Rules of Laboratory Safety

Science classes have always been a mixture of learning through lectures and learning through hands-on work in the laboratories. Science in the real world is also a mixture of research and experimenting.

The first topic that students learn in a science class is Safety in the Lab. Not only is the topic included in the regents curriculum, it is important to ensure that children and teenagers know how to handle themselves in the laboratory. There are several rules that one must abide by when one enters the laboratory (note that rules are not listed in priority oder).

1. One must never eat any food in the laboratory for risk of the food becoming contaminated.

2. Wait for the teachers directions before beginning anything. Do no touch anything unless you are instructed to do so.

3. One must dress in a appropriate fashion. Safety goggles are required at all times. Long hair should be tied back and one should avoid loose and baggy clothing. Open-toed shoes should not be worn.

4. Never smell or taste a chemical. Make sure you read the labels of chemicals carefully. Dispose of chemicals only as the teacher instructs you. Never return unused chemicals to their original containers.

5. When heating a test tube, always point it away from yourself and others.

6. Alert your teacher to any cracked or damaged materials. Also alert your teacher immediately of a chemical spill. In the case of a water spill, mop up the spill immediately to avoid injury. If glass should break, alert the teacher and if you have permission, use a brush and a dustpan to sweep up the broken glass.

7. In case of a minor burn, run cold water over skin for several minutes. If a person is on fire, roll the person in a fire blanket or “stop, drop, and roll.”

8. Know where safety equipment is and know how to use it. Examples of safety equipment are the eyewash station (used to rinse eyes if chemicals get in them) , a fire blanket (used to wrap a person who is on fire or used to put out small fires), a fire extinguisher (used to put out chemical, electrical, gas and grease fires) or a shower (used if chemicals spill on skin or go through clothing). If your work station is on fire, do NOT try to put it out. Doing so can result in making the fire bigger. Tell the teacher and get far away.

These are only the basic rules of laboratory safety. One must always follow these rules to avoid injury of themselves or of others. Remember these rules and be safe!