Standards and Procedures

The following standards and procedures have been established to ensure the safe, ethical conduct, and effectiveness of the research enterprise at the University of Illinois. Researchers are expected to follow the guidelines, instructions, and procedures pertinent to their studies. Exceptions to these standard must be scientifically justified an be requested through the authoring unit/office.

Depending on the role you have in Engineering at Illinois, the standards and procedures you need to follow vary. Please familiarize yourself with all relevant requirements.

Researcher and/or Lab Supervisor

Facility Manager

Safety Why Matters

Stories throughout this site are shared for the primary purpose of showing things go wrong in research facilities. It’s important to stay knowledgeable on safety requirements and precautions. If you ever have any questions, please contact us.

“Fluoride is a useful ion in low concentrations. It keeps teeth healthy and strong, which is why it is found in toothpaste and in the drinking water of most American cities. But in high concentrations, fluoride is actually quite dangerous. Hydrofluoric acid is commonly used in geology as a way to extract microscopic fossils from sedimentary rock. The rock dissolves in the acid, leaving the acid-insoluble fossils behind.

A technician in Australia accidentally spilled hydrofluoric acid on himself, burning 9% of his body. The burn, however, was not the immediate concern; instead, it was the massive dose of fluoride his body absorbed.  Fluoride causes hypocalcemia — an abnormally low concentration of blood calcium. It does this possibly by forming fluorapatite, a compound that contains both calcium and fluoride ions. Regardless of mechanism, fluoride depletes the body of calcium, an important electrolyte, which in turn can cause cardiac arrest. To prevent this, calcium gluconate gel is applied to burns induced by hydrofluoric acid in order to mop up the fluoride ions. In the case of the Australian technician, no gel was applied, but he was injected with both calcium and calcium gluconate. Additionally, one of his burned legs was amputated. But, it was all to no avail. He died two weeks after the initial accident from multiple organ failure.” – Taken directly from Real Clear Science

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