Safety starts with you

Mission Statement

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is committed to providing a safe working environment for all members of the department. We insist that all faculty, staff, students, and researchers use safe work methods and practices at all times.

The safety and health efforts of this department are an integral part of our daily operations.  In order to ensure the well-being of all those in the department, we will accept no less than full cooperation and participation in our safety practices and procedures. The people of this department are our greatest asset and we are very serious about making sure everyone returns home healthy at the end of every workday.

Our Goal is Drive to Zero

Our goal as a department is a "drive to zero" work-related injuries and illnesses. In order to make this possible, we use periodic laboratory audits and Near Miss/Learning Experience Reports to continually improve our safety program. We also strive to maintain an open line of communication between the members of our department and our MatSE Safety Awareness Organization (MSAO) to address any issues that may arise.

Emergency Contacts

For all Emergencies:
Call 9-1-1

PSU Police Direct:

PSU EHS Direct:

Additionally, after calling all the above you must contact:

  • The Steidle Facilities & Safety Captain Scott Henninger (814)-865-3568
  • Your Supervisor
  • Lab or Area Manager


Supervisors, Faculty, Advisors

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all members under their purview have had the appropriate training, that all members are provided the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and that all operations are carried out with the utmost regard to safety.

University Policy

All members of the department should be aware of and in compliance with all University safety policies. Click here for a complete listing of these policies.

According to MatSE Department Policy, we require that all students, and any staff who may be working in a lab to pass the department safety exam before we can grant access to any of the department labs, which includes the computer lab. You can prepare for the exam by reading the department safety manual. When you are comfortable with the material, please contact for instructions on completing the exam.  

It is the obligation of students and staff to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working and to be proactive in identifying areas of safety concern wherever they exist in the department.

MatSE Safety Awareness Organization (MSAO)

The MatSE Safety Awareness Organization (MSAO) is responsible for the leadership of all safety efforts within the department and provides all resources which are necessary for an effective safety program. Read more about the MSAO committee here.

Created in November of 2008, the Materials Science and Engineering Safety Awareness Organization (MSAO) is charged with the mission to oversee laboratory safety awareness and organization within the department. The organization is a combination of faculty, staff, and students and meets on the first Friday of every month. For more information contact

Current Members

Scott Henninger (Chair)

Elizabeth Kupp (Co-Chair)

John Mauro (Co-Chair)

Projects and Initiatives

Stall Wall: The Stall Wall report is an effort to communicate important safety messaging in an environment of high visibility where it is likely to be read.  The Stall Wall Report is distributed monthly and posted on the interior of stall enlcosures in the public public restrooms of Steidle Building.

Accident Reporting

If you are injured on-site, please follow the protocol outlined here for accident/incident reporting.

Unpaid Students, Visitors, and non-employees

Seek medical attention immediately.  Dial 911 if necessary.  If the injury results in an immediate medical emergency, initial medical assistance may be obtained from the nearest hospital. For non-life threatening injuries, please contact University Health Services (  to obtain medical care and begin the accident reporting process.

Faculty, Staff, Paid Student Workers and Other Employees

Seek medical attention immediately.  Dial 911 if necessary.  If the injury results in an immediate medical emergency, initial medical assistance may be obtained from the nearest hospital. However, follow-up care must be from a Health Care Provider participant.

Report any accident to your supervisor and department safety officer (no matter how minor the injury) so they can fill out an Accident Report immediately after becoming stabilized following an incident. Reference Penn State Policy SY04

Phone reporting is intended as a backup method to web based reporting. If using PSU Reporting call 877-219-7738, location code, is “04”.

  • Report any injury to your supervisor/advisor and department safety officer, no matter how minor the injury.
  • Report the injury to the Department Head.
  • Work with your supervisor and department Safety Officer to accomplish the online report of injury within 48 hours.
  • File all necessary signed paperwork with the Worker’s Compensation Office.
  • Follow up with Safety Officer and supervisor/advisor to investigate the accident.
  • A MatSE Near Miss/Incident Learning Experience Report must be filled out during the investigation by the supervisor/employee, which will then be emailed to the entire department as an educational tool.


Near Miss/Incident Reports act as an educational tool to increase awareness and help create a safe, productive research environment. If you are aware of a near miss or incident, please provide information on the situation so we can all learn from it. These reports do not include any identifying information and are meant to be completely anonymous.

University-wide reports can be viewed on the EHS website.

Submit a Report

Please use the Near Miss / Incident form to alert us to safety incidents or "near misses". These reports are not used to penalize or lay blame, but are used to help us illustrate real-world safety incidents as they arise so that we may all learn from the experience.

Your submission may be submitted anonymously, but we request you enter your email address so that we may follow-up with any questions. Your submission will be reviewed by our safety officers and may be discussed with the MSAO so that we may continue to improve out safety protocol.

  • Unlabeled Beaker in Hood
  • Gas Cylinder Regulator Malfunction
  • Nitric acid burn
  • Spilled DMF
  • persulfate pressurization leading to burst bottle

If the alarm sounds, exit the building immediately from the nearest stairwell. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.  If you need assistance with the stairs, the stairwells are an area of refuge.  Proceed to the nearest stairwell and floor sweepers for will assist you if possible.  If not, they will alert first responders to your location to be rescued.

Once you are outside, proceed to the designated meeting site, (EE West loading dock) and await further instruction.  Role call will be taken to account for everyone in the building.  Do not attempt to reenter the building before given the all clear.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lab Safety Manager (LSM). You can also contact Scott Henninger or Dr. Kupp at