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Safety in the NanoFab

The NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) is committed to making safety a core value in the NanoFab.  We have established and implemented policies, procedures, training, and infrastructure designed to ensure the safe operation and use of the NanoFab by researchers ranging from nanofabrication novices to experts in the field. Our comprehensive NanoFab safety program includes:

  • a detailed analysis of all hazards associated with every tool and process;
  • multiple systems to mitigate and control all such hazards before any work begins;
  • a multi-tiered safety training program;
  • vigilant monitoring of all NanoFab laboratories and infrastructure, including daily inspections complemented by an extensive closed-circuit video system monitored at all times; and
  • an annual facility safety inspection and assessment performed by an outside expert. 

In addition to the NanoFab-wide safety activities, the safety of each proposed project is individually assessed by technical experts during the initial application review.  Before working in the NanoFab, every user must complete NanoFab safety training and orientation and pass a safety exam, with annual retesting required to maintain access.  A similar safety training and testing program is also required for contractors performing installation or repair work in the NanoFab. 

Detailed guidance on working safely in the NanoFab can be found in the CNST NanoFab Safety Manual. This manual is intended as a reference and describes the rules and procedures required to work safely in the NanoFab.  These rules and procedures apply equally to all users and staff, and the manual must be read and understood before beginning work in the NanoFab.  

It is the responsibility of all users and staff to act in a professional, courteous, and safe manner at all times while working in the NanoFab. Anyone endangering the safety of themselves or others users will have their access privileges revoked.