Health and Safety Procedures

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Safety, Chemical Hygiene, and Environmental Compliance

Department safety, chemical hygiene and environmental compliance programs are coordinated by the safety manager. These programs include chemical inventory and surplus management, periodic inspections of all laboratories, shops and other facilities; mandatory safety orientations for new members of the department and continuing training programs.

A library of laboratory health and safety references can be found in 121 Baker Laboratory.

A faculty safety committee serves the department chair in an advisory capacity and proposes policies for faculty review. Each principal investigator is responsible for safety within the research group and appoints a group safety representative (GSR). The GSR acts as a liaison to the safety manager and committee, and assists the PI in implementing safe practices.

Procedures and policies specific to the department can be found on the Chemistry Department Safety Blog.


Individuals working in a laboratory within the Physical Sciences Complex are required to complete Fire Safety training, Laboratory Safety and Chemical Waste Disposal training prior to beginning research. Additional training such as Laser Safety, Compressed Gas Safety, Radiation Safety and Bloodborne Pathogens Safety may be required based on anticipated use.

Individuals who will not be working in laboratories but may be exposed to chemicals in non-laboratory environments are required to complete Fire Safety training and Hazard Communication.

Those working in office areas must complete Cornell University Health and Safety Basics and Fire Safety training.

Explore available training opportunities through CU LEARN.

Waste Chemicals

Federal, state and university regulations require that all waste chemicals generated in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology be disposed of properly. The primary responsibility for waste disposal lies with the generator of the waste. Chemicals that may be disposed of in the trash or down the drain are listed in the waste disposal section of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Properly packaged, identified and labeled waste chemicals not eligible for drain or trash disposal will be picked up by Cornell Environmental Health and Safety. Research groups generating significant quantities of waste are on a weekly pickup schedule; others should complete this form to request a pickup. Information concerning waste disposal is available from EH&S, 607-255-8200.

Contact Information


Dial 911 from a department phone or use a direct dial emergency phone.
Dial 255-1111 from a cell phone.

Primary Contact:

Keane Leitch, Safety Manager
(607) 255-8773
121 Baker Laboratory

Vonnie Ellis, Vertere Chemical Inventory
(607) 255-4132
120 Baker Laboratory

Other Department Contacts:

David Neish, Facility Manager
Flooding, Facilities Emergencies:
7:30 - 4:00 M-F: (607) 255-7309

All other times: (607) 255-5322
Facilities Customer Service/EMCS

Other University Contacts:

  • General Safety and Fire Prevention
  • Hazardous Waste Disposal
  • Radiation Safety
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Biological Safety

University Policies & Manuals

Accident/Incident Reports:

MSDS Information: