Lab Safety || Accidents || Safety Equipment || Lab Preparation || Safety Links
"I didn't mean to" and "It wasn't my fault" are two statements that have no place in the lab. If someone is hurt or equipment is broken, these statements cannot undo the harm.
Horse-play will not be tolerated. If it occurs, those involved will be disqualified from the lab and given a zero for the assignment.
Lack of pre-lab preparation is the main threat to safety in our lab. If you and your group are unprepared, you will be unsure of yourself, waist time, and have a good chance of making a mistake that leads to a problem.
At the beginning of each lab period, you will be given a chance to ask questions. If you are unsure of some procedure, now is the time to ask. Always pay close attention to any verbal instructions given at this time.
Glasses must be worn in the lab area.
- Safety glasses are stored in the safety glass cabinet
- Other protective clothing, such as gloves and aprons
are at your option, unless otherwise noted.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Training
lenses should NOT be worn in the lab.
- It is almost impossible to remove contacts after chemicals
have been splashed into the eyes.
- Chemicals trapped under contacts will damage the eye
even more than normal.
- The plastic used for some types of contact lenses is
permeable to vapors found in the laboratory. If these
vapors are trapped behind the lens, extensive irritation
hair and bulky clothing are dangerous in the lab.
- There is a danger of catching fire, as well as being
drawn through chemicals.
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Tie back long hair.
watches, and jewelry are dangerous in the lab.
- Corrosive or irritating liquids may get underneath a
ring or watch and produce irritation.
- Dangling jewelry may catch on a piece of labware and
cause an accident.
What's wrong with this picture?
Accidents Can Happen:
Broken Glass | Cuts and Scrapes | Chemical Spills | Fires
Remain calm! A minor problem quickly becomes a major one if you don't.
- Report all accidents immediately, no matter how small.
- Types of accidents and how to handle them:
- Broken Glass:
The most common accident in the lab, even with the best of care.
- If you are using the equipment properly, you will
not get into trouble for breaking a piece of glassware.
- If you are not using the equipment properly, or
if horse-play is involved, you will be required to
pay for the broken glassware.
- If glassware is broken, stop where you are.
Report the breakage to your facilitator.
- If anyone is cut, report it immediately.
- More minor cuts occur after this type of
accident than during it.
- Chemical spills are often involved with glass breakage.
When that occurs, follow those safety precautions
- Cuts and Scrapes:
Do not come into contact with another person's blood.
- Report the situation to your facilitator and let him help the injured person.
- There is always a possibility of infection, even with the most minor injury. For this reason you should report any cut or scrape, even if there is no visible blood.
- If there is blood at any lab station, move
to your seat in the classroom area until told it is
safe to return to the lab.
- Bloodborne Pathogen Training
- Chemical Spills:
You are to treat all chemical spills as DANGEROUS.
- Stop where you are and let your facilitator advise
you about what to do.
- Chemical Safety Warning Signs
- NFPA, ANSI, OSHA
- Did any of the spill get on your skin or clothing?
Sometimes adding water is the worst thing you can
- Depending on the chemical spilled, we might just
have a mess to clean up or we might have a very dangerous
- The most potentially dangerous chemicals used in
our lab are corrosive acids and bases. Even though
you will normally be using chemicals that have been
diluted, you should always treat acids and bases with
- Glass breakage often occurs along with chemical
spills. If that happens, follow those safety precautions
When you are not heating something - turn the burner off.
- Lab burners are the source of most problems:
- Bunsen burners have very few malfunctions. If a malfunction occurs, turn off the gas and notify your facilitator- end of problem.
- The flame from alcohol burners is hard to see. Pay close attention when using them.
- Be aware when a burner is in use at your lab station. Be extremely careful during that time.
- Paper is the most common type of fire in the lab.
- This type of fire is cause by carelessness and easily prevented. Take only one lab sheet to your station to follow your written procedures and record data. Leave all reference materials at your desk. If you need to refer to reference material, leave the lab area to do so.
- If a paper fire occurs, push the paper into the lab sink and turn on the water - end of problem.
- Clothing or Hair is the most dangerous type of fire in the lab.
- Don't panic!
- If you are the one involved in a fire - stay
where you are - help is coming. "Stop, drop,
and roll" is still the best course of action.
