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March 14, 2019

Everything about Lab Safety that You Should Know

Laboratory experiments make learning science fun. They offer hands-on and visual experiences of the concepts that are written about in your textbooks. However, fun does not mean that responsibility is obsolete. You cannot just go into a lab and randomly mix chemicals and experiment with free-reign. A science lab is an extremely dangerous place. Safety precautions are a must in order to ensure an optimal fun, educational experience for everyone.
Lab safety rules that you should keep in the front of your mind while in the lab are:
• Wear Protective Gear and Proper Attire 
While lab coats, gloves, goggles, and hard hats may not make you look like you are ready to walk down a red carpet, they are a must in the science lab. Chemicals, glass, rocks, or hot equipment can easily come in contact with your skin or eyes, so you will need to protect your skin and eyes. Messed up hair and wrinkling of your clothing is superior to time spent in the hospital for injury or a lifetime of blindness. Furthermore, you should also be dressed properly for the time in the lab. Contact lenses, open-toed shoes, and dangling jewelry should not be worn. Long hair should be tied back.
• Use Your Senses Wisely 
One sense a scientist should almost never use is taste. Smell is also a sense that should be used with caution because toxic fumes can also cause damage to your internal systems. Do not taste or smell unless authorized to do so. If the experiment calls for you to smell, do not breathe the chemicals in deeply. Wave your hand over the chemical to bring the fumes closer to you or just take a quick whiff of it. In most cases, sight is sufficient.
• Examine Glassware 
Before using, test the temperature of glassware by touching it with the back of your hand. Hot glassware looks just the same as cold glassware; therefore, always feel it before picking it up. You should also check glassware for cracks or chips. Cracked or chipped glassware can cause the chemicals to leak and can even explode if put over heat. You should also note to point glassware away from you or anyone else when heating in case the chemicals splatter.
• Follow All Instructions 
While it may be tempting to test chemicals that the experiment did not instruct you to experiment or divert from the instructions for your own curiosity, do not do it. Curiosity is healthy, but it can seriously injure or kill in the science lab. The instructions were written by professionals who have knowledge of chemical reactions; therefore, sticking to their instructions will guarantee optimal safety. If you have a burning desire to test something that was not in the experiment, consult your instructor before doing so. You should also always be working under the supervision of your instructor.
• When in Doubt, Don’t Do It 
If you have to question whether it is okay to do something, do not do it. Eating, drinking, electronic use, scaring someone, and other pranks should never be done in the science lab. You should always give your experiment your undivided attention, and your area should be kept as clean and organized as possible. All injuries and accidents should be reported.


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