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Lab safety rules for young students.

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La última actualización de esta entrada fue hecha el 14 junio, 2024 por Hernán R. Gómez

Knowing the Laboratory

In this article, we will talk about laboratory safety rules.

The laboratory is the place where experiments in physics, chemistry, and biology are carried out. For this purpose, it is equipped with different substances and instruments. Many substances can be very dangerous to a greater or lesser extent, especially when handled carelessly or due to ignorance of their characteristics. It is important to take certain precautions and be familiar with the safety regulations of every laboratory, as well as the symbols that indicate the signs placed in the establishment or on the containers of the products.

With this in mind, EDI EDUCATION brings you 10 safety regulations in the laboratory that you should always keep in mind. Did you know any of them?

Lab safety rules.
A laboratory should always have these measures visible to everyone. Check that yours has these measures in place!

Lab safety rules.

  1. It’s very important to tie back long hair, avoid scarves or hanging accessories that could pose a danger. Keep in mind that you could get burned or spill containers. Regarding clothing, it’s recommended to wear appropriate attire (lab coats, latex gloves, closed-toe shoes, long pants, goggles…).
  2. The laboratory should be organized, clean, and neat. Order is crucial. Each workgroup is responsible for their materials and workspace.
  3. When handling or transferring chemical products, use spatulas, tweezers, or pipettes. Pipettes require suitable bulb pipettes.
  4. Use tongs or holders to carry containers that are hot and therefore pose a danger.
  5. Never forget to properly label or tag the reagents you use.

Stay vigilant. Let’s continue with more laboratory safety measures!

  1. Before lighting the Bunsen burner, ensure there are no liquids or materials that could easily catch fire nearby.
  2. If you’re conducting experiments that may emit toxic or harmful gases, do so under fume hoods.
  3. Handle acidic and basic substances with extreme caution. The risk of burns or corrosion is very high with these types of substances. Be careful when storing them: they should be kept away from flammable products. It’s a small detail that can prevent many accidents.
  4. If you need to dilute an acid or a base with water, make sure it’s these substances that are added to the water.
  5. After completing the experiment, clean the equipment used, store the materials carefully, and leave the laboratory benches clean and tidy.
  6. When heating a test tube, do not point it directly at your eyes or face.
  7. Do not smell chemical products; many of them can be very dangerous to your respiratory system.
  8. And most importantly, do not eat or drink in the laboratory!

An additional piece of advice: upon entering, check the location of the fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and – if your laboratory has one – the safety shower for body and eye rinsing.

To take into account

To complete and improve the safety measures in the laboratory, you could take into account:

  1. Training and Knowledge: Ensure that all personnel and students receive adequate training on safety practices and equipment use before starting work in the laboratory.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): In addition to the mentioned items (lab coats, latex gloves, closed-toe shoes, long pants, safety goggles), consider using masks or respirators if handling substances that can be inhaled and cause harm.
  3. Emergency Protocol: Establish and familiarize everyone with emergency procedures, including the location and use of fire extinguishers, emergency showers, and eye wash stations. Ensure that emergency exits are clearly marked and accessible.
  4. Ventilation Systems: Ensure the laboratory is well-ventilated and use fume hoods not only for toxic gases but also for handling volatile substances.
  5. Inventory and Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all chemicals and ensure that safety data sheets are available and accessible to everyone.
  6. Spill Control: Provide spill control kits and ensure everyone knows how to use them in case of an emergency. These kits should contain absorbent materials, neutralizers, and protective equipment.
  7. Regular Inspections: Conduct periodic inspections of the laboratory to identify and correct potential hazards. Ensure that all equipment is in good working condition.
  8. Electrical Safety: Ensure all electrical equipment is in good condition and that there are no loose or damaged cables. Use surge-protected power strips and avoid excessive use of multiple plug adapters.
  9. Behavioral Standards: Emphasize the importance of behaving responsibly and professionally in the laboratory. This includes not running, playing, or making jokes that could distract others and cause accidents.
  10. Clear Labeling: In addition to labeling reagents, ensure all equipment and work areas are clearly labeled, especially those involving specific risks (e.g., high voltage areas, hazardous biological materials).

By implementing these additional measures, you can significantly improve laboratory safety, reducing the risk of accidents and promoting a safe and professional work environment.

Suggested bibliography.

The World Health Organization portal has issued a Laboratory Biosafety Manual. We highly recommend consulting it! Available at https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240011311

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