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ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry

Help students gain a deeper understanding of laboratory hazards as they enter the organic chemistry lab

a set of org chem lab glassware

Why ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry

ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry is a 2-hour on-demand course that exposes students to a deeper level of understanding of general concepts in chemical safety before they perform experiments in the organic laboratory. Using the RAMP framework and an inquiry-based teaching methodology, the course builds on what students will have learned from their general chemistry courses to prepare them for the increased hazards in the organic chemistry lab.

Pouring a liquid based chemical into a funnel

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize hazards in organic chemistry labs that learners may not have encountered in the general chemistry lab.
  • Explain the additional engineering, administrative, and PPE requirements to minimize the risks of these additional hazards.
  • Describe potential emergencies that may occur in the organic chemistry lab.
  • Determine what to do in a given emergency situation.
Org Chem screenshots

Course Highlights

  • Reinforces the importance of a positive safety culture and responsibility
  • Reintroduces risk assessment using the RAMP framework
  • Introduces students to new hazards to be aware of in the organic chemistry lab
  • Builds on the concepts introduced in Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry
  • Prioritizes lab safety as a core competency for all students
  • Eliminates the additional burden of curriculum development and completion management on faculty and staff

Customer Reviews

I had my sophomore organic students take [ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry] this year and I have seen a world of improvement in their confidence in lab. ... This year’s batch of students seem more empowered to ask questions and own their work in the lab compared to previous classes. They also seem to have a better grasp of how safety concepts work in the “real world” of lab compared to years past. While the ACS Lab Safety modules probably aren’t the only reason for this improvement, I do think that seeing the safety information presented in a professional, obviously-developed-by-a-reputable-third-party manner helped drive home the message that safety isn’t just a personal quirk of their professor’s, but something that matters in all workplaces.”
Nora Dunkel, CHMM Chemical Safety Officer, Webster University
The digital courses allow us [to] better illustrate proper dress code, important MSDS information that is up to date with the current lab standards and show the different safety scenarios that students may encounter in lab.... Our old modules … did not hold student attention…. The ACS lab safety modules are bright and visual, presenting information with a voiceover, testimonials, and interactive segments where the students can make their own choices based on the information presented. It's leaps beyond what we were able to use previously…”
Sarah Oerther, M.S. Senior Lecturer, The University of Texas at San Antonio
The ACS safety courses - both the general chemistry and organic chemistry versions - have allowed us to standardize our safety training for all of our 100 and 200 level chemistry courses. Whether a lab is being taught by a full-time faculty member or by an adjunct who is only on campus once a week, we know that all students are receiving the same training through the ACS courses.”
Patricia Hartman Chemistry Laboratory Manager, DeSales University
At Detroit Mercy, we have many needs in the area of safety - proper training and assessment for our General and Organic lab course students, teaching assistant training, and assessment of degree-level learning outcomes. The three (3) ACS online safety training courses helped us categorize our wet and VOC safety learning outcomes and better evaluate our students progress from year to year.”
Matthew J. Mio, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, University of Detroit Mercy
We implemented the ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry in our... 200-level organic chemistry lab classes.... The seven safety modules are professionally produced, comprehensive, and interactive. Rather than simply offering a set of rules, the modules prompt students to actively adopt a culture of safety in the laboratory using the RAMP... concept. ...This represents a significant improvement in how we communicate our safety expectations.”
Duncan Wardrop Ph.D., Associate Professor Department of Chemistry, The University of Illinois at Chicago

Trusted Subject Matter Experts

Nikita Burrows, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Monmouth University

Nikita Burrows is a Chemical Education Researcher invested in the development of laboratory curricula and assessments used in the undergraduate chemistry sequence. She has published research articles on student experiences in the undergraduate laboratory and has served in the ACS’s Division of Chemical Education (CHED) research committee.
Jennifer Chaytor, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry, Saginaw Valley State University

Jennifer Chaytor is Professor of Chemistry at Saginaw Valley State University where she has been teaching organic chemistry lectures and laboratories for over a decade. Dr. Chaytor has published in several journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Organic Letters, and the Journal of Chemical Education. She is committed to laboratory safety and works to improve the laboratory experience for instructors and students.
Amanda B. Chung, Ph.D.
Chemical Hygiene Officer, University of North Texas

