Lab procedures and equipment may be labeled with safety symbols. These symbols warn of specific hazards, such as flames or broken glass. Learn the symbols so you will recognize the dangers.
- Lab safety symbols warn of specific hazards, such as flames or broken glass. Knowing the symbols allows you to recognize and avoid the dangers.
- Following basic safety rules, such as wearing safety gear, helps prevent accidents in the lab and in the field.
- All accidents should be reported immediately.
Test Your Knowledge of the Lab Safety Symbols
Having an awareness of the signs that will be displayed around your laboratory is important. They exist to alert you to dangers and inform you of the actions you should take for ensuring health and safety. Do you know all the different types laboratory signs? Test your knowledge below:
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Following basic safety rules is another important way to stay safe in science. Safe practices help prevent accidents. Several lab safety rules are listed below. Different rules may apply when you work in the field. But in all cases, you should always follow your teacher’s instructions.
Lab Safety Rules
- Wear long sleeves and shoes that completely cover your feet.
- If your hair is long, tie it back or cover it with a hair net.
- Protect your eyes, skin, and clothing by wearing safety goggles, an apron, and gloves.
- Use hot mitts to handle hot objects.
- Never work in the lab alone.
- Never engage in horseplay in the lab.
- Never eat or drink in the lab.
- Never do experiments without your teacher’s approval.
- Always add acid to water, never the other way around, and add the acid slowly to avoid splashing.
- Take care to avoid knocking over Bunsen burners, and keep them away from flammable materials such as paper.
- Use your hand to fan vapors toward your nose rather than smelling substances directly.
- Never point the open end of a test tube toward anyone—including yourself!
- Clean up any spills immediately.
- Dispose of lab wastes according to your teacher’s instructions.
- Wash glassware and counters when you finish your work.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before leaving the lab.