- If the fire is not at your lab station - stay
Lab Safety Equipment:
- Eye Wash Station:
The eye wash station
is located on the west wall of the science lab.
- The station should only be used if chemicals come in contact with the eyes.
- Eyelids have to be forcibly kept open to ensure effective washing.
- Be sure to wash from the nose out to the ear. This will avoid washing chemicals back into the eye or into an unaffected eye.
- Flood eyes and eyelids with water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Contacts should not be worn during labs. If you are wearing them when involved with an accident, remove them as soon as possible to rinse eyes of any harmful chemicals.
- After the science facilitator determines the eyes are completely flushed, both of the victim's eyes should be covered with a clean or sterile gauze.
- Safety Shower:
The safety shower
is located on the west wall of the science lab.
- The shower provides an effective means of treatment in the event that large amounts of chemicals are spilled or splashed onto the skin or clothing.
- As long as the hanging handle is pulled down, the safety shower will supply a continuous stream of water to cover the entire body.
- Individuals should remove clothing, including shoes and jewelry, while under an operating shower.
- Fire Safety Blanket:
- Fire blankets are not the best means to extinguish a fire. They may be used to extinguish clothing that is burning, but should never be used on any other type of fire.
||Never wrap a standing student in the blanket. This creates a "chimney effect", bringing the fire directly to the student's face.
- Only a Haylon fire extinguisher should be used on a fire involving personal clothing. The materials from other extinguishers can cut off oxygen to a person surrounded by the cloud of chemicals.
- Fire blankets are a good means to keep shock victims warm.
- Fire Extinguisher:
fire extinguisher is located on the right had side of the
rear exit door in the classroom.
- Sprinkler System:
Sprinklers located throughout the lab area are automatically activated.
- Students should not attempt to alter the system in any way.
- Items in the lab should be stored at least 18 inches away from the sprinkler heads.
- Items should not hang from the sprinkler heads.
- Intense heat should not be used near the sprinkler heads.
- Students learn the scientific method
by doing science.
- The purpose of an experiment is to test a hypothesis.
- To be successful in your laboratory experience, know how to:
successfully conduct a lab
properly use lab equipment
correctly perform lab techniques
write a lab report using this report guide
evaluate your report using this evaluation rubric.
Planning An Experiment:
- You must have a clearly stated question before a hypothesis can be formed. Some of your lab experiences will begin by giving you a hypothesis. In those cases, it is important that you decide what question was asked?
- Once you understand the question, you must find out all you can about the topic. This is called research. Your success and safety in the lab depends on how well you research each topic before trying to answer the lab question.
- Based on your research, you should be able to formulate a possible answer to the question - this becomes your hypothesis.
- Some of your lab questions might have answers that have been repeatedly obtained and generally accepted as correct. An example is the question, "What percentage of the air in the atmosphere is made up of oxygen?" You should be able to find reference material that gives the answer. For your lab purposes, this number would be called the theoretical value. When you perform an experiment and get a number, that number would be called the experimental value.
- When a theoretical value is known, you can determine just how good your experiment is and how well your procedures were done by using the following equation to calculate the experimental error.
Lab Station Clean-Up:
- Visualize yourself doing the experiment in our room!
- What will you need to test your hypothesis?
- Make notes about everything you will do as you see yourself performing the
experiment. Do not make these notes in your Lab Report. These are your "working" notes. You will probably make changes as you continue thinking about the lab.
- Will you be making any measurements during the lab?
- What other data will you need to collect?
- What calculations will be needed?
- How will you know if your hypothesis is supported or rejected?
- Look over your notes again. Are there any places where mistakes might be easily made? Can you do something different that will lower the chance for mistakes?
- When you are satisfied that you have covered everything, write your
procedures in your Lab Report.
- Make your procedures clear enough that someone else could follow them.
- When your plan is neatly written on a Lab Report Form, you are prepared for the lab - not before.
- Clean-up is important for the safety of others and for the preservation of equipment.
- Your lab station and equipment should be cleaned before you worry about the lab report.
- What clean-up should be done after each lab?
- Dispose of chemicals as directed by your facilitator.
- NEVER put unused chemicals back into their original container.
- Return chemical containers to the chemical table.
- Wash and dry all glassware, then store properly.
- Clean hardware, but DO NOT wash. If any hardware is wet, dry completely before storing. This is to prevent rusting.
- Clean and dry your lab table.