Safety Rules in the Science Lab

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If you're taking a high school chemistry class, you're likely to have lab assignments, which means you'll be spending some time in your school's science laboratory. Conducting lab experiments can be fun, but you should observe some common sense rules of safety, because some of the equipment and substances you will be working with can be dangerous.

General Rules

  • Being in the school's science lab can be exciting, because you're doing something different from sitting at your desk listening to your teacher. But as fun as lab work is, you have to observe some very specific safety rules if you don't want to hurt yourself or your lab partner. The first rule is to behave responsibly in the laboratory at all times. When your teacher is showing you lab equipment, listen to what he is telling you, because some of the equipment can be dangerous.
    Become familiar with your lab assignment before you start working with it. This means reading everything the teacher has written down and asking questions if you don't understand an instruction or a term.

    Do not try to work alone. If your partner is absent, let your teacher know so she can assign another student to work with you. And don't do any other experiments other than what you have been assigned. Wear your lab apron and safety goggles whenever you are working on a lab assignment. On lab days, wear old clothing that you won't mind getting damaged. Make sure this clothing covers as much of your skin as possible. Keep your hands away from your skin, face, eyes and mouth when you have been working with dangerous chemicals.

Fire, Sharp Instruments

  • You will be working with fire in the lab with either an alcohol lamp or a Bunsen burner. Use gloves when handling hot lab equipment. If you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail and roll up long sleeves. Don't put paper, chemicals, lab equipment or any part of your body in the flame.

    When you use a sharp instrument, treat it with care. Do not point it at yourself or any of your fellow classmates during lab.

Glassware and Eye Safety

  • Glassware is a vital component in the science lab. Handle it carefully; if you drop it, let your teacher know so he can help you sweep it up and dispose of it safely.

    Your teacher will require that you use safety goggles in the lab at all times. Safety glasses prevent damage to your vision should you be involved in a lab accident. You should have safety glasses for impact safety and chemical safety. Let your teacher know right away if something gets in your eyes.

Electrical and Chemical Safety

  • You might use electrical equipment when you are doing some lab assignments. Remember to operate all electrical equipment safely. Plug in and remove the plug from the electrical outlet by holding the insulating cover. Never pull the plug out by pulling the cord.

    You will be using some chemicals in the lab. Some of these chemicals can be dangerous, either alone or in combination with other chemicals. Do not allow any chemicals to make contact with your skin or that of any of your classmates. Let your teacher know if there has been a chemical accident.

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