Science Lab Safety Rules For Students
Science is a process of discovering and exploring the natural world. Exploration occurs in the classroom/ laboratory or in the field. As part of your science class, you will be doing many activities and investigations that will involve the use of various materials, equipment, and chemicals. Safety in the science classroom, laboratory, or field sites is the FIRST PRIORITY for students, instructors, and parents. To ensure safer classroom/laboratory/field experiences, the following Science Rules and Regulations have been developed for the protection and safety of all. Your instructor will provide additional rules for specific situations or settings. The rules and regulations must be followed at all times. After you have reviewed them with your instructor, read and review the rules and regulations with your parent/guardian. Their signature and your signature are required before you will be permitted to participate in any activities or investigations. Your signature indicates that you have read these rules and regulations, understand them, and agree to follow them at all times while working in the classroom/laboratory or in the field.
Safety Standards of Student Conduct in the Classroom, Laboratory, and in the Field
- Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times. Frivolous activities, mischievous behavior, throwing items, and conducting pranks are prohibited.
- Lab and safety information and procedures must be read ahead of time. All verbal and written instructions shall be followed in carrying out the activity or investigation.
- Eating, drinking, gum chewing, applying cosmetics, manipulating contact lenses, and other unsafe activities are not permitted in the laboratory.
- Working in the laboratory without the instructor present is prohibited.
- Unauthorized activities or investigations are prohibited. Unsupervised work is not permitted.
- Entering preparation or chemical storage areas is prohibited at all times.
- Removing chemicals or equipment from the classroom or laboratory is prohibited unless authorized by the instructor.
- Sanitized indirectly vented chemical splash goggles or safety glasses as appropriate (meeting the ANSI Z87.1 standard) shall be worn during activities or demonstrations in the classroom, laboratory, or field, including pre-laboratory work and clean-up, unless the instructor specifically states that the activity or demonstration does not require the use of eye protection.
- When an activity requires the use of laboratory aprons, the apron shall be appropriate to the size of the student and the hazard associated with the activity or investigation. The apron shall remain tied throughout the activity or investigation.
- All accidents, chemical spills, and injuries must be reported immediately to the instructor, no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. Follow your instructor’s directions for immediate treatment.
- Dress appropriately for laboratory work by protecting your body with clothing and shoes. This means that you should use hair ties to tie back long hair and tuck into the collar. Do not wear loose or baggy clothing or dangling jewelry on laboratory days. Acrylic nails are also a safety hazard near heat sources and should not be used. Sandals or open-toed shoes are not to be worn during any lab activities. Refer to prelab instructions. If in doubt, ask!
- Know the location of all safety equipment in the room. This includes eye wash stations, the deluge shower, fire extinguishers, the fume hood, and the safety blanket. Know the location of emergency master electric and gas shut offs and exits.
- Certain classrooms may have living organisms including plants in aquaria or other containers. Students must not handle organisms without specific instructor authorization. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling organisms and plants.
- When an activity or investigation requires the use of laboratory gloves for hand protection, the gloves shall be appropriate for the hazard and worn throughout the activity.
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Specific Science Lab Safety Precautions Involving Chemicals and Lab Equipment
- Avoid inhaling in fumes that may be generated during an activity or investigation.
- Never fill pipettes by mouth suction. Always use the suction bulbs or pumps.
- Do not force glass tubing into rubber stoppers. Use glycerin as a lubricant and hold the tubing with a towel as you ease the glass into the stopper.
- Proper procedures shall be followed when using any heating or flame producing device especially gas burners. Never leave a flame unattended.
- Remember that hot glass looks the same as cold glass. After heating, glass remains hot for a very long time. Determine if an object is hot by placing your hand close to the object but do not touch it.
- Should a fire drill, lock down, or other emergency occur during an investigation or activity, make sure you turn off all gas burners and electrical equipment. During an evacuation emergency, exit the room as directed. During a lock down, move out of the line of sight from doors and windows if possible or as directed.
- Always read the reagent bottle labels twice before you use the reagent. Be certain the chemical you use is the correct one.
- Replace the top on any reagent bottle as soon as you have finished using it and return the reagent to the designated location.
- Do not return unused chemicals to the reagent container. Follow the instructor’s directions for the storage or disposal of these materials.
Standards For Maintaining a Safer Laboratory Environment
- Backpacks and books are to remain in an area designated by the instructor and shall not be brought into the laboratory area.
- Never sit on laboratory tables.
- Work areas should be kept clean and neat at all times. Work surfaces are to be cleaned at the end of each laboratory or activity.
- Solid chemicals, metals, matches, filter papers, broken glass, and other materials designated by the instructor are to be deposited in the proper waste containers, not in the sink. Follow your instructor’s directions for disposal of waste.
- Sinks are to be used for the disposal of water and those solutions designated by the instructor. Other solutions must be placed in the designated waste disposal containers.
- Glassware is to be washed with hot, soapy water and scrubbed with the appropriate type and sized brush, rinsed, dried, and returned to its original location.
- Goggles are to be worn during the activity or investigation, clean up, and through hand washing.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) contain critical information about hazardous chemicals of which students need to be aware. Your instructor will review the salient points on the SDSs for the hazardous chemicals students will be working with and also post the SDSs in the lab for future reference.