Safety Precautionary Measures that need to be observed
while inside the Laboratory
Laboratory work may pose a number of unforeseen accidents. It is then essential that the students be oriented on the possible hazards during the laboratory exercises as well as the safety precautions to be observed in the laboratory.
1. Note the location of fire extinguisher in the laboratory. Most laboratory fires are preventable. Care must be exercised in handling flammable solvents such as ethers, acetones, alcohols and benzene. SMOKING IN THE LABORATORY IS NOT ALLOWED.
2. For small fires, remove the source of heat and oxygen. Extinguish the flame by covering it with a damp cloth. For large fires, use the fire extinguisher. DO NOT USE WATER.
3. Keep flammable liquids and all other materials away from open flames. Always maintain a clean work area.
4. NEVER heat a chemical you are not instructed to heat. A harmless chemical when cool may still be dangerous when heated.
5. Make sure you know how to light a Bunsen burner. If flame leaps out of the burner towards you turn off the gas immediately, don’t hold the burner it may be hot. NEVER leave a lighted burner unattended.
6. Point a test tube that is being heated away from you and others. Chemicals may boil out or splash out of the tube.
7. Never heat liquids in a closed container, the expanding gases may break the container injuring you or others.
8. Use clamp or tongs when handling hot containers. You can check if it is hot by putting the back of your hand near the container. This way if you can feel the heat then the container is even hotter.
9. You should know the proper fire drill procedures and the locations of fire exits.
10. In using chemical reagents, double checks the label to make sure you are using the correct chemicals. In getting liquid chemicals from the reagent bottle, pour it from the side of the bottle away from the label. To get solid chemicals from the reagent bottles, use a spatula or spoon provided for the purpose.
11. When preparing dilute acid solutions, ALWAYS POUR THE ACID SLOWLY into the water with constant stirring. NEVER POUR WATER INTO THE ACID.
12. NEVER mix chemicals just for the fun of it; you might produce a dangerous or explosive mixture.
13. Use only chemicals that are in the activity. Keep all lids closed when a chemical is not being used. Notify your teacher when a chemical is spilled.
14. Be extra careful when working with acids and bases. Pour such chemicals over the sink not over your workbench.
15. Observe proper laboratory habits. Wipe off spilled solutions on the working table. Keep all reagent bottles properly closed and labeled. Keep glass apparatus away from the edge of the table where they can be knocked off.
16. If any corrosive solution comes in contact with the skin, mouth or eyes, rinse the affected part immediately with large volume of tap water. Consult the instructor for first aid treatment.
17. NEVER TASTE a chemical UNLESS DIRECTED TO DO SO. If the taste of a certain chemical is required, place a small amount at the tip of your tongue using a clean, dry stirring rod. DO NOT SWALLOW. After noting the taste, immediately spit it out into the sink and thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.
18. Avoid breathing toxic vapors. Use the ventilating hood when heating poisonous substances. If you are instructed to smell a substance or chemicals, waft a bit of the vapor towards your nose with a cupped hand. Do not inhale all the vapors coming from the container or test tubes.
19. A possible poisoning hazard is contamination through the hands. Some poisons, like benzene and methanol, are rapidly absorbed into the skin. All poisons can stick through the hands and eventually end up in the mouth. This is why EATING IS PROHIBITED in the laboratory.
20. Many of the solutions used in the laboratory are either reactive or corrosive. When discarding such solutions in the sink, wash them with large volumes of tap water. This is necessary in order to avoid any possible production of noxious gases, as well as to avoid damage to the plumbing.
21. NEVER force glass tubing into a rubber stopper. A turning motion and a lubricant will be helpful. Your teacher will demonstrate this procedure.
22. NEVER heat glassware that’s not thoroughly dry. Use a wire or asbestos screen to protect glassware from flame.
23. Hot glassware does not appear hot; always check by placing the back of your hand near it.
24. NEVER use damaged or chipped glassware. If you break glassware, notify your teacher and dispose off properly in a designated trash can.
25. Handle scalpels or razor blades with extreme care. NEVER cut any material towards you.
26. Contact lenses should not be worn in the laboratory because there is a possibility that chemicals may infuse under the contact lenses and cause irreparable eye damage.
27. Always wear goggles when hammering a rock or mineral samples.
28. Wear aprons or coats when working with chemicals or heated substances.
29. Tie back long hair to keep it away from fire, chemicals and equipment.
30. Remove jewelries and accessories that may hang down and touch flames, chemicals or equipment.
31. NEVER use long extension cords to plug in your electrical instrument. Don’t plug too many different appliances in one socket only, it may overload and cause a fire.
32. NEVER touch any electrical equipment with wet hands.
33. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap at the conclusion of each laboratory period.
34. Everyone should recognize and heed all safety symbols and cautions incorporated in the procedures of the laboratory experiments.
35. All accidents must be reported to the instructor immediately, no matter how minor.
36. NEVER WORK ALONE IN THE LABORATORY. You should only work in the laboratory while under the supervision of your instructor and with your assigned class.