For the safety of students and instructors, the following general rules are to be followed for all laboratories, machine shop and studio courses. A written policy specific to each type of lab, such as chemistry, human physiology, dental hygiene, phlebotomy photography, machine processes, etc., must be given to students on the first day of each lab course. Each specific policy should be at least as restrictive as this general policy and may be more stringent depending on each department’s needs. Safety instructions and procedures for each experiment are given at the beginning of the lab period. For your protection and that of others, you must be present to hear this information. If you are not, you may not be allowed to do the experiment and will receive no credit for the lab. Never perform unauthorized or unsupervised experiments. Never enter the lab unless an instructor or a paraprofessional is present. Chemical splash goggles meeting OSHA requirements AINSI Z87-1-1979 are sold in the campus bookstores. These goggles must be worn in chemistry laboratories at all times and in other laboratories using extremely hazardous substances even if you yourself are not engaged in an experiment at the moment.
If you wear eyeglasses, most goggles will fit over them. Goggles are to be put on as soon as you enter the lab. Do not remove them until you are ready to leave the lab. If you do not follow the rules for wearing safety goggles, you will be asked to leave the lab and will receive a zero for the day’s experiment. In certain biology and allied health laboratories, other suitable eyewear may be used at the discretion of the instructor and department chair. It is unsafe to wear contact lenses in the lab. A chemical splashed into the eye will be trapped against the cornea by the contact lens, increasing the likelihood of eye damage. Vapors such as hydrogen chloride or ammonia are absorbed by some lenses and can cause severe irritation or injury. You are strongly advised not to wear contacts in the lab. If possible, you should wear ordinary glasses under your goggles or other suitable eyewear.
Chemical eye injuries are best treated by prompt and prolonged flushing with water. Your instructor will demonstrate the use of the eye wash fountain. If you get something in your eye, have someone lead you the eyewash immediately. If you see someone else in trouble, bring that person to the eyewash. Hold the eye open in the stream of water to get complete flushing of the eye and flush for 15 minutes or more. Report any eye injury or irritation to your lab instructor immediately. Wear only appropriate clothing in the lab. Not allowed are loose flowing sleeves or blouses, bulky jewelry, scarves, shorts, miniskirts, bare feet, sandals and open toe shoes. Required are tight long sleeves or short sleeves, slacks or mid-length skirts and regular shoes or sneakers. Wear a plastic apron over your clothing to protect you from corrosive or hot liquids. Keep purses and book bags out of the way. Hang outerwear on the coat rack; do not leave it on the benches.
No food or drink of any kind are allowed in the lab. Even wrapped candy, gum or cigarettes may not be put on benchtops because they may become contaminated. Smoking is banned throughout the College and it is never allowed in any laboratories due to the obvious hazard presented by flammable liquids and gases. Do not put anything that has been in the lab, such as a pen, in your mouth. Wash your hands before leaving lab to avoid carrying toxic materials out with you. Your instructor will show you how to light a Bunsen burner and how to avoid strike back, or burning of gas at the base of the burner. Do not leave the burner on when it is not needed and be careful that it does not ignite your hair or clothing. Turn off the main gas valve when the burner is off. Any object you heat remains a burn hazard for some time, so treat all glassware, iron rings and clamps as if they are hot.
The Bunsen burner, especially if there has been strike back, can also become very hot. When dispensing chemicals, read the label carefully before you start and measure the appropriate amount as indicated by the experiment directions. Do not take an excess. To avoid contamination and a possible violent reaction, never return unwanted chemicals to their containers. Do not put your dropper into a supply bottle. Do not lay stoppers on the benchtop. When heating chemicals in a test tube, do not point the test tube at anyone or look down into it. Always dispense and dilute concentrated acids in a fume hood. To avoid overheating and spurting, never add water to an acid; always add acid to water slowly with stirring. Always give a warning when carrying a container of a hot or reactive chemical past anyone in the lab. Learn the location of each fire extinguisher. Your instructor will demonstrate the use of a fire extinguisher as well as other techniques for putting out minor fires.