Chemistry Lab Safety

Chemistry Lab Safety

A science program has certain possible dangers. With careful planning, most dangers can be avoided in an oriented

Kids at Lab

Kids at Lab (Image Credit –

science program. It is essential to develop a positive approach to a safe and healthful environment in the laboratory. Safety and health should be an integral part of the planning, preparation, and performance of any science program. Safety and health considerations are as important as any other materials taught in high school science.

The chemistry laboratory can be a place of discovery and learning. You are expected to learn and remain to the following general safety guidelines to ensure a safe laboratory environment for both yourself and the people you may be working near.

Apparel in Lab

  1. Safety goggles must be worn at all times provided by the chemistry department in the laboratory. This rule must be followed whether you are actually working on an experiment or simply writing in your lab notebook.
  2. Contact lenses are not allowed. When worn under safety goggles various odors may collect under the lens and cause serious injuries or blindness.
  3. Closed toe shoes and long pants must be worn in the lab.
  4. Long hair must be tied back when using open flames.
  5. Do not wear valuable jewelry while working in the lab.


  1. Eating, drinking, and smoking are strictly illegal in the laboratory.
  2. No illegal experiments are to be performed.
  3. Never taste anything. Never directly smell the source of any vapor or gas; instead by means of your cupped hand, blow a small sample to your nose.
  4. Coats, backpacks, etc., should not be left on the lab benches and stools.
  5. Always wash your hands before leaving lab.
  6. Learn where the safety and first-aid equipment is located. This includes fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and eye-wash stations.
  7. Inform the instructor immediately in case of an accident.

Proper Handling of Chemicals and Equipment

  1. Consider all chemicals to be dangerous unless you are instructed otherwise. Material Safety Data Sheetsare available in lab for all chemicals in use.
  2. Carefully read the label twice before taking anything from a bottle.
  3. Load reagents are never to be returned to stock bottles. If you take too much set out of the overload.
  4. Many common reagents like alcohols and acetone are highly flammable. Do not use them anywhere near open flames.
  5. Always pour acids into water.
  6. If chemicals come into contact with your skin or eyes, flush immediately with abundant amounts of water and consult with your instructor.
  7. Never point a test tube or any vessel that you are heating at yourself or your neighbor–it may erupt like a geyser.
  8. Dispose of chemicals properly. Waste containers will be provided and their use will be explained by your instructor.
  9. Clean up all broken glassware immediately and dispose of the broken glass properly.
  10. Contact the stockroom for clean-up of mercury spills.
  11. Never leave burners unattended. Turn them off whenever you leave your workstation. Be sure that the gas and counter frame is shut off the when you leave the lab.
  12. Beware of hot glass it looks exactly like cold glass.

Safety Equipment and How to Use It

  1. First Aid kit

One first aid kit is located in each laboratory at the middle bench on the top shelf. It contains gauze squares, small, adhesive bandages and antibiotic cream.

  1. Broom and Dust Pan

In the Chemistry lab we use a lot of glassware. Glassware usually winds up getting broken some time during the semester. It is unsafe to pick up the broken glass with your hands. You should use a broom and dust pan to collect the broken glass. The broken glass should then be disposed of in the specially marked container. There is a little broom for sweeping the bench top, and a big broom for sweeping the floor.

  1. Fume Hoods

The fume hoods are large cabinets which have sliding glass doors in front. Fume hoods are used to protect you from harmful fumes, gases and odors. The fume hood has an air pipe maximum which is attached to a powerful fan. When the fan is turned on, the air in the fume hood is pulled up through the duct, carrying away any harmful fumes or smoke. Any time your experiment will produce harmful or bad-smelling gases or smoke, you will perform the experiment in the fume hood. Our fume hood is on at all times and they can only be turned off by authorized personnel.

  1. Sink

While the sink is used for cleaning glassware and many other tasks, it is also a part of our safety equipment. If you happen to get chemicals onto your hands or forearms, you must move quickly to the sink to rinse the chemicals off. The treatment for any chemicals which get on the body is to rinse the affected body area for 15 minutes under cold running water.

  1. Safety showers and eye wash stations

Safety showers and eye wash stations are located in each laboratory. When you are in the lab, make sure you locate the safety showers and eye wash stations and look very carefully at them. You should know where they are and how they operate before an accident happens.

  1. Fire extinguishers

There are fire extinguishers in each laboratory. While you are in the laboratory please look carefully at the fire extinguishers. Read the instructions on the side of the fire extinguisher so you will be familiar with their use. If you ever need to use a fire extinguisher remember the following (A) pull the pin, (B) aim to the side at first, (C) lower the handle and (D) remove the spray from the BASE of the fire extinguisher.

  1. Fire alarm:

If a fire alarm sounds you must empty the building. There are alarm switches in the laboratory. It is unlikely that you will need to use them, since the laboratories are all equipped with several smoke detectors.

8. Gas shutoff valve

Each lab has a master regulator which shuts off the gas supply to the entire lab. If you cannot locate this valve, ask your instructor. This valve is especially useful in case of a fire in the lab. In case of a fire, students as well as instructors are authorized to shut off the room’s gas supply.

9. Student Health Services (SSB 210)

The SHS office can provide treatment for any minor injuries or illnesses. There are also trained medical personnel there whose advice may be useful.

10.  Telephone

This room is only available by Chemistry instructors and staff. If someone asks you to call for help, find a lab instructor, professor or staff member and ask them to call  100, 101 or 108 helplines. They will then call for an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team.

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