Safety Handbook


1.1 The objective of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) Safety Handbook is to ensure a safe working environment for all faculty, staff, students and visitors. The safety guidelines are determined and monitored by the SEAS Safety Committee with the advice of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Office.

1.2 The Princeton University Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) provides leadership, technical support, information and training, consultation, and periodic audits of environmental, health and safety practices and regulatory compliance. SEAS and EHS partner closely to ensure a safe working environment for all faculty, staff, students and visitors and. In addition to the main EHS website , the following links may be helpful resources:

Biohazardous Waste
Chemical Waste
Radioactive Waste
General Laboratory Waste


2.1 Inspections

All laboratories, classrooms, offices and public areas are to be formally inspected twice each year. Each Departmental Safety Manager (DSM) is responsible for scheduling and leading an annual inspection of their respective departmental operations in conjunction with EHS. The Senior Laboratory Safety Specialist (SEAS/EHS) works closely with each department to insure two inspections are conducted annually.

EHS reports all findings from both of these inspections to the PI (or Department Manager in the case of office inspections), the Department Chair and the Safety Committee if necessary. The PI may request re-inspection when corrections have been made, which should, under most circumstances be no longer than one month.

2.2 Construction, Renovation and Equipment Installation Safety Review

New construction, pressure piping, pressure vessels, electrical and structural work are reviewed and approved by the Office of Design and Construction and the University’s Engineering Department in Facilities. EHS strictly regulates work involving building systems. Only those individuals who have received the required training should engage in these activities. Students and Post Docs are not authorized to do this work.

All construction projects are managed by a Project Manager (PM) from the appropriate Facilities Department (e.g. Physical Planning, Engineering, Maintenance or Construction Offices) in partnership with the School of Engineering. No one else is authorized to be the manager of a construction project. The PM is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals, including land use, building permits and safety inspections.

Safety and health review of new or significantly revised potentially hazardous experimental operations is the joint responsibility of the PI and the Department Chair.

2.3 Emergency Shutdown

Where appropriate, experimental equipment shall be posted with emergency shutdown instructions that include the telephone number of the responsible persons. Critical switches or other controls referred to in the shutdown instructions will be clearly labeled. Emergency instructions shall be kept up to date.

2.4 Emergency Information Posters

An Emergency Information Poster (EIP) shall be displayed at the entrance to each laboratory, storage area, or other space containing equipment or materials that could pose unusual hazards to response personnel during an emergency. EIP poster information must be reviewed and updated every six months. Refer to the EHS Web Page for more information and templates.

2.5 Emergency Response

According to the University Policy on Fire Emergencies, employees are not required to fight fires and should evacuate the building immediately in the event of a fire. Public Safety has primary responsibility for managing fire emergencies and must be notified immediately of such situations at their emergency number, 911. From your cell phone, call 609-258-3333. You may want to program this number into your cell phone. Employees may use fire extinguishers to fight small incipient stage fires (no larger than a waste paper basket) only if they have been trained in the proper use of a fire extinguisher and are confident in their ability to cope with the hazards of a fire. In such cases, fire-fighting efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is danger of harm from smoke, heat, or flames.

If you discover a fire, activate the nearest fire alarm pull station and call Public Safety at 911. You may attempt to put out the fire if you have been trained in and are comfortable with using a fire extinguisher, otherwise, immediately evacuate!

On the sounding of a fire alarm, it is the responsibility of each individual to secure any experimental equipment (if doing so does not endanger his/her personal safety), close the door of his/her work area and leave the building by prescribed exit routes.

Evacuate via the nearest stairwell or street/grade level exit. It is the responsibility of the Evacuation Monitors to assist everyone in leaving the buildings and to ensure that no one remains behind. Each of the seven SEAS buildings has a documented Emergency Action Plan (EAP) which is updated by the SEAS Office of the Dean each July and sent to department and center managers accordingly. The EAP outlines assembly points and additional information/best practices.

2.6 Safety Education and Training

EHS offers a mandatory series of seminars on safety topics during the academic year. Descriptions of available training are provided in the Training Section of the EHS Web Page. All individuals working in a lab must first complete the appropriate series of training modules offered by EHS.

