20th Edition | March 2022
All About WASTE
Approximately 160,000 pounds of hazardous waste is generated by campus annually. Essentially, every lab involved in research produces hazardous waste that is picked up and handled by the EH&S Hazardous Waste team. The three most common issues identified by the Hazardous Waste team during their waste pickups are listed below.
3 Common Issues Identified by the Hazardous Waste Team
Unlabeled Waste

State and Federal regulations require all hazardous waste to be properly labeled. A properly filled out hazardous waste label must be attached to the container when a container begins to be filled. The lab should ensure that the hazardous waste label is adequately taped to the container, making sure that that the barcodes and waste information are clearly visible.
Three common issues identified by the Hazardous Waste team
Overfilled Carboys and Waste Containers

Waste containers must not be filled to the top. One inch of headspace must be left in the container to allow for expansion during transport and so that waste containers can be easily handled and emptied by the Hazardous Waste team. Carboys provided by the Hazardous Waste team have a dashed line indicating the appropriate fill level.
Duplicated Hazardous Waste Tags
When WASTe tags are photocopied or used for more than one container, only ONE of the containers is actually being tracked in WASTe. That means that when it’s time for your hazardous waste to be picked up by EH&S, only one of the containers will be picked up. Each hazardous waste container must have its own unique WASTe label.
Additional tips for hazardous waste:
  • SafetyNet #8 provides guidelines for Chemical Waste Disposal.
  • Researchers can use the comments section of the hazardous waste tag to request a clean carboy when their waste is picked up.
  • If the waste is located in an obscure location, researchers can include additional location information in the comments section of the hazardous waste tag to ensure the Hazardous Waste team can find the waste in the lab during pick up.
  • SafetyNet #110 provides additional information on filling out the hazardous waste label, including a tutorial video
  • Check out the Hazardous Materials Management & Disposal page for additional information, FAQs, and to learn more about WASTe.
Report ALL Fires, Even Extinguished Ones!
All fires, regardless of size or if/how they were extinguished, must be immediately reported to 9-1-1. This gives firefighters and investigators a chance to confirm the location is safe for our occupants.

Why do I have to report every fire, especially if I’ve already put it out?
  1. If you had a near miss, there’s a good chance that someone else might make the same mistake. The Fire Prevention team shares incident information anonymously so that others with a similar issue can avoid potential injuries.
  2. If the incident involves equipment, the Fire Prevention team researches the equipment to determine if there may be a recall or reports of similar problems with it. This will expedite getting damaged equipment replaced and inform others on campus who are also using the equipment.
  3. The Fire Prevention team monitors all fire/explosion incidents for safety issues, as they are made aware of them. If incidents go unreported, they lose the ability to learn from them and share pertinent information to further prevent similar issues.
  4. If you used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out, it needs to be replaced immediately with a fully charged extinguisher. Someone else may need that extinguisher the very next day for their own safety.
  5. It’s campus policy (PPM 390-40). Please dial 9-1-1 and be sure to make it clear that you are reporting an “extinguished” fire so that the fire department can respond appropriately and file a report.
SOP Reviewers Needed!
EH&S has produced three new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) templates and we need reviewers! The three new SOP templates are:
  1. Nanomaterials 
  2. Biological Toxins
  3. Centrifuges
If you use these in your lab and would like to offer comments, suggestions, or critique before the SOP template gets approved for campus use by the faculty-led Chemical and Lab Safety Committee (CLSC), email to volunteer as a reviewer.  
Microtome Safety
Microtomes (aka cryostats or vibratomes) are instruments found in many labs for cutting extremely thin sections of material for examination under a microscope. There are many different types, but all microtomes contain extremely sharp blades, and cuts from them are a common occurrence.
Read about a serious injury from a microtome in this link to a Lesson Learned.

A Cal/OSHA regulation relating to microtomes says that they “shall be used, operated, and maintained by qualified persons in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations” and with the text of the regulation.

SafetyNet 146: Microtome Use Hazards and Precautions, when read and signed, can serve as a training document for microtome use, in addition to documented hands-on training.

In an effort to reduce/eliminate microtome injuries, starting in 2023, the lab safety review program will add a question related to microtomes to their checklist and to the self-inspection checklist. The wording will be decided by the faculty-led Chemical and Lab Safety Committee (CLSC) and will be shared before the item is added.

Email with questions.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection
All facility fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly. The inspection can be recorded on the tag attached to the fire extinguisher or marked on a separate calendar, as long as it is clearly indicated.

SafetyNet #538 “Fire Extinguisher Inspection Procedures” outlines the items that should be evaluated during the monthly inspection, including:
  1. Look at the holes punched in the tag; if it has been 12 months since your annual inspection, contact Fire Prevention to get it checked. 
  2. Check that the fire extinguisher is accessible and visible.
  3. Check that the plastic seal which holds the safety pull pin in place is present and intact.
  4. Check that the yellow needle within the pressure gauge is inside the green perimeter.
Note that fire extinguishers are also inspected by Fire Prevention on an annual basis, as indicated by the hole punches on the tag.
Montly Fire Extinguisher Inspection
Chemical Spill Response brochures are still available!
Chemical Spill kit Brochure
Chemical Spill Response brochures are still available! This brochure mirrors SafetyNet #13 and is meant to be stored with your labs spill kit. If you’re interested in receiving a brochure for your spill kit email

Upcoming Training 

Preparing for Your Laboratory Safety Review

For lab managers, safety delegates, grad students and PIs. This training will help you strengthen your lab safety culture and prepare for your annual lab review. Taught by the Lab Safety Professional Team.

Wednesday, April 13
9 - 11:30 a.m.
Register on the LMS
Online Lab Safety Tools Seminar

This interactive class will teach you how to use the UC Online Lab Safety Tools: Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT), Chemicals, Inspect, WASTe and Profile. 

Wednesday, April 20
9 - 11:30 a.m.
Register on the LMS

Send Us Your Input

Beyond the Bench is always looking for your input!
Do you have a topic that you would like to see covered?

Send any feedback to
We look forward to hearing from you! 
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