Lab safety rules: the 5 things you need to remember when working in a lab | Labster (2023)

  • January 24, 2018

Are you ready to work in a real lab? Read on to find out and try our Lab Safety simulation to test your skills!
To stay safe in a lab, you have to remember a number of important lab safety rules to ensure that you come out in one, healthy piece. Review the 5 points below in order to get a handle on the basics, and then try out our free Lab Safety simulation to test your knowledge in a virtual lab!

1. Dress appropriately

  • Before entering the lab, make sure to put on a lab coat. The coat should always be worn with the sleeves rolled down.
  • Wear closed shoes. Open shoes, such as sandals, are a no-go as a falling item could injure your feet and a potential acid spill could damage your skin.
  • Long pants are a must, as skirts and shorts expose the skin to dangerous chemicals.
  • Avoid loose sleeves, as they are impractical when working.
  • Tie back long hair. Loose hair could catch fire when working with a Bunsen burner.
  • Only bring the things you need into the lab. That means you should leave all your personal items, such as bags and jackets outside. Also take off your watch and jewelry before entering the lab.
  • Remember safety goggles, even if you wear glasses. Normal glasses aren’t sufficient in protecting your eyes.
  • If you wear contact lenses, makes sure to follow the safety instruction in a lab. In some labs it’s forbidden to wear contact lenses all together because if you get chemicals in your eyes, the liquids can get trapped under the lenses.
  • Wear gloves when handling corrosive chemicals. There are different types of gloves for different types of chemicals, so make sure to use the correct ones.
Lab safety rules: the 5 things you need to remember when working in a lab | Labster (1)

2. Keep a tidy lab

  • The fume hood is a ventilated workbench that protects you from hazardous fumes. It only works if air is flowing, which you can check by sticking a small piece of paper into the hood. You should work with the sash down, and usually there will be a mark that shows how far you can move the sash up, without compromizing airflow.
  • Chemicals need to be stored in designated cabinets and never just left on the floor.
  • Make sure the glassware you use is always clean and dry. This should be the responsibility of the person who used them last, but never just assume that glassware left in a sink is clean enough to use. If it happens to be contaminated with chemicals, it could alter the results of your experiments.
  • Make sure all emergency exits are clear. There should be two in the lab.
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  • Keep your lab bench tidy and make sure that there are no hazardous chemicals in the way when you start a new experiment.
  • Food and drinks are strictly prohibited in the lab, and with good reason – imagine if someone accidentally grabbed a bottle of chemicals instead of their soda and took a sip!
  • Clean up broken glass. Did you know that broken glass is the most common cause of injury in labs? Unfortunately, it happens far too often that glass isn’t cleaned up properly after breaking. There are designated containers in the lab where you can throw it away safely, so be sure to use them.
  • Remember to put labels on your work. On samples, make sure to write what it contains as well as your initials so everyone sharing the lab knows they belong to you.
Lab safety rules: the 5 things you need to remember when working in a lab | Labster (3)

3. Know your lab safety symbols

In the lab, there are two commonly used types of hazard symbols: The GHS hazard symbols and the Fire Diamond.

(Video) General Lab Safety

  • The GHS hazard symbols and their meanings are listed in the figure on the labpad below.
Lab safety rules: the 5 things you need to remember when working in a lab | Labster (4)
  • The Fire Diamond shows the dangers associated with hazardous chemicals. There are 4 squares in different colors, and in each square (except the white one), there is a number ranging from 0-4, where 4 is the most hazardous. Red indicates flammability, blue indicates health and yellow indicates reactivity. The white square indicates a special hazard.
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4. Handle chemical spills properly