2.7 Personal Protective Equipment

Requirements for the selection and use of PPE can be found on the EHS web page

PPE should be worn in wet laboratories where acids or chemicals could spill. Safety glasses must be worn in the SEAS Machine Shops. PI’s are responsible for determining if eye protection and/or protective clothing are required in their laboratories. Each department shall have a PPE Hazard Assessment by EHS and each department will be notified of the requirement. These assessments take place periodically. If eye protection is required, they will be made available to visitors as well as workers in the laboratory. EHS must be consulted before assigning anyone a respirator.

2.8 Safety Equipment

Safety showers and eyewash stations are tested by Special Facilities (609-258-4565) annually at a minimum, or as requested by the PI. Eye wash stations are flushed monthly and fire extinguishers are checked monthly by Building Services. Eye wash stations in labs must be kept clean and free from debris.

Self-contained breathing apparatus are checked monthly by SEAS and hydrostatically tested every five years by an outside contractor, as arranged by EHS.

Chemical fume hoods are surveyed semi-annually by EHS and maintained by Facilities. Survey results are posted on the hood sash. A summary of survey findings is provided to the individual designated responsible for the hood. Details of the chemical fume hood survey program are contained in each department’s Chemical Hygiene Plan.

Problems with any safety equipment should be reported to the responsible service organization (listed below). Advice on selection and use of safety equipment is available from EHS.

Building Services: 609-258-3490

Facilities: 609-258-4565

EHS: 609-258-5294

2.9 Chemical Safety Information

Each department of the SEAS has a Chemical Hygiene Plan and a Chemical Hygiene Officer. As a best practice, a copy of the plan is available in each laboratory. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each chemical handled in a laboratory must be maintained where they are readily accessible to all lab workers.

2.10 Transport of Chemicals

Bottle carriers must be used when carrying chemical through the halls of the E-Quad or between other locations and the E-Quad, ACEE, Bowen Hall and Hoyt.

2.11 Chemical Spills

Before handling a chemical, individuals should familiarize themselves with the potential hazards of the materials, including protective equipment and materials required for spill control. In the event of a chemical spill of one gallon or less, the individual(s) that caused the spill is responsible for prompt and proper cleanup. It is the responsibility of all users of chemicals to maintain or have ready access to a supply of spill control equipment and supplies appropriate to the chemical types and quantities they use. Spill kits are located on the ground (1st) floor near each elevator throughout the building. Additional spill control materials are available outside at the E-Quad Loading Dock near the G-Wing entrance and Hazardous Waste Room Shed 7. Public Safety x911 and EHS 609-258-5294 must be notified if the chemical spill exceeds one gallon, if fire or personal injury is involved, if there has been a release to the environment, or if the individual does not feel he/she can clean up the spill safely. Calcium Gluconate Gel and Boric Acid for Hydrofluoric Acid exposure/spills and a Mercury Spill Kit are also available for emergencies in a wall mounted safety cabinet located in the 3rd floor A-D link.

2.12 Chemical Waste

EHS administers contracts with chemical disposal firms to provide for the prompt, safe, proper, and legal disposal of chemical wastes. Contact EHS at 609-258-5294 for answers to questions about disposal.

2.13 Warning Lights

It is the responsibility of the PI to be sure the appropriate warning lights and signs are displayed outside of laboratories when hazardous procedures are in progress. Examples include lasers and radiation sources. Checking for appropriate lighting will be done twice a year during regular safety inspections.

2.14 Lasers

Use of lasers must comply with ANSI 136.1-1993 (American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers). Engineering and administrative controls must be in place and hazard warning signs posted, as determined by the laser hazard class. Users of class 2B, 3, and 4 lasers must attend EHS Laser Safety Training and must be certified by EHS. Refer to the EHS Laser Safety Program website for more information.

2.15 Radioactive Materials and Radiation Producing Equipment

EHS coordinates the University’s Radiation Safety Program. Questions regarding the use of these materials or equipment should be addressed to EHS. Any user of radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment shall attend radiation safety training offered by EHS.

2.16 Gloves

Gloves used for protection during laboratory work should not be worn outside the lab.