RAMP: Recognize, Assess, Minimize, Prepare

RAMP is a concept for scientific safety, developed by Robert H. Hill and David C. Finster in their textbook Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students. The authors present RAMP as a mnemonic, enabling practitioners, educators, and students to remember four key principles of safety, and the main learning objectives of each principle. Since early 2017 these principles have been highlighted on the safety website of the American Chemical Society, and are reproduced below. All St. Olaf laboratory workers, including students taking laboratory courses, should strive to follow these four key safety principles and the associated learning objectives.

RECOGNIZE the Hazards
ASSESS the Risks of Hazards
  • Know that “Risk” is the probability of suffering injury or harm from exposure to a “Hazard.”
  • Assess the risks of specific hazards (conduct Hazard Assessments).
  • Determine the relative severity of a specific hazard, and give an estimate of the likelihood of exposure under certain circumstances.
MINIMIZE the Risks of Hazards
  • Identify ways in which the risk can be lowered.
  • Be familiar with Control Measures, including:
    • Engineering controls (equipment such as hoods, ventilation systems, and safety interlocks)
    • Administrative controls (procedures, processes, and training)
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Know common methods to minimize hazards and the limitations of those protective measures.
  • Be aware that all laboratory research has risks and that careful planning and preparation are required to mitigate them.
PREPARE for Emergencies
  • Prepare for emergencies by being able to explain how to respond to common emergencies that could occur in laboratories, such as fires, explosions, chemical exposures, injuries, and chemical spills.
  • Explain the selection and proper use of emergency equipment (e.g., fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, safety showers, spill kits, first aid kits, fire alarms, and fire blankets).
  • Know the importance of reporting laboratory incidents and the lessons that can be learned from the incidents.
  • Understand the value of training, knowing the locations of all emergency equipment, and considering what one would do in the event of emergency.