The 4 Most Important Lab Safety Rules to Be Aware Of

The 4 Most Important Lab Safety Rules to Be Aware Of

When you’re working in a lab, it’s always possible to come into contact with something that could cause you or the people around you harm. From the time that high schoolers start taking their basic chemistry classes, they’re taught a few important lab safety rules that decrease their chances of disasters.

If it’s been a while since you’ve reacquainted yourself with your lab safety, it’s time to jog your memory. We’re here to help!

Keep reading to learn all about how to stay safe when you’re working in a science lab.

  1. Wear PPE

PPE (personal protective equipment) is key when you’re in a lab setting. The type of PPE that you’re using will vary depending on the task, but you may need gloves, goggles, or aprons to keep your skin and eyes safe.

PPE can be hot and uncomfortable, but keep in mind that it can also be a lifesaver if something goes wrong. Chemicals can burn your skin even with very little contact.

  1. Identify Lab Safety Equipment

All good labs have equipment for emergencies either within the lab or right outside of it.

The first thing that you should note is the eyewash or shower station. Many labs have both. Your eyes are delicate, and even chemicals that aren’t considered “harmful” can damage them. As soon as you think that your eyes have come in contact with something, you want to use the eyewash station to flush them out.

You should also locate the fire extinguisher and any mechanism that triggers the sprinkler system, if applicable.

  1. Always Assume Things Are Dangerous

There’s a common bit of wisdom associated with gun safety: always assume that a gun is loaded even if it isn’t. This same logic can be applied to chemicals.

You can know that what you’re working with is safe, but especially as a beginner, it’s best to assume that it can hurt you anyway. This will make you more careful with the chemicals and the containers so you’re less likely to drop or spill anything.

Check out this article about hydrogen safety to see why this one chemical can be so dangerous.

  1. Don’t Bring Food or Drinks Into the Lab

This is often a problem in student labs, but professionals aren’t immune from it either.

It’s tempting when you’ve had a long day and you don’t have time to take breaks to eat or drink. Instead of bringing food with you, though, ask if you can take breaks to go eat during your lab session.

You don’t want to make the mistake of mindlessly drinking something you shouldn’t, and you don’t want to expose your food or drink to chemicals in the air.

These Lab Safety Rules Are Essential

Don’t neglect following lab safety rules, no matter how experienced you are in a chemistry lab. No one is immune to making mistakes, and these mistakes can have huge consequences.

Next time you get in the lab, stay safe and healthy.

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