  • If you accidentally spill a chemical, try to remain calm and figure out what it is. You should immediately warn everyone that something has been spilled.
  • Never touch, smell or in any other way interact with the chemical before you know what you are dealing with.
  • If you spill a large amount, make sure you evacuate the lab, and call the emergency personnel.
  • If you spill a small amount, and you know what has been spilled, you can go ahead and clean it up. In the case of acids or bases, the spill needs to be neutralized. Do not use water to clean these up. To neutralize an acid spill, use baking soda (a weak base) and to neutralize a base spill, use acetic acid (a weak acid). Pour these on the chemical before you discard the spill in the correct waste container. Remember to remove your gloves once you’ve been in contact with chemicals, as they may be contaminated.
  • If you spill on your clothes, take off that piece of clothing and rinse your skin with water.
  • If you spill chemicals on yourself or someone else, make sure to get them to the safety station as fast as possible, and flush the affected area thoroughly.
  • In case you forget your goggles and get chemicals in your eyes, hurry to the safety shower and rinse your open eyes for at least 20 minutes. Then, immediately consult a doctor.

5. Know your safety equipment

  • Fire blanket: This is made of non-flammable fibers. Use it for small fires, or for covering yourself in case you are fighting a larger fire. Never wrap a person whose clothes are on fire in a fire blanket, as it can create a chimney effect and cause burns on the person’s body and face. Instead they should roll on the floor to try to put out the fire, or step under a safety shower, if there is one in close proximity.
  • First aid kit: This contains disinfectants, bandages and other things that can be used to treat minor injuries, such as cuts.
  • Fire extinguisher: There are different types of fire extinguishers: CO2 and foam. The foam extinguisher, also called an ABC extinguisher, can be used for most fires. Never use a CO2 fire extinguisher on a person, as it is extremely cold.
  • Safety shower: Use this to wash yourself in case you come into contact with dangerous chemicals. If your clothes catch fire, the safety shower should also be used.
Lab safety rules: the 5 things you need to remember when working in a lab | Labster (6)

Before leaving the lab, you’ll need to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned so it’s ready and safe to work in again.
Make sure to clean all used glassware, return reagents to the storage area, dispose waste in the right containers and clean your workbench.
Always wash your hands to make sure you don’t carry any traces of chemicals with you. This is particularly important if you plan to eat afterwards – imagine if you transferred a toxic chemical to your food!

Test your skills in our Lab Safety simulation

Are you ready to test your lab safety skills in an actual lab? Try our Lab Safety simulation for free!

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FAQs

What is the most important safety rule to remember when entering a science lab? ›

Wear protective lab attire: Make sure you use PPE at all times inside the laboratory. Put on a lab coat with full sleeves, closed-toe shoes, and safety goggles before entering the lab. If you have long hair, it's better to keep it tied and out of the way when working in the lab.

What are 3 of the 5 major lab safety issues? ›

Common Laboratory Safety Issues
  • Storage of combustible materials near the ceiling.
  • Storage of corrosive, flammable, or toxic chemicals above face height.
  • Incomplete/improper labeling of liquid waste containers.
  • Poor labeling of stock solutions or secondary containers.
  • Faded labels or label falling off.

What are 5 important laboratory safety rules? ›

Basic Safety Rules
  • Know locations of laboratory safety showers, eyewashstations, and fire extinguishers. ...
  • Know emergency exit routes.
  • Avoid skin and eye contact with all chemicals.
  • Minimize all chemical exposures.
  • No horseplay will be tolerated.
  • Assume that all chemicals of unknown toxicity are highly toxic.

What are 5 safety rules in science? ›

  • Act responsibly in the science classroom / lab. ...
  • Follow all written and verbal instructions carefully. ...
  • Never work alone. ...
  • Do not touch equipment or chemicals in the lab until your teacher gives instructions.
  • Do not eat, drink or chew gum in the science classroom / lab.
  • Do not drink from lab containers.

What are the 3 most important laboratory safety rules? ›

Safe Lab Practices
  • No Food or Drink.
  • Wear Your PPE and Proper Lab Attire.
  • Good Hygiene.
  • Use Proper Storage Containers.
  • Label Your Work Space.
  • Don't Work Alone.
  • Stay Focused and Aware of Your Surroundings.
  • Participate in Safety Exercises.
4 Jan 2021

Why are the lab safety rules important? ›

Since almost every lab uses chemicals of some sort, chemical safety rules are a must. Following these policies helps employees avoid spills and other accidents, as well as damage to the environment outside of the lab.

