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The Environment, Safety & Health (ES&H) policies of the James R. Macdonald Lab

Environmental, Safety, and Health Guidelines

Last Major Revision: 04 November 2003
Last Minor Revision: 07 November 2013


If you have questions about any of the guidelines outlined below or if an operation is not outlined below, ask an experienced member of the laboratory staff for assistance.


Life Safety is a broad category that basically includes the guidelines for maintaining a means of exit from a facility in the event of an emergency. The exit pathways in the JRM Lab are designated by yellow stripes on the floor and/or exit signs in various locations throughout the lab. In the event of a power failure, the exit pathways are illuminated with battery powered lights.

  1. Keep exit pathways clear by not leaving items in the designated exit pathways.
  2. Keep access to fire extinguishers and other safety equipment clear by not placing items where they will obstruct access.
  3. Observe all warning devices (signs, alarms, etc.) and take appropriate actions.


General Housekeeping is the area that generates the most notices of violation from OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration). In general, a clean and neat work area is a safe work area.

  1. Keep your work area clean and organized.
  2. Avoid causing tripping hazards by leaving cables, extension cords, etc. on the floor. Route them through the overhead cable racks.
  3. Return unused equipment and supplies to their designated storage area.


Before you will be able to properly deal with a hazard, you must first know what the hazard is. The easiest way to learn of a hazard in the JRM Laboratory is to observe the various identification and warning devices such as signs, labels, flashing lights, etc. It is your responsibility to take the proper actions to deal with the indicated hazards. It is also your responsibility to properly identify hazards that you create.

  1. A "permanent" warning device will indicate most hazards that are found in the JRM Lab continuously.
  2. Short-term hazards may be indicated by a temporary means such as a hand-written sign or temporarily posted warning device.
  3. A verbal warning from the person attending the hazard may indicate very short-term hazards that will not be left unattended.
  4. Various warning signs, tags, and labels are available in the SAFETY SIGNS folder in the bookshelf above the control console in the control room.
  5. Contact the lab safety officer for additional information and items that may be necessary to properly identify a hazard.


  1. Wear dosimeter badges in the laboratory when appropriate.
  2. If an accelerator is operating, consult the status boards (located near the main entrance to the lab) and/or check with the operators for possible restricted areas.
  3. Hand-held survey meters or portable area monitors should be used to monitor the radiation level when working in potential radiation areas.
  4. Area radiation monitors provide a visual and audible indication of an unsafe radiation level in the area.
  5. If your operation is causing a localized radiation area, post the area with rope barriers and temporary warning signs.
  6. Never by-pass a radiation gate or warning rope barrier.
  7. Never by-pass the tandem tank chains. The tandem/linac accelerator area is the most likely area in the laboratory to have radiation.
  8. Never remove the tandem tank chains without authorization from the accelerator operator.
  9. Avoid contamination of equipment and personnel when using radioactive sources.

More general information on radiation safety is available from OSHA. The KSU Department of Environmental Health & Safety maintains the campus Radiation Safety Manual.


  1. Turn off the main power switch, place a tag on the power switch indicating that work is being performed on the equipment, and lock the switch in the OFF position (if possible) before working on electrical equipment.
  2. Always attach grounding sticks to High Voltage equipment before starting work.
  3. Amber flashing lights and/or the words "High Voltage" indicates the equipment has voltages greater than 600 volts.
  4. "Electrical Hazard" indicates the equipment has voltages less than 600 volts. NOTE: Low voltage hazards can be as deadly as high voltage hazards.
  5. Avoid wearing jewelry. Jewelry provides a very good conductive path to your body.
  6. Work in pairs if possible.
  7. Do not by-pass any interlock.

More information on electrical safety is available from OSHA.


  1. Always secure a compressed gas cylinder with a strap or chain whether it is in use or in storage. Never leave a cylinder freestanding.
  2. Always secure the cylinder to a cylinder cart to transport.
  3. When taking a cylinder out of service, remove the regulator, replace the valve cap, and transport the cylinder to the compressed gas storage area.
  4. Use regulators and piping that are compatible with the gas to be used. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for compatibility.
  5. Most compressed gases are chemically hazardous. Refer to the HAZARDOUS MATERIALS guidelines.

More information on compressed gas safety is available from OSHA.


