Safety rules and regulations
Your school science laboratory is set up so that you can perform science experiments in safety provided that you follow the proper procedures and safety precautions listed below.
Your teacher will give you specific information about the safety routines used in your school.
It is essential for all concerned that certain rules be followed while in the lab. Read the following carefully and ask questions necessary for clarity.
- Goggles will be worn at all times. No exceptions. Failure to wear goggles will result in expulsion from laboratory.
- Full shoes are required. No sandal, flip-flops, etc. are allowed.
- Lab apron is required when wearing shorts, tank tops, etc.
- Keep locker drawers closed when not in use.
- Do not leave flames unattended. Turn burners off when not in use.
- Remember that most chemicals are flammable, toxic, carcinogenic or all three. Treat them accordingly. Do not ingest chemicals.
- Acquaint yourself with the eyewash station, safety shower and fire-fighting equipment. You are responsible for knowing their location and use.
- No smoking, chewing, eating or drinking allowed in the laboratory.
If you are taking a prescription or other drug that will affect your alertness, notify your instructor before going into lab.
- No students are allowed in the stockroom. No lab visitors without permission of the lab instructor.
- Report all accidents or injuries to the instructor immediately!
- If you do not understand a procedure or you cannot read a label, contact the instructor.
Do not gamble with your (and others) safety when there is a question. What you don t know can hurt you. Ditch the foolish notion that asking questions will make you look stupid.
- Do not pipette by mouth
You say, “But it’s only water.” Even if it is, how clean do you think that glassware really is? Using disposable pipettes? I know lots of people who rinse them and put them back! Learn to use the pipette bulb or automated pipetter.
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) should be available for every chemical you use in lab.
Read these and follow the recommendations for safe use and disposal of the material.
- Dress appropriately (for chemistry lab, not fashion or the weather)
No sandals, no clothes you love more than life, no contact lenses, and long pants are preferable to shorts or short skirts.
Tie long hair back. Wear safety goggles and a lab coat.
Even if you aren’t clumsy, someone else in the lab probably is.
If you take even a few chemistry courses you will probably see people set themselves on fire, spill acid on themselves, others, or notes, splash themselves in the eye, etc.
Don’t be the bad example to others, remembered for all time for something stupid!
- Identify the Safety Equipment
And know how to use it! Given that some people (possibly you) will need them, know the locations of the fire blanket, extinguishers, eyewash, and shower.
Ask for demonstrations! If the eyewash hasn’t been used in a while the discoloration of the water is usually sufficient to inspire use of safety glasses.
- Don’t Taste or Sniff Chemicals
For many chemicals, if you can smell them then you are exposing yourself to a dose that can harm you! If the safety information says that a chemical should only be used inside a fume hood, then don’t use it anywhere else. This isn’t cooking class – don’t taste your experiments!
- Don’t casually dispose of chemicals down the drain
Some chemicals can be washed down the drain, while others require a different method of disposal.
If a chemical can go in the sink, be sure to wash it away rather than risk an unexpected reaction between chemical ‘leftovers’ later.
- Don’t eat or drink in lab
It’s tempting, but dangerous… just don’t do it.
- Don’t play mad scientist
Don’t haphazardly mix chemicals! Pay attention to the order in which chemicals are to be added to each other and do not deviate from the instructions.
Even chemicals that mix to produce seemingly safe products should be handled carefully.
For example, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide will give you salt water, but the reaction could break your glassware or splash the reactants onto you if you aren’t careful.
- Take data during lab
Put data directly in your lab book rather than transcribing from another source (e.g., notebook or lab partner).
Not after lab, on the assumption that it will be neater.
There are lots of reasons for this, but the practical one is that it is much harder for the data to get lost in your lab book. For some experiments, it may be helpful to take data before lab.
Crash, bang , wallop! Here is a disaster zone! But a real school chemistry laboratory is one of the safest places in which to work. Good chemists always work carefully and safely.
The rules of the laboratory have been forgotten by these students.
- Look carefully at the disaster zone above.
- Make a list of as many of the dangers as you can
- From this list, make a set of Rules of the Laboratory
- Draw a rough sketch of the laboratory you normally use. Mark on it where the following items are usually kept.
- a) Bunsen burners
- b) Clamps and retort stands
- c) Beakers
- d) Test tube racks
- Very often, safety rules in the laboratory are written negatively and start with don’t do this, Don’t do that, you should NOT ……………………..
Rewrite your Rules of the laboratory positively by starting with Do this, Always, You should.