|SAFETY IN THE LABORATORY|
You will carry out many laboratory activities in Advanced Chemical Topics. While no human activity is completely risk free, if you use common sense and a bit of chemical sense, you will encounter few problems. Chemical sense is an extension of common sense. Sensible laboratory conduct won't happen by memorizing a list of rules, any more than a perfect score on a written driver's test ensures an excellent driving record. The true test of chemical sense is your actual conduct in the laboratory. The following safety rules apply to all laboratory activities. For your personal safety and that of your classmates, make following these guidelines second nature in the laboratory. If you understand the reasons behind them, these safety rules will be easy to remember and to follow.
Rules of Laboratory Conduct
2. Your concern for safety should begin even before the first activity. Always read and think about each laboratory assignment before starting.
3. Know the location and use of all safety equipment in your laboratory. These should include the safety shower, eye wash, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and blanket. Click here to see a layout of the room showing the locations of the safety equipment
4. Wear a laboratory coat or apron and protective glasses or goggles for all laboratory work. Wear shoes (rather than sandals) and tie back loose hair.
5. Clear your bench top of all unnecessary materials such as books and clothing before starting your work.
6. Check chemical labels twice to make sure you have the correct substance. Some chemical formulas and names differ by only a letter or number. Pay attention to the hazard classifications shown on the label. Click here if you need to see a hazard diagram and here if you want to see the meanings for the numbers used on the hazard diagram.
7. You may be asked to transfer some laboratory chemicals from a common bottle or jar to your own test tube or beaker. DO NOT return any excess material to its original container unless authorized by your teacher.
8. Avoid unnecessary movement and talk in the laboratory.
9. Never taste laboratory materials. Gum, food, or drinks should not be brough into the laboratory. If you are instructed to smell something, do so by fanning some of the vapor toward your nose. Do not place your nose near the opening of the container.
10. Never look directly down into a test tube; view the contents from the side. Never point the open end of a test toward yourself or your neighbor.
11. Any laboratory accident, however small, should be reported immediately to your teacher.
12. In case of a chemical spill on your skin or clothing rinse the affected area with plenty of water. If the eyes are affected water-washing must begin immediately and continue for 10 to 15 minutes or until professional assistance is obtained.
13. Minor skin burns should be placed under cold, running water.
14. When discarding used chemicals, carefully follow the instructions provided.
15. Return equipment, chemicals, aprons, and protective glasses to their designated locations.
16. Before leaving the laboratory, ensure that gas lines and water faucets are shut off.
17. If in doubt, ask!
Send questions, comments or suggestions to
Gwen Sibert, at the
Roanoke Valley Governor's School
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