9.2 Emergency Supplies First Aid

Seeking Medical Attention

Emergency Care:

In the event of any injury or illness where medical assistance is needed, and for all life threatening emergencies, immediately call 911.

Blood and Body Fluid Exposures/Infectious Agents Exposures

If you are exposed to an infectious agent by a needlestick or non-human primate bite it is necessary to seek medical counsel immediately. For some high risk exposures, the CDC recommends prophylactic drug treatment be initiated within 1 to 2 hours of the exposure. Directions for obtaining medical counsel are maintained by the Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM) - Occupational Health.

Non-emergency care:

Employees may go to HealthPartners Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Monday through Friday day time or Urgent Care after hours), or UMMC-Fairview Hospital (24 hours). You may also seek medical attention at the closest available medical facility or your own healthcare provider. Follow-up must be done by HealthPartners Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

Students are encouraged to go to Boynton Health Service during business hours or their personal care providers.

1. Burns

  • For severe burns call 911 immediately and do not attempt to remove charred clothing
  • For minor burns, soak in cold water until the pain stops
  • Do not break any blisters
  • Wrap the burned area to protect from infection
  • Seek medical attention if necessary

2. Cryogenic Burns/Frostbite

  • Remove any clothing that is not frozen to the skin
  • Do not rub the affected tissues
  • Re-warm the affected area as quickly as possible by immersing it in warm, but not hot, water (not above 40°C)
  • Do not apply heat lamps
  • Do not break any blisters
  • Seek medical attention
  • See the Cryogens Guidance Document for further information.

3. Cuts

  • Wear gloves when treating someone with a puncture wound or cut
  • Cleanse the wound with soap and water, then pat with clean towel to dry
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and bandage to prevent contamination
  • Seek medical attention if necessary


General Chemical Exposure Procedures

  • Immediately flush affected areas with water for no less than 15 minutes. For larger splashes the safety shower should be used.
  • While rinsing, quickly remove all contaminated clothing or jewelry.
  • Use caution when removing pullover shirts or sweaters to prevent contamination of the eyes.
  • Check the Safety Data Sheet to determine if any delayed effects should be expected.
  • Discard contaminated clothing or launder them separately from other clothing. Leather garments or accessories cannot be decontaminated and should be discarded.
  • Immediately flush the eyes at an emergency eyewash station for at least 15 minutes
  • Remove contact lenses, if you are wearing them
  • Seek medical attention

Chemicals in Eyes

Most standard sources recommend that water rinsing/flushing following skin or eye contact with a chemical should continue for 15 or 20 minutes. However, all chemicals do not cause the same degree of effects (some are non-irritants while others can cause severe corrosive injury) so there is insufficient scientific evidence available to completely address the question of how long flushing should occur. Tailor the duration of flushing to the known effects of the chemical or product, as follows:

  • Remove contact lenses, if you are wearing them
  • 5 minutes for non-irritants or mild irritants
  • 15-20 minutes for moderate to severe irritants and chemicals that cause acute toxicity if absorbed through the skin
  • 30 minutes for most corrosives
  • 60 minutes for strong alkalis (e.g. sodium, potassium or calcium hydroxide).
  • Seek medical attention

It is very important that water flushing start immediately following skin or eye contact with a chemical. It is better if complete water flushing occurs on-site. However, moving the victim to an emergency care facility earlier may be necessary depending on the victim's condition (e.g. compromised airways, breathing or circulation) and/or the availability of a suitable water supply. If it is necessary to transport the victim before completing flushing on-site, flushing should continue during emergency transport, taking proper precautions to protect emergency services personnel.

Note that the manufacturer/supplier may also specify a cleansing agent (e.g. non-abrasive soap) if appropriate, or may recommend an alternative agent in exceptional cases if water is clearly inappropriate.

Hydrofluoric Acid – Calcium Gluconate Gel

Laboratory personnel should be trained in first-aid procedures for HF exposure before beginning work. Calcium gluconate gel (2.5% w/w) must be readily accessible in work areas where any potential HF exposure exists. Calcium gluconate can be acquired through chemical vendors and certain pharmacies.

  • Rinse with water for 5 minutes
  • Apply 2.5% (w/w) calcium gluconate gel onto the affected area.  If no gel is available, rinse for 15 minutes
  • Seek immediate medical attention 
  • NOTE: Check the expiration date of your supply of commercially obtained calcium gluconate gel and reorder as needed to ensure a supply of fresh stock
  • For further information, review the Hydrofluoric Acid Fact Sheet.

Phenols (>10%) – Polyethylene glycol (PEG 300)

Laboratory personnel should be trained in first-aid procedures for Phenol exposure before beginning work.  PEG 300 must be readily accessible in work areas where any potential Phenol exposure exists.

  • Quickly remove contaminated clothing
  • For small affected areas:
    ○     Swab polyethylene glycol 300 or 400 (PEG 300 or PEG 400) onto the affected area immediately and repeatedly until there is no detectable phenol odor.
    ○     Seek medical attention. 
    ○     If PEG 300 or PEG 400 is not available, flush area with copious amounts of water (such as from a drench hose or safety shower) for at least 15 minutes, then seek medical attention.
  • For large affected areas:  Flush area with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes, then seek medical attention
  • NOTE: Using a high-density water source for irrigation such as a drench hose or safety shower will reduce phenol uptake, but if lesser amounts of water are used it will merely dilute the phenol and increase the area of exposure

Animal Bites/Exposures

  • Control any bleeding, then thoroughly wash the area with soap and water
  • Seek medical treatment if necessary
  • For dog and cat bites, notify RAR (612-624-9100) so the animal can be quarantined for rabies surveillance.
  • For nonhuman primate bites scratches or exposure of mucous membranes to primate body fluids, ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.  Follow instructions in bite kits located in housing area to prevent infection with Cercopithecine Herpes Virus I (Herpes B Virus).

Exposures to Infectious Agents 

For all injuries or possible exposure to infectious materials (e.g., face or eye splash, cut or puncture with sharps, contact with skin, animal bites or scratches)

  • Encourage needle sticks and cuts to bleed, gently wash with soap and water for 5 minutes; flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin, with water; and flush eyes at the nearest eyewash station with clean water for 15 minutes.
  • If emergency medical assistance is required, call 911

First Aid Kits

First aid kits are not required but are recommended in the laboratory. UMarket stocks a variety of first aid kits for purchase, or you can create your own first aid kit and tailor it to the types of injuries anticipated in your work area.

The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI  Z308.1-2009) recommended basic contents of a first aid kit are listed below. Lab staff should also evaluate their own laboratory to determine what, if any, additional supplies are needed based on the specific hazards present in their workplaces.

Minimum Required Contents (10 person kit):

  • 1 - absorbent compress (32 sq. in.)
  • 16 - adhesive bandages (1 X 3 in.)
  • 1 - adhesive tape (3/8 in. X 5 yd.)
  • 10 - individual-use antiseptic applications (0.5 g or 0.14 fl. oz. each)
  • 6 - individual-use burn treatment applications (0.9 g or 1/32 oz. each)
  • 2 pairs medical exam gloves
  • 4 - sterile pads (3 X 3 in.)
  • 1 - triangular bandage (40 X 40 X 56 in.)

Oral medications such as analgesics (pain reliever/fever reducer), cold remedies, antihistamines and others should not be included in first aid kits that are kept inside laboratories.


CPR training is generally not required for bench research, but may be for some field research.  Contact your department leadership to determine if they cover the cost of CPR training.

CPR training training resources: