Teaching assistants working in teaching laboratories

All teaching assistants (TA) are considered supervisors and must ensure the safety of all those who enter the lab. TAs who work in teaching laboratories receive written information specifying their responsibilities with respect to safety in the laboratory.

TAs should provide a lab orientation to ensure that all students are familiar with the use and location of equipment and safety aids. Orientation should include information on:
  • Electrical equipment and manuals.
  • Safety data sheets (SDSs).
  • Review safety manuals and resources.
  • Chemical inventories and demonstrated methods of access.
  • Explain use of and limitations of personal protective equipment (PPE), e.g. safety glasses, face shields, temperature resistant gloves, etc.
  • Importance of reporting every incident, accidents, and unsafe conditions to a supervisor.
  • Review emergency procedures and location of emergency equipment and supplies (nearest phone, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, etc.).
  • Fire alarm pull stations.
  • Evacuation procedures (emergency routes and exits).
  • Procedures for medical emergencies and injuries.
  • Information concerning the existence of and procedures for dealing with any unusual hazard which may exist in a particular laboratory.

All teaching assistants must sign a form which states that they understand their responsibilities and will follow the specified procedures.