The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Power outages in Labs

Article published 08/29/18

In the event of an electrical (power) outage, all lab work with hazardous materials must come to a halt; laboratory personnel should secure experiments and stop activities. Volatile and hazardous materials should be returned to areas where they are normally stored, if safe to do so; otherwise, close all containers and exit the lab. Do not resume work until power is restored.


If the outage affects just your lab (rather than the entire building) then you should contact Facility Management (335-5071) to inform them of the power outage. You may have tripped a breaker. DO NOT reset any electrical breakers unless approved by FM.


See section 9.12 of the Chemical Hygiene Plan EHS CHP for further details.


General Guidance

  • If available, increase natural lighting by opening window shades or other similar actions.
  • Shut off electrical appliances and computers before the power comes back on.
  • Secure personal belongings.
  • Use special care while moving about in an under-lighted work area to avoid injury, for example slips, trips, collisions or falls.
  • Keep an alternate source of light in your immediate work area to facilitate safe exit. Do not use open flame devices for supplementary lighting.