Lab Safety Rules


  1. Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory.
  2. Follow all written and verbal instructions carefully.  If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, reread and discuss with laboratory partner, if still confused ask instructor.
  3. Never work alone. No student may work in the laboratory without an instructor present.
  4. When first entering a science room, do not touch any equipment, chemicals, or other materials in the laboratory area until you are instructed to do so.
  5. Do not eat food or drink beverages in the laboratory.  Do not use laboratory glassware as containers for food or beverage.  ALL FOOD AND DRINK MUST BE REMOVED FROM LAB BENCHES AT ALL TIMES!
  6. Perform only those experiments authorized by the instructor.  Never do anything in the laboratory that is not called for in the laboratory procedures or by your instructors.  Carefully follow all instructions, both written and oral period.  Unauthorized experiments are prohibited.
  7. Be prepared for you work in the laboratory.  Read all procedures thoroughly before entering the laboratory period.
  8. Never fool around in the laboratory.  Horseplay, practical jokes, and pranks are dangerous and prohibited.
  9. Observe good housekeeping practices.  Work areas should be kept clean and tidy at all times.  All laboratory instructions are on the laboratory website and moodle.  Other materials (books, purses, backpacks, etc.) should be stored under your lab benches.
  10. Keep aisles clear. Push your chair under the desk when not in use.
  11. Know the locations and operating procedures of all of the safety equipment including the first aid kit, eyewash station, safety shower, fire extinguisher, and fire blanket.  Know where the fire alarm and exits are located.
  12. Always work in a well ventilated area.  Use the fume hood when working with open flames or poisonous vapors.  Never place your head into the fume hood.
  13. Be alert and proceed with caution at all times in the laboratory.  Notify the instructor immediately of any unsafe conditions you observe.
  14. Dispose all the chemical waste properly.  Never mix chemicals in sink drains.  Sinks are to be used for only water and those solutions designated by the instructor. Solid chemicals, metals, matches, filter paper and all other solid materials that don’t dissolve are to be disposed of in the proper waste containers, not in the sink.  Check the label of all waste containers twice before adding your chemical to the waste container.
  15. Labels and equipment instructions must be read carefully before used.  Set up and use the prescribed apparatus as directed in the laboratory instructions or by your instructor.
  16. Keep hands away from face, eyes, mouth, and body while using chemicals or prescribed specimens.  Wash your hands with soap and water after performing all of the experiments.  Clean all work surfaces and apparatus at the end of the experiment.  Return all equipment clean and in working order to the proper storage area.
  17. Experiments must be personally monitored at all times.  Do not wander around the room, distract other students, or interfere with the laboratory experiments of others.
  18. Students are never permitted in the chemistry office and the storage room.
  19. Know what to do if there is a fire drill during a laboratory period; containers must be closed, gas valves turned off, fume hoods turned off, and any electrical equipment turned off.
  20. Handle all living organisms used in a humane manner.  Preserved biological materials are to be treated with respect and disposed of properly.
  21. When using knives and other sharp instruments, always carry with tips and points pointing down and away.  Always cut away from your body.  Never try to catch falling sharp instruments.  Grasp sharp instruments only by the handles.
  22. If you have a medical condition (e.g., allergies, pregnancy, etc.) check with your physician prior to working in lab.


  1. Any time chemicals, heat, or glassware are used, students will wear laboratory goggles or glasses.  There will be no exception to this rule!
  2. Contact lenses should not be worn in the laboratory unless you have permission from your instructor.
  3. Dress properly during the laboratory activity.  Long hair, dangling jewelry, and loose or baggy clothing are hazard in the laboratory.  Long hair must be tied back and dangling jewelry and loose and baggy clothing must be secured.  Shoes must completely cover the foot.  No sandals allowed.
  4. Lab aprons are optional and can be provided for your use.


  1. Report any accident (spills, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the instructor immediately, no matter how trivial it may appear.
  2. If you or your lab partner are hurt, immediately yell out “Code one, Code one” to get the instructor’s attention.
  3. If a chemical splashes in your eye(s) or on your skin, immediately flush with running water from the eyewash station or safety shower for at least 20 minutes.  Notify the instructor immediately.
  4. When mercury thermometers are broken, mercury must not be touched.  Notify the instructor immediately.


  1. All chemicals in the laboratory are to be considered dangerous.  Do not touch, taste, or smell any chemicals unless specifically instructed to do so.  The proper technique for smelling chemicals fumes will be demonstrated to you.
  2. Check the label on chemical bottles twice before removing any of the contents.  Take only as much chemical as you need.
  3. Never return unused chemicals to their original containers unless instructed by the instructor.
  4. Never use mouth suction to fill a pipet.  Use a rubber bulb or pipet pump.
  5. When transferring chemicals from one container to another, hold the containers away from your body.
  6. Acids must be handled with extreme care.  You will be shown the proper method for diluting strong acids.  Always add acid to water, swirl or stir the solution and be careful of the heat produced, particularly with sulfuric acid.
  7. Handle flammable hazardous liquids over a pan to contain spills.  Never dispense flammable liquids anywhere near an open flame or source of heat.
  8. Never remove chemicals or other materials from the laboratory area.
  9. Take great care when transporting acids and other chemicals from one part of the laboratory to another.  Hold them securely and walk carefully.


  1. Carry glass tubing, especially long pieces, in a vertical position to minimize the likelihood of breakage and injury.
  2. Never handle broken glass with your bare hands.  Use a brush and dustpan to clean up broken glass.  Place broken or waste glassware in the designated glass disposal container.
  3. Inserting and removing glass tubing from rubber stoppers can be dangerous.  Always lubricate glassware (tubing, thistle tubes, thermometers, etc.) before attempting to insert it in a stopper.  Always protect your hands with towels or cotton gloves when inserting glass tubing into, or removing it from, a rubber stopper.  If a piece of glassware becomes “frozen” in stopper, take it to your instructor for removal.
  4. Fill wash bottle only with distilled water (white taps) and use only as intended, e.g., rinsing glassware and equipment, or adding water to a container.
  5. When removing an electrical plug from its socket, grasp the plug, not the electrical cord.  Hands must be completely dried before touching and electrical switch, plug, or outlet.
  6. Examine glassware before each use. Never use chipped or cracked glassware.  Never use dirty glassware.
  7. Report damaged electrical equipment immediately.  Look for things such as frayed cords, exposed wires, and loose connections.  Do not use damaged electrical equipment.
  8. If you do not understand how to use a piece of equipment, ask instructor for help.
  9. Do not immerse hot glassware in cold water; it may shatter.


  1. Exercise extreme caution when using a gas burner.  Take care that hair, clothing and hands are a safe distance from the flame at all times.  Do not put any substances into the flame unless specifically instructed to do so.  Never reach over an exposed flame.  Light gas (or alcohol) burners only as instructed by the instructor.
  2. Never leave a lit burner unattended.  Never leave anything that is being heated or is visibly reacting unattended.  Always turn the burner or hot plate off when not in use.
  3. You will be instructed in the proper method of heating and boiling liquids in test tubes.  Do not point the open end of the test tube being heated at yourself or anyone else.
  4. Heated metals and glass remain very hot for a long time.  They should be set aside to cool and picked up with caution.  Caution use tongs or heat-protected gloves if necessary.
  5. Never look into a container that is being heated.
  6. Do not place hot apparatus directly on the laboratory desk.  Always use an insulated pad.  Allow plenty of time for hot apparatus to cool before touching it.
  7. When bending glass, allow time for the glass to cool before further handling.  Hot and cold glass have the same visual appearance.  Determine if an object is hot by bringing the back of your hand close to it prior to grasping it.