Lab Experiments- General Safety Procedures

As you work in a lab, taking all vital and obligatory safety precautions while working with lab equipments is very important. Lab experiments could be dangerous and lack of observing safety precautions will lead to dire mishaps. Chemistry or simply a science laboratory should and can be a safe haven for the performance of experiments. Prevention of accidents is possible in case you can have in mind what you are engaging at any given time, using good judgment, following directions and observing safety rules. Every experiment has comments or guidelines to warn you on probable hazards and how a person can protect himself and others from injury.

Firstly, eye protection using safety glasses or goggles must be used while working on lab experiments. Make having safety glasses a habit right before any experiment has started and wearing them right to the last process and clean-up.
Avoid smoking, drinking or eating while inside the lab. Tasting any of the chemicals should never be tried and wearing leather-topped shoes and long-sleeved shirts should be the norm at all times. If you have long hair, let it be tied back to avoid it falling into flammable chemicals and catching flames.

Working alone should never be the case. Always have an instructor to help and guide while carrying out the lab experiments. Remember working under the watch or guidance of a person with enough experience is crucial. By virtue of laboratory experience, the individual understand the wrongs and rights in a lab setting and will make sure safety is maintained and experiments carried out without threatening the safety of anyone.

Walking alone in a lab should be avoided, more so in huge and complex labs where all sorts of substances and equipments are. Also, performing unauthorized laboratory tests is not good practice. After using glassware of any type, clean and wash it before leaving your work area. All counters, including hands, should be wiped with water and soap.
In case the experiment includes use of chemicals that produce or make use of objectionable vapors or fumes that are harmful and poisonous, they should be done within an area with optimum ventilation. If using a test tube for such experiments or any other, make sure it is not pointed to yourself or anyone within the laboratory.

A substance might have to be smelled. In that case, avoid holding it nearer to the nose, rather, hold the test tube or container a couple of centimeters away while at the same time fanning vapors towards the nose.

As you dilute acids, the acid should always be added to water. Water should never be added to acid. The addition of acid should also be done slowly. Disposing of solutions or liquid chemicals in a sink should be done with huge water quantities. In case an acid or base is spilled, the exposed area should be clearly washed using huge volumes of cold diluted water. If the spill was on the skin and there is irritation, a physician should be contacted immediately.

Always read bottle labels before you start lab experiments, carefully. Use only what is enough for the experiment and avoid doing anything unauthorized or not within the guidelines for the specific experiment; you have no idea what the result will be.


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