  1. Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet or other chemical safety sources such as our safety information web page for guidelines concerning proper handling, storage, use, and disposal of specific materials. Contact the laboratory safety officer if additional information or equipment is needed to comply with these guidelines.

  2. Use the necessary personal protective equipment (eye protection, gloves, etc.) when handling chemicals.
  3. Some chemicals (especially compressed gases) may need special ventilation when used. In some cases, your roughing pump exhaust must be ventilated outside the lab.
  4. All chemical containers should be labeled with the chemical name and hazard.
  5. Do not dispose of chemicals down laboratory drains. Contact the laboratory safety officer to arrange for proper disposal of hazardous materials.
  6. Used batteries should be disposed of by placing them in the "broken electronics" box in the control room.
  7. Sharps (razor blades, needles, etc.) should be placed in the sharps disposal container near the equipment room sink.
  8. Absorbent pads and other spill clean up equipment are located near the chemical storage area near the negative ion sources.

See also the KSU EH&S Laboratory Policies for pointers on good laboratory practices.


In general, the JRML follows the ANSI Z136.1-2000 Standard on laser safety. A copy of this standard is kept in the Control Room bookshelf. Exceptions to the Standard are listed below. It is strongly recommended that everyone working with lasers peruse this booklet.

(See also the OSHA Technical Links chapter on laser hazards.)

While the ANSI Standard contains the exhaustive list of our rules, there are some items it does not contain. These include procedures, and lab-specific policies. As these are dynamic in nature, they will be undergoing continual development. The JRM Safety web pages as well as the safety notebooks in the control room will hopefully be maintained to reflect the most current procedures and policies.

Lab-Specific Laser Safety Policies

  1. A light at the entrance to the laser area indicates that a laser in on. If a laser is on, do not enter the laser area without appropriate eye protection, even if you think you will be safe. The appropriate eye protection is indicated at all entrances to the hazardous areas. Please return eyewear to the cabinets when you leave.
  2. Never look into the end of a laser cabinet (whether the laser is on or off).
  3. Never open the shielding panels/curtains around lasers and optics tables without authorization from the operator.
  4. Use the proper eye protection when working with lasers. (If you have any question as to what constitutes “proper”, ASK!) A guide to appropriate protective eyewear is available.
  5. Many laser dyes are hazardous. Refer to the HAZARDOUS MATERIALS guidelines.
  6. Be aware that some lasers have invisible beams and it is not readily evident that the laser is operating.

We also recommend that you read:


  1. Before using the equipment in the machine shop, you should have proper training. The Physics department machine shop foreman offers a machine shop course.
  2. Wear eye protection when there is a hazard from flying debris.
  3. Avoid contact with exposed moving parts. Loose fitting clothing may get caught in moving parts.
  4. Never exceed the capacity of any lifting device. Specifications for our Ruger Model HP-2A are available.
  5. Use the proper rigging for moving heavy items.
  6. Overhead cranes may have exposed power lines.


  1. Always wear gloves and a face shield when handling pressurized cryogenic fluids.
  2. Avoid contact between the cryogenic liquid and your skin.
  3. Avoid contact between your skin and the cold gas evolving from the cryogenic liquid.
  4. Before removing level probes, etc. from a cryogenic system, be sure that the system has been brought to atmospheric pressure to avoid an unexpected release of cold gas and/or liquid.
  5. Rapid boil-off of a cryogenic liquid may lead to an oxygen deficient atmosphere. A strobe light along with an audible alarm indicates an oxygen deficient atmosphere in the area.


Wear hearing protection when working in areas with a high noise level. Headsets can usually be found on the handrail at the entrance to the lab.

More information on Noise and Hearing Conservation is available from OSHA.


KSU has a program to recycle a wide variety of materials. Recycle bins are located across campus, both inside and outside buildings. Note that Cardwell Hall has a dedicated dumpster for cardboard near the west-side driveway. You may also drop off your recyclables at the K-State Recycling Center behind Weber Hall.


All employees of the Macdonald Lab (students, staff, faculty, and certain visiting researchers) are eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. Should you receive an injury while working in the Macdonald Laboratory, notify your supervisor and our office manager, Kelsey Young, as soon as possible and complete an accident report form at your earliest convenience. You may also contact Human Resources directly at 532-6277.

Last updated on Thursday, 12-Nov-2020