MercerXLab Safety Rules and Operation Policies

NOTE: Person(s) violating safety rules or operational policies are subject to appropriate disciplinary action and/or immediate dismissal from the area by laboratory monitors, faculty, and staff.


  1. Report all emergencies to your laboratory monitor or RPI staff member. If an injury needs prompt
    medical attention, call:
    Public Safety at campus phone extension 6611 or by cell phone at 518-276-6611
    For non-emergencies dial 518-276-6656.
  2. Do not attempt to move an injured person unless there is an imminent danger to life.
  3. First-aid kits are available in the laboratory for minor injuries
  4. Do not attempt to clean up any bodily fluids under any circumstances.
  5. Report it to your lab. monitor, staff member, or faculty immediately.
  6. In case of fire or hazardous chemical spill evacuate the premises immediately.

General Operational Policies

  1. Faculty, staff, and laboratory monitors are responsible for interpreting and administering safety rules and
    operational policies.
  2. Faculty, staff, and laboratory monitors have the right to dismiss a student from a laboratory
    area if safety rules are violated.
  3. Only current RPI faculty, staff, and students who have been properly trained and authorized are allowed to directly operate the Reflow Oven, Environmental chamber, Signal Analyzer.
  4. Use the buddy system and watch out for other people. If you are aware of an unsafe situation, report it to your laboratory monitor or staff member immediately.
  5. Do not tamper with projects, experiments, machine set-ups, or prototypes that are not under your jurisdiction.
  6. Use of tobacco products, alcohol, and illegal substances is prohibited in the laboratory.
  7. Everyone is responsible for housekeeping and cleaning up after themselves. Project work is to
    be done in the designated workbench areas only and properly stored for safe keeping after use.
    Doorways are to be kept clear for purposes of safe passage.
  8. Yelling, running or other disruptive behavior is not allowed.
  9. Report any cases of vandalism or theft to a faculty, staff member or laboratory monitor immediately.
  10. Students should not perform any type of maintenance on equipment in the laboratory areas.
  11. Food and drinks are not allowed in the laboratory.
  12. Rensselaer is not responsible for personal property (e.g. computers, multi-media devices, tools) in the laboratory.
  13. This is a lead free environment. Do not bring into the laboratory any lead-based soldering materials.
  14.  Please be aware of chemical, handling flux, solder and cleaners on the circuit boards etc. Please wash your hands!

General Safety

  1. Safety glasses with side shields are mandatory when using the reflow oven, soldering, and the environmental
    chamber. Persons not wearing safety glasses will be asked to leave.
  2. Students should purchase their own safety glasses with side shields. You can purchase glasses at the campus
    bookstore or any local hardware store. Safety glasses are available in the laboratory for temporary use. Once
    work is complete, please place used safety glasses in the appropriate container.
  3. Wear appropriate clothing for the task you are working on (example: long pants or proper personal protective
    gear, such as gloves, etc. NO OPEN SHOES). Ask the lab. monitor, or staff member if you are not sure if you
    are dressed correctly for the task at hand.
  4. Chassis fabrications should ONLY be done in the student machine laboratory. It is not permitted in the Mercer
    Lab (Chassis, box, or container that requires: shaping, whole drilling or any fabrications creating metal scraps).
  5. Report all spilled fluids immediately (this is an extreme slip hazard if not attended to).
  6. Powered/operating projects may not be left unattended. If long-term testing is required, it must be arranged on a
    case-by-case basis with permission of the Lab Monitor and/or Mercer lab committee, you may contact: Dr. Shayla Sawyer, Dr. Kyle Wilt, or Mercer X Staff via email:


  1. Working with live voltage or voltages greater than 24V must be done under the direct supervision of the lab monitor or staff member (this includes low voltages with high currents).
  2. Do not work on electronic circuits when the power is on, unless it is absolutely necessary and under the supervision of the lab. monitor or supervisor. Low power & low current analog and digital circuitry
  3. 12V or less is the ONLY exceptions to this rule, provided the power supply or battery is fused at 1 amp or less.
  4. Use the one handed rule (only one hand touching circuit at any given time) when working on active circuits with
    voltages greater than 5V. Electric currents of less than 100 milliamps can cause death.
  5. Electrolytic caps and other large capacitors can hold voltages for several hours. Be sure they are discharged by a
    lab monitor or staff member, with an insulated clip lead before working on the circuit.
  6. Certain components such as power resistors and semi-conductors get very hot. Give them a chance to cool before touching them.
  7. When soldering, wear safety glasses and DO NOT flick the soldering iron to remove excess solder.
    "You could burn your colleague(s)".
  8. Any batteries not of the standard consumer type (e.g. AA, AAA, C, D, 9v, 6v lantern battery, etc.)
    must be approved by a staff member or lab. monitor.
  9. Lithium-based batteries (labeled “Lithium,” “Li-po,” “Li-Ion,” “Lithium-Polymer,” “MnO2-Li,” etc.)
    may not be used without approval of the laboratory supervisor. Button cell, such as watch batteries are allowed.
  10. Batteries and power supplies must be fused appropriately.
  11. Batteries must not be left unattended while charging. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CHARGE NON-RECHARGABLE BATTERIES!
  12. All extension cords should be visually inspected for damages prior to use. Any cords suspected of having a defect should be turned in to a faculty or staff member. Unplug all extension cords after use.
  13. Do not manipulate a 3 prong electrical cord to fit a two prong extension cord.
  14. Do not block electrical panels! All panels must have a clearance within 36”.


  1. All projects with a chemical component need preliminary approval from faculty and or laboratory staff prior to acquiring chemicals for a project.
  2. Do not drain or dispose any chemical without first consulting the lab monitor or staff person.
  3. All chemical containers must be labeled as to their contents. Do not use abbreviations or formulas as labels. Chemical contents must be spelled out legibly in English.
  4. Chemical rags or rags with any type of solvent are to be disposed of in proper containers. Do not dispose of these items in regular trash containers.
  5. Hazardous or regulated materials such as batteries, computer components, and chemical reagents must be disposed of in accordance with Rensselaer’s Hazardous Materials Disposal Program. View online version of the Hazardous Materials Disposal Program.
  6. Bio-reactors, live cultures, decomposing organics, or other potential gas sources must be properly vented or stored temporarily in a fume hood. Gas exposure, pressure buildup, flammability, and explosion risk must always be carefully considered and addressed with such projects.
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