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Biology: Science Safety

Lab Safety Rules

Laboratory Safety Rules

For your protection you must obey these laboratory rules or forfeit the right to work in the lab!

  1. Familiarize yourself with the location of the safety items in the laboratory:  shower, eye-wash fountain, and fire extinguisher. Make sure your pathway to them is never blocked.
  2. Your work area (including the floor) should be absolutely clear.  Remove all book-bags, books (except lab book and lab notebook) and briefcases from the lab bench area to the sides of the room, on windowsills or in the cabinets under your bench.
  3. If you should get a chemical in your eyes, wash them in the eye-wash fountain for 15 to 20 minutes and notify your instructor.
  4. Pay attention to the written instructions, and the instructor’s oral instructions, and follow them carefully.  If you do not know what to do, ask! Even “safe” experiments can be dangerous if instructions are not followed.
  5. No food or drink is allowed in the laboratory.  Food should be consumed outside of lab.  Never taste any chemicals in the laboratory.  (Even common compounds like salt and sugar in the lab are not fit to eat.) Never drink from laboratory glassware.
  6. Smoking is prohibited in the building, including the classrooms, labs and stairways.  Violators may be reported to Security.
  7. Report all accidents and glass breakage to your instructor.  Ask to be taken to the Infirmary for treatment of cuts, burns, or inhalation of vapors.  Spilled mercury (from broken thermometers) must be reported.  Do not attempt to clean up broken glass or spilled blood.  (Because of HIV risks, blood must be removed by approved methods.)
  8. Avoid breathing vapors of any kind.  Follow instructions for use of the ventilation hoods.  Usually chemicals stored in the hoods should not be removed but should be used there.
  9. Do not use mouth suction to fill pipets in transferring chemical reagents.  Use a rubber suction bulb.  More injuries occur each year from mouth-pipeting than from any other error.
  10. Protect yourself!   Long hair must be confined with rubber bands or a hairnet when in the laboratory.  Wear loose, comfortable old clothing to lab, including long pants/skirt and shoes with a closed top (no open sandals!).  (These protect you in case chemicals splash on you.)  If you must wear good clothing to lab you may wish to invest in a lab jacket, sold at medical and chemical supply stores.
  11. Do not wear contact lenses in the laboratory.  They may absorb vapors which can permanently damage eyes.

General Rules:

  1. Never block aisles with chairs or stools.  Class chairs should be moved to the side of the lab.
  2. Never push or shove others in the lab.  Violators may be asked to leave or be debarred.
  3. Never remove chemicals from the lab, and never attempt to do lab work at home. Do not work alone in the lab.
  4. Clean up your bench and wash hands thoroughly before leaving lab.
  5. Use caution when using Bunsen burners.  Check that gas jets are off before leaving the laboratory

I have read and understand the above rules and agree to obey them.  I understand I may be removed from the lab room and may be debarred for failing to follow the rules. 

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