Regents Chemistry Ms. Pierce
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Chemistry Laboratory Safety
Many of the experiments you will perform this year use chemicals, such as strong acids and bases, which are
dangerous if handled improperly. Some experiments use open flames or hot plates, many require boiling
water, and nearly all experiments use fragile glassware. Statistically, students are much safer working in a
chemistry lab that they are playing sports: however, accidents do happen in the lab. Most injuries that
occur in a chemistry lab are minor and easily avoidable. The most common ones are nicks and cuts from
broken or chipped glassware and minor burns. While serious injuries are rare, they are almost always the
result of someone doing something incredibly senseless. The primary goal of these lab safety rules is to
prevent injuries. Knowing and following the rules minimizes the likelihood of accidents, and helps ensure
that any accidents that do occur will be minor ones.
“Strong acids and bases can blind you in literally seconds. Treat every chemical as potentially hazardous and ALWAYS
wear your safety goggles” - Dr. Paul Jones, Analytical Chemist
ALL LABORATORY ACTIVITIES MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A TRAINED ADULT
Direct supervision by a science teacher is mandatory for all the activities you will perform in the lab.
KNOW THE SAFETY PROCEDURES AND EQUIPMENT
Think about how to respond to accidents BEFORE they happen. Locate the fire extinguishers, fire
blankets, broom and dustpans, sinks, eyewash station and emergency shower. Report any accident, injury
or unsafe behavior to your teacher at once. One of the most important safety items in the lab is the cold
water faucet. If you burn yourself, immediately (seconds count!) flood the burned area with cold tap water
for several minutes to minimize burn damage. If you spill a chemical on yourself, immediately rinse the
chemical off with cold tap water, and keep rinsing for several minutes. If you get any chemicals in your
eyes, immediately turn the eyewash station on and flood your eyes until help arrives.
ORGANIZE YOUR WORK AREA
Keep your lab bench and other work areas clean and uncluttered before, during and after labs. Every lab
should begin and end with your glassware chemical and laboratory equipment clean and stored properly.
Leave all personal belongings outside of the lab area: only take your lab notebook with you to your work
WEAR APPROVED EYE PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES
Everyone present in the lab must at all times wear safety splash goggles that comply with ANSI Z87.1
standard. Regular eyeglasses or shop glasses do not provide adequate protection because they are not
designed to prevent splashed liquids from getting into your eyes. You may wear the safety goggles over
your regular eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglasses are preferable to contact lenses because the contacts
may absorb or trap splashed chemicals, prolonging the contact between your eye and the chemical.
WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Never allow lab chemicals to contact your bare skin. Even something harmless like salt may be
contaminated with other substances. Wear closed shoes: sandals or flip flops will not be allowed during
lab. Avoid wearing loose sleeves, scarves, ties, or other loose or bulky clothing that might catch fire.
Always wear your lab apron to protect your clothes and self. Keep all long hair tied back.
Avoid Laboratory Hazards:
AVOID CHEMICAL HAZARDS
Never taste or directly sniff a laboratory chemical. When you heat a test tube or flask, point the open end
of the tube away from yourself and other students.
Handle all chemicals carefully. Check the label of all bottles before removing the contents. NEVER return
unused chemicals to their original container: get proper disposal instructions from your teacher. Avoid
creating unnecessary waste by taking only small amounts of sample chemicals.
AVOID FIRE HAZARDS
Assume all glassware is HOT: hot glass and cold glass look the same! Carefully examine all glassware before
you use it, especially if you are going to heat it. Properly discard any glassware that is cracked, chipped, or
otherwise damaged. Smother fires with a fire blanket. If clothing should catch fire, smother it with a fire
blanket or quench it under the emergency shower.
Don’t Do Unintelligent Things:
NEVER EAT OR DRINK IN THE CHEMISTRY LABORATORY
Don’t bring any food or drinks, even water bottles or gum, into the chemistry lab. All lab surfaces should
be considered contaminated, even if they look clean. . Many chemicals are toxic in very small quantity if
they are swallowed. The best ways to keep chemicals from being ingested are: 1) wash your hands often,
and always wash your hands before leaving the lab; 2) keep your hands away from your face and mouth; 3)
keep your mouth closed; 4) NEVER taste any chemicals, even if your think they are harmless like sugar:
they may be contaminated!
NEVER WORK ALONE IN THE LABORATORY
There always needs to be another person within earshot to respond quickly in an emergency.
NO HORSING AROUND
A chemistry lab is not the place for practical jokes, acting out, running, pushing or other physical contact
with other students, or even catching up on gossip or talking about last night’s football game. When you
are in the lab, you should have your mind on the work you are doing, period.
NEVER COMBINE CHEMICALS ARBITRARILY
Combining the wrong chemicals by mistake or “experimenting” with combining random chemicals are the
most frequent cause of serious accidents in the chemistry lab. Always check with your teacher of you are
unsure about the proper procedure in your experiment.
Remember, lab safety is mainly a matter of common sense. Work carefully and safely, and chances are
good that any problems you have will be minor ones.
Please keep these safety rules in your 3-ring binder for this course so you can review them periodically.
Please sign the next page and return it to your teacher before the first lab class.
Ms. Pierce’s Chemistry Lab Safety Rules
We have read and understood the rules outlined above and agree to follow them.
Student Signature ________________________________________________________
Parent Signature _________________________________________________________