. Instructions are posted by the phone and by the lab room door.

  2. You are not permitted to eat, drink, or chew gum in the laboratory. Absolutely no food or drink containers are allowed in the laboratory.

    Comment for the Physics Lab (updated Spring 2014):
    The campus-wide prohibition on smoking in any building also applies to "electronic cigarettes" in any laboratory. Like food, drinking containers, and gum, the "cigarette" itself and the vapor it produces both have the possibility of carrying a hazardous material from the lab into your body. Smoking anything was banned in labs long before it was banned in offices or regular classrooms.

    Comment on grading:
    Lab instructors are authorized to penalize a student on the "doing the lab" part of their lab grade for violating the policy and kick them out of the lab if they are repeat offenders.

  3. Bring only the necessary laboratory materials to the workstation. Place other personal items in the designated area(s). Keep work areas clean and dispose of all waste materials properly. Leave the lab work area as you found it.

    Comment for the Physics Lab (updated Fall 2013):
    All personal items, including backpacks and purses, must be stored in the cubbies along the back wall of the classroom (to your left as you enter the room). You should bring your lab book, calculator, pen, pencil, and any scratch paper with you so you will not need to get anything out of your backpack during lab. Among the things you will not need is your cell phone. Turn it off.

    Additional comment:
    Broken glass, and only broken glass, goes in a special box. That box is kept in TPP114 except when a lab is using glassware. Ask your instructor to get that box if anything breaks! A janitor was injured by broken glass that as thrown in a trash can in a chemistry lab in 2012. Everything else goes in the wastebasket or the recycle bin. Please dispose of food and drinks in the trash can before you enter the building and do not put trash in the recycle bins.

    Comment on grading:
    Lab instructors are authorized to penalize a lab group for repeatedly leaving their lab area in disarray at the conclusion of the lab. Instructors are responsible for the lab being in order for the next class if the students have not done so.

  4. Prepare for each laboratory activity by reading all instructions before coming to class. Perform only those laboratory activities authorized by the instructor. Know how to correctly operate equipment prior to use. If you do not know how to do something, ASK!

    Comment for the Physics Lab:
    This course is "Web Assisted". Some information about doing a lab is shown on the course web site. Those skills may or may not be reviewed during the lab, so review them and ask about them if the skill or activity is not clear to you.

  5. Wear apparel and/or protective equipment that is appropriate for the laboratory work being performed. Chemical splash goggles must be worn during experiments involving caustic/corrosive solids and/or liquids.

    Comments for the Physics Lab:
    You will not need goggles for anything we do in our labs. Appropriate clothing includes shoes that cover the entire foot (recommended in our lab, required in a chemistry lab) or sandals that are worn like shoes (e.g. Birkenstocks). Flip-flops or bare feet are not acceptable. Jewelry or loose clothing (or the techno-stylish flash drive) that will hang down if you lean over your experiment is not acceptable, particularly during a lab when it might contact a live 10,000 Volt source. Store those items before lab or leave them at home. Also, because there will be times when it may be necessary to kneel on the floor, do not wear your best clothes on lab day.

  6. Immediately report any spills, cuts, or other injury, no matter how minor, to the instructor so that proper spill procedures and/or first aid can be provided.

    Important clarification:
    There is no punishment for an injury. Report it! An injury report protects you. There is a mop (usually stored in TPP114) that can be used to clean up spilled water, but also let your instructor and classmates know about the spill because our lab floor gets extremely slippery when it is wet.

  7. You are responsible for following any specialized saftey procedures as provided by the instructor for your course.

I recognize that I am responsible for my safety and that of others in the laboratory. By signing below, I certify that I have carefully read the safety precautions and agree to abide by all laboratory rules.

... signed ... (date) ... etc.


 ?? Contact me if you have any questions.