Safety & HCM Post

Lab Safety Procedures

by Bongarde Editorial

Chemical burns, electrical shock, poisonings and tripping hazards. These are just a few dangers you’ll find in the lab area. Every year thousands of students are injured or killed from not following safety procedures. Imagine having your right arm severely burned or becoming permanently blinded when shards of glass from a beaker explosion find their way into your eye.

The following are safety reminders to reduce the risk of injury. Guidelines and safety precautions are not meant to slow you down or make you look stupid. They are meant to prevent injuries and possibly save your life.

General Laboratory Awareness

  • If you’re unsure about anything, ask your teacher before you start.
  • Always be alert to unsafe working conditions. Identifying dangerous situations will decrease the chance of injury.
  • Never adopt a casual attitude in the laboratory. Inattention leads to injury.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers, first-aid equipment and exits. Know how to use them.
  • Never horse around in the lab. Goofing off and hazardous chemicals do not mix.
  • Treat all substances with extreme caution.
  • If you feel your personal safety is jeopardized, tell your teacher.
  • Pay close attention to your teacher’s safety instructions.

Personal Safety

  • Ensure that clothing is suitable for laboratory conditions.
  • Personal protective eyewear should be worn at all times in the lab. If you wear contact lenses, either take them out or wear fully enclosed safety goggles. Chemicals that splash into the eyes can actually be absorbed by the lens, causing irreversible damage.
  • Gloves should be worn in situations that can result in hand injuries.
  • Long hair and baggy clothing should be tied back, or confined.
  • Always wash your hands before leaving the laboratory.
  • Never bring food or drink into the lab setting. Poisoning is a deadly serious matter.

Fire Prevention
Fire is a very real possibility in the lab, and prevention of fires is just as important as knowing the appropriate safety procedures to fighting them.

  • Be aware of the ignition points within the lab. Such areas include bunsen burners, electrical outlets or chemical sources.
  • Know where fire exits, extinguishers, blankets and eye washes are located.
  • Turn off all potentially flammable devices when not in use. Never leave a bunsen burner unattended.
  • Store flammable chemicals in appropriate fire-protected cabinets or refrigerators. When possible, store chemicals in small quantities in approved, labeled containers so that if they do ignite, there is limited fuel available.
  • Check with your teacher if unsure about the volatility of substances.

First Aid Lab Procedures

Electrical Shock

  • Do not physically try to remove the individual from the source. You will be electrocuted as well.
  • Turn the power supply off.
  • Notify your teacher immediately.

Poisoning

  • Remain calm.
  • Call the Poison Control Center.
  • Notify your teacher immediately.

Severe Bleeding

  • Never touch another person’s blood unless you are wearing approved hand protection.
  • Notify your teacher immediately.
  • Instruct someone to call 911.
  • Instruct the victim to elevate and apply pressure to the wound.

Safety In Biology

  • Know all emergency, fire and first-aid procedures.
  • Always demonstrate extreme caution when dealing with chemical substances.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by your instructor.
  • Use protective gloves when handling tissue or animal samples.
  • Be aware of environmental safety when disposing of wastes. Consult with your teacher before dumping potentially lethal chemicals down the drain.
  • Clean all instruments and apparatuses following use. Report damaged instruments to the teacher.

Safety In Chemistry

  • Know all emergency, fire and first-aid procedures.
  • Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Low heeled, fully-enclosed footwear is recommended.
  • Never flush solvents down the drain. Lab wastes should never be mixed unless you have consulted with your teacher.
  • Use extreme caution while cleaning up minor chemical spills.
  • Always place broken glass in designated containers.
  • Never pipette by mouth. Always use a pipette filter.
  • Never taste or smell an unknown container or chemical.
  • All horseplay is forbidden in the lab area. It leads to accidents and injuries.
Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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