What are lab safety procedures? ›

Dress for work in the laboratory. Wear clothing and shoes that cover exposed skin and protect you from potential splashes. Tie back long hair, jewelry, or anything that may catch in equipment. Never eat food, drink beverages, chew gum, apply cosmetics (including lip balm), or handle contact lenses in the laboratory.

What happened Lab safety Supply? ›

Welcome to Grainger.com®! You'll find all the products you've searched for in the past, plus advantages that you can only get from Grainger - North America's leading distributor of safety products.

Which safety equipment a school laboratory must have? ›

Bandages, scissors, tweezers, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, etc. should be included in each of the kits. Fire Extinguisher: Laboratories are required to have multiple extinguishers. There are several types of extinguishers a lab should are available such as water-based, AFFF Foam and Wet Chemical Extinguishers.

What are the 5 types of laboratory hazard? ›

To generate awareness and offer safeguards for laboratory workers, Workrite Uniform Co. has created a Top 5 list of laboratory hazards.
  • Fire/Explosions. ...
  • Thermal and Chemical Burns. ...
  • Skin Absorption of Chemicals. ...
  • Inhalation of Toxic Fumes. ...
  • Cuts to the Skin.
12 Jul 2016

What are safety rules? ›

Definition. A principle or regulation governing actions, procedures or devices intended to lower the occurrence or risk of injury, loss and danger to persons, property or the environment.

What are the rules in science lab? ›

Students must be made to wear safety goggles, lab coat, and shoes in the science laboratory. Loose clothes, sandals, and open hairs should be a strict NO in school science labs. Examine glassware before using. Do not use chipped or cracked test tubes or beakers.

What is Lab Safety Rule #2? ›

RULE #2: PROPER LAB ATTIRE

The day before we do a lab I will remind you so that you can come to class prepared with proper lab attire. Proper attire is as follows: CLOSED TOED SHOES - flip-flops, sandals, peep-toe shoes, are not allowed in the lab area. You must wear closed toed shoes on the days we have lab.

What should you not do in a lab answer? ›

10 Things NOT to Do in a Research Lab
  • Wearing open-toed shoes. ...
  • Keeping long hair down. ...
  • Eating or drinking. ...
  • Erasing data from your notebook. ...
  • Showing up late. ...
  • Forgetting to label samples or materials. ...
  • Incorrectly disposing of your materials. ...
  • Wearing shorts.
27 Mar 2014

What are 20 general safety rules? ›

20 most important safety rules in the workplace
  • Follow the dress code. ...
  • Wear safety gear. ...
  • Maintain personal hygiene. ...
  • Take responsibility for your personal safety. ...
  • Maintain a clean workspace. ...
  • Follow work procedures. ...
  • Learn how to act in an emergency. ...
  • Report accidents if they occur.

What are the 4 general safety rules? ›

Basic Safety Rules
  • STAY ALERT - and stay alive. ...
  • WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES - work clothes should fit properly. ...
  • USE THE RIGHT TOOLS - if you need a hammer, get a hammer. ...
  • LEARN HOW TO LIFT - Lifting takes more than muscle; it is an art.

What is the first rule of safety? ›

Understanding Safety-First Rule

The safety-first rule is to establish a minimum reasonable return or return threshold. By setting a target return, an investor seeks to reduce the risk of failing to achieve the return on investment.

Why is safety important? ›

A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business. Plus, protecting workers is the right thing to do.

Why is it important for a researcher to know all safety procedures and where all safety equipment is stored even if they never have an accident? ›

Why is it important for a researcher to know all safety procedures and where all safety equipment is stored even if they never have an accident? Even a researcher who is perfectly safe is at risk from accidents caused by other people in the lab.

What are the ten laboratory rules? ›

Evolve's top 10 laboratory safety rules
  • Follow the instructions. ...
  • Keep snacks out of the lab. ...
  • Don't sniff the chemicals. ...
  • Dispose of waste properly. ...
  • Identify safety equipment. ...
  • Think safety first. ...
  • Dress for the lab. ...
  • Don't play the mad scientist.
4 Apr 2022

What is the most important lab safety? ›

The most important lab safety rule is to know the location of and how to use safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher. In laboratories, chances of accidents always exist despite any precautions that are taken. This is because there is always a chance of human error.

