Teaching Laboratories

Undergraduate chemistry courses are faced with the inherent hazard involved when large numbers of inexperienced people begin handling hazardous materials. Often, the student’s immediate supervisor is a graduate student teaching assistant (TA). The level of teaching ability, experience, and communication skill between TAs varies widely. Therefore, it is very important to provide a quiet facility with clear sight lines, more than sufficient room to move about, and chemical storage devices that are securable, safe, obvious, and well-labeled.



Adequate laboratory fume hoods shall be provided. A facility designed for intensive chemistry use (organic chemistry teaching) should have at least 2.5 linear feet of hood space per student. Less intensive applications should have hood space adequate for the anticipated number of students.


See the 'Laboratory Ventilation and Fume Hoods' section of this document for hood specifications.


UC Practice

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Section 8.C.4


Noise levels at laboratory benches shall not exceed 55 dBA to help provide the ability to see and hear the instructor from each student’s workstation.


Students shall be able to follow the safety, health, and emergency information during the laboratory class period. It is very important to minimize the background noise, principally from air handling.


UC Practice

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory


Combined eye wash/safety shower units shall be placed so they are visible and easily accessible to all of the students in the lab. Clearly mark or indicate, with a different floor design, the area beneath the shower and in front of the eye wash that is to be kept clear and unobstructed.


Students and janitors should not block showers or eyewashes with the placement of objects.


See the 'Emergency Equipment' section of this document for eyewash/safety shower issues.


UC Practice


A minimum of 50 square feet of gross square footage shall be provided for each student enrolled in a laboratory class.


Aisles should be 6 feet to provide ease of movement in the classroom laboratory.