Laboratory Policies for Students

Laboratory Policies for Students

The information presented herein is intended for all students working within the equipment-related laboratories of the School of Engineering; this includes both the Burke and the AMIC buildings. The policies outline the laboratory access and safety practices to be followed to ensure the health and safety of all students. Separate policies apply to Mechanical labs, Electrical labs and Computer labs.


The School's engineering equipment-related laboratory policies are written to make you aware of your surroundings so that you will be less likely to be injured as you work. Remember that you are responsible for:

  • Your own health and safety.
  • The health and safety of those around you.
  • The security and the safe use of equipment and facilities that you have been authorized to use.
  • Understanding and complying with all laboratory policies.

General Laboratory Policies

In order to manage risks, it is necessary to limit access to equipment, laboratories, workshops, and certain storage facilities. The following general policies apply to ALL equipment-related laboratories within the School of Engineering (Burke and AMIC). Each lab has been identified as to its risk potential; High, Medium, and Low. Separate rules apply based on the lab’s use and equipment located within.


  • You should locate posted information regarding emergency contact information and identify the location of fire extinguishers and eye washes (if appropriate) within the laboratory.
  • You should review and understand all additional posted access, safety warnings, and safety policies for the laboratory.
  • All injuries that occur in the laboratory must be reported immediately to Police and Safety Services (x6101) and the School of Engineering administrative office (x6153).
  • Should an ambulance be needed, please call 911 immediately followed by Police and Safety Services (x6101).
  • You should not attempt to operate equipment or apparatus unless you are specifically authorized to use that equipment, and you have been advised of any hazards you may encounter.
  • Do not attempt to modify or repair any equipment or apparatus.
  • Keep the work area clean and tidy. When you have finished for the day, make sure all tools, equipment, and supplies are returned to their proper storage (including electronic components back to drawers), and the equipment is shut down.
  • If you create a hazard, you must control it. It is important to notify and involve a faculty member or technician where the hazard is located.
  • Consumption of food and drink is prohibited in those laboratories where such restrictions are posted.
  • Suitable clothing and footwear as determined by the faculty must be worn in all laboratories.
  • Safety eyewear must be worn in those laboratories where the requirement is posted regardless of whether you are a visitor or you are working on the machinery. Eye protection includes protective goggles or safety glasses with side shields.
  • DO NOT USE EQUIPMENT THAT IS BROKEN, DANGEROUS, OR MALFUNCTIONING. Report all such items to the School of Engineering technician.
  • Faculty will not allow access if you do not have suitable clothing, eyewear, and footwear. As this may affect the completion of your assignments for that laboratory, it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet any requirements.
  • You are not permitted to bring materials and/or chemicals into the lab or transfer from another lab without approval from the lab coordinator.

Student Access to High Risk and Medium Risk labs

  • Student access to these labs is strictly limited and requires a faculty member to be present during instructional lectures, demonstrations, or lab activities. Students wanting access for research can find the information for assessment on the School of Engineering website. 
  • If you are granted access to the laboratory for a particular project, you are permitted to work on only that project and not on an unauthorized project.
  • A maximum of six authorized students may be in the laboratory without a faculty member.
  • There must always be a minimum of two students in the lab. Any violation of this will result in suspension of the access for all students involved.
  • You are not to "teach" unapproved students how to use equipment.
  • Materials in the lab are for class use. All material for projects must be purchased using the project's budget, identified to the project, and separately stored on a space available basis. Do not "borrow" class materials for a special project or project materials for a class. Plan ahead. The cost of unauthorized use of materials will be directly charged to you.
  • It is your responsibility to clean up your workspace immediately and put away all tools before leaving the lab. All tools must be cleaned before they are put away.
  • Normally, all lights and fans are to be turned off when leaving the lab and all doors checked as locked.
  • There are two levels of access that a student can obtain; lab access or card access. Lab access is granted for each semester beginning with the fall semester. A student that was granted lab access or card access during the previous semester can request an extension provided no additional labs or additional equipment is required. All access permissions must be re-evaluated at the start of each fall term.
  • Lab access only permission
    • Lab access only allows the student access to a lab but they cannot use the card reader located on the lab door. These students can gain entry either by a faculty member, staff member, or a student that has card access and opens the door for them.
    • The individual that allowed the lab access only student entrance must remain with the student during the duration of the visit. 
    • At no time is a lab access only student (non-card access) allowed to open the lab door for any other student regardless of access level.
  • Card access permission
    • Those student granted with card access can enter the lab provided that there is at least one other approved student (lab access or card access) present at all times.
    • Card access students can allow approved lab access students entry provided they stay with the student at all time. At no time should any student within the lab allow any non-approved student entry.

High Risk Labs

  • Burke 125: Technician’s lab
    • You are not permitted to enter the technician's office area, machine shop, or storeroom unless you are in the presence of a faculty or technician or have been specifically authorized. In either case, you should seek advice about any hazards you may encounter.
  • Burke 123 (Mfg lab) and Burke 124 (Research lab)
    • High risk labs are those that have equipment with unguarded cutting tools such as mills and lathes.
    • Appropriate attire will be long pants (jeans), short sleeve shirt, non-nylon shoes, no open toed footwear, no baggy or loose clothing. Hair must be above shoulders; use a ball cap if necessary.
    • Access times are Mon.-Fri. 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Sat./Sun. 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Medium Risk Labs

  • Burke 112 Fluids and Thermal Lab
  • Burke 113 Wind Tunnel Lab
  • Burke 117 High Mileage Lab
    • This lab has a High Risk Mill; This lab is only designated as a Medium Risk since the Mill is locked out and can only be operated in the direct presence of a faculty/staff member.
  • Burke 118 Material Lab
    • Burke 116 Heat Treat Lab
    • Burke 118A Materials Testing Lab
    • Burke 118B Materials Hardness Testing Lab
  • Burke 119 Rapid Prototyping Lab
  • Burke 121 Material Characterization Lab
  • Burke 122 Metrology Lab
  • AMIC 117 Material Characterization Lab
  • AMIC 119 Material Preparation Lab
  • AMIC 120 Materials Lab
    • Medium risk labs are those that do not have equipment with unguarded cutting tools but do have powered equipment that can cause injury if operated incorrectly or unsafely.
    • Appropriate attire can be shorts or long pants, long sleeve or short sleeve shirt, not open toed footwear and no baggy/loose clothing.
    • Some labs have heat treat ovens (Burke 116 and AMIC 120); these units cannot be operated by a student if the temperature is to be above 500⁰F. A faculty/staff member must operate the unit if the temperature is above this limit. Long pants and long sleeve shirt are required to operate any heat treat ovens.
    • Access times are Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Sat./Sun. 8:00 a.m.-6:00.p.m.

Violations and Enforcement

  • Engineering faculty, staff, and technicians will strictly enforce laboratory policies and safe use practices.
  • Anyone found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is impaired in such a way as to compromise safety will immediately be asked to leave. Offenders will have their lab privileges revoked for the semester.
  • Any violation of machinery laboratory policies or witness of an unsafe act will result in the loss of authorized laboratory access. Depending on the severity of the violation, you may lose your lab access privileges from a minimum of five days to a full semester. Because this may limit your ability to complete laboratory assignments, a reduction in course grade or failure of the course may result.