What are the 3 most important safety rules to follow while completing labs? ›

1) Respect all chemicals and be cautious when handling them, especially those you know very little about. 2) Corrosive and toxic chemicals must be handled in the fame hood. 3) Laboratory coats and safety glasses must be worn.

What are 20 general safety rules? ›

20 most important safety rules in the workplace
  • Follow the dress code. ...
  • Wear safety gear. ...
  • Maintain personal hygiene. ...
  • Take responsibility for your personal safety. ...
  • Maintain a clean workspace. ...
  • Follow work procedures. ...
  • Learn how to act in an emergency. ...
  • Report accidents if they occur.

What is the first rule of safety? ›

Understanding Safety-First Rule

The safety-first rule is to establish a minimum reasonable return or return threshold. By setting a target return, an investor seeks to reduce the risk of failing to achieve the return on investment.

What are the 7 basic general industry safety rules? ›

General Precautions
  • Your safety is your personal responsibility.
  • Always follow the correct procedures.
  • Never take shortcuts.
  • Take responsibility and clean up if you made a mess.
  • Clean and organize your workspace.
  • Ensure a clear and easy route to emergency exits and equipment.
  • Be alert and awake on the job.

Why are lab safety rules important? ›

Since almost every lab uses chemicals of some sort, chemical safety rules are a must. Following these policies helps employees avoid spills and other accidents, as well as damage to the environment outside of the lab.

Why is safety important in the lab? ›

If something goes awry, more than just your research project schedule can be affected. Equipment can be damaged, fines can occur, and individuals on your team can be injured. When working in a lab, it is important you to be familiar with the equipment in your working space, even if you don't use it yourself.

What are safety rules? ›

Definition. A principle or regulation governing actions, procedures or devices intended to lower the occurrence or risk of injury, loss and danger to persons, property or the environment.

What are lab safety procedures? ›

Dress for work in the laboratory. Wear clothing and shoes that cover exposed skin and protect you from potential splashes. Tie back long hair, jewelry, or anything that may catch in equipment. Never eat food, drink beverages, chew gum, apply cosmetics (including lip balm), or handle contact lenses in the laboratory.

What should you not do in a lab answer? ›

10 Things NOT to Do in a Research Lab
  • Wearing open-toed shoes. ...
  • Keeping long hair down. ...
  • Eating or drinking. ...
  • Erasing data from your notebook. ...
  • Showing up late. ...
  • Forgetting to label samples or materials. ...
  • Incorrectly disposing of your materials. ...
  • Wearing shorts.
27 Mar 2014

Why is it important for a researcher to know all safety procedures and where all safety equipment is stored even if they never have an accident? ›

Why is it important for a researcher to know all safety procedures and where all safety equipment is stored even if they never have an accident? Even a researcher who is perfectly safe is at risk from accidents caused by other people in the lab.

What is the most important thing to do before starting a lab? ›

Before conducting any experiment, you should access the hazards related to the work, including; what are the worst possible things that could go wrong, how to deal with them, and what are the prudent practices, protective facilities and equipment necessary to minimize the risk of exposure to the hazards.

How do you stay safe in a school lab? ›

Your personal safety is very important and in the laboratory, always abide by the following:
  1. Wear safety goggles at all times.
  2. Ensure a laboratory coat or apron is worn.
  3. Use appropriate gloves when required.
  4. Wear correct shoes.
  5. Make use of a breathing mask if required.

Videos

1. General Safety in Laboratory
(Workplace Safety and Health Council)
2. Lab Techniques & Safety: Crash Course Chemistry #21
(CrashCourse)
3. Lab Safety Video
(GACHUZEE)
4. LAB SAFETY Video - I Think School.com
(MistyITSU)
5. Zombie College: The 5 Rules of Lab Safety
(BioNetwork)
6. Lab Safety Rules
(By: Rachel Taylor)
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