Amanda Chung recently received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. There she taught both in-person and online organic chemistry laboratory courses and has organized and taught upper division safety courses. She was the Safety Fellow for the Chemistry department at the University of California, Irvine and served as the leader for the laboratory safety team there. Currently, she is the Chemical Hygiene Officer at the University of North Texas where she aims to promote a safe and inclusive research and teaching environment.
Whitney R. Hess, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.nano

Whitney Hess is the Assistant Director of Safety Systems and Programs for MIT.nano, MIT's state-of-the-art nanoscience and nanotechnology shared research facility. She holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from MIT and leverages this technical and research background to facilitate the safe conduct of research in MIT.nano laboratories.

Course Outline

This module reviews key concepts in safety culture and the RAMP framework.

  • Building a Safety Mindset: Our Responsibility in the Lab
  • Recall Past Safety Measures in General Chemistry
  • Voicing Safety Concerns in Lab
  • Safety Affects Us All
  • Review of RAMP and Its Importance to Safety
  • Recognizing Common Hazards in the Lab
  • Conclusion

This module provides a closer look at Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and what can be learned from them in terms of hazard recognition, minimization of risk, and preparation for emergencies.

  • Overview of the SDS
  • SDS Highlights
  • Locating Information in an Online SDS
  • Distinguishing the GHS Pictograms
  • Classifying New Chemical Hazards
  • Thermal Runaway: 1
  • Thermal Runaway: 2
  • Organic Solvents and Flammables in the Lab
  • Silica and Alumina Dust: Minimizing the Risks
  • Conclusion

An introduction to hazards in the organic chemistry lab.

  • Selecting the Appropriate Size of Glassware
  • Carrying Glassware in the Lab
  • Ground Glass Joints
  • Common Mistakes with Assembling Glassware
  • Different Types of Heat Sources
  • Temperature Can Be Deceptive: 1
  • Temperature Can Be Deceptive: 2
  • Proper Handling of Hot Items
  • Cords in the Lab
  • Types of Equipment in the Lab
  • Summary of Safety Considerations
  • Conclusion

This module provides a detailed description of how to assess and minimize risks commonly found in the organic chemistry lab.

  • Introduction to Assessing and Minimizing Risks
  • Hierarchy of Controls
  • Importance of Good Housekeeping
  • Chemical Hoods
  • Lab Attire
  • Eye Protection
  • Gloves
  • Putting on and Taking Off Gloves
  • Waste Disposal
  • Where to Put Waste
  • Waste Disposal: Points to Remember
  • Conclusion

A discussion of handling emergencies that are more commonly found in organic chemistry labs.

  • Respond to an Emergency
  • Introduction to Preparing for Emergencies
  • Situational Awareness
  • Responding to Various Emergencies: Spills and Splashes
  • Responding to Various Emergencies: Fires
  • Responding to Various Emergencies: Glass and Cuts
  • What Safety Equipment Should Be Used?
  • Conclusion

A holistic situation-based practice assessment.

This is a 10-question quiz. After completing this quiz with a score of 80% or higher, the learner is then allowed to click through to claim their certificate of completion.

Get access

ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for Organic Chemistry is available to academic, corporate, and government institutions. This course can be easily integrated into your existing learning management system (LMS). Request your free 30-day access to evaluate the course.

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System Requrements

In order to use this course in the academic environment, it must be integrated into a learning management system (LMS). Our digital learning solutions are compatible with most commonly used systems such as those specified here. If you don’t see your LMS or the file format that your LMS requires, let your ACS representative know and we will work with you to test your learning environment.

ACS Institute courses are provided in standard eLearning package formats for import into customer Learning Management Systems. The following package format options are available:

• SCORM 1.2
• SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
• LTI 1.1
• LTI 1.3v

The following combinations have been tested and verified:

• Moodle / SCORM 1.2
• Canvas / LTI 1.1
• Canvas / LTI 1.3
• Blackboard / SCORM 1.2
• Docebo / SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 3rd Edition, LTI 1.1