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Safety Concerns in the Laboratory Essay

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Safety goggles must be warn at all times during a lab session. This is very important because they protect your eyes from harmful matter such as chemicals, glass, and fumes. It is very important to note that they must be goggles and not glasses. Safety glasses may protect the eyes from flying debris and splashes but may not protect the eyes from gas fumes or splashes from underneath. Also, wearing contact lenses in a chemical laboratory without proper coverage may allow a chemical to find itself trapped between the eye and contact lenses, which can severely damage the cornea.

In addition to goggles, the appropriate clothing must be worn to participate in the laboratory. Tank tops, shorts, and sandals are not allowed due to the high percent chance that glass or chemicals could come in contact with bare skin and cause serious harm. Long pants, close-toed shoes, and long or short-sleeved shirts are appropriate clothing items to be worn in the lab.

A lab coat is another great way to ensure that your skin is covered.

If an injury occurs, tell the teacher’s assistant immediately, call 911 if it is a sever injury, use eyewash fountain and safety shower as needed, and follow any instructions given by the teacher’s assistant. If a chemical spills, tell the teacher’s assistant right away and follow instructions given on how to clean it up. If a chemical comes in contact with your skin, tell the teacher’s assistant and rinse that area in the sink, eyewash, or safety shower based of the size of the contaminated area.

It is important to know where all emergency items are kept in case of an urgent situation. The safety shower and eyewash fountain are in the front, middle of the room to the right of the blackboard. The fire extinguisher and fire blanket are in the front right corner of the lab. There are emergency exits to the right and left sides in the front of the room and a door in the back left corner that leads to the lab room next door. The first-aid kit is located in the chemical stock room, which is in the building right next door. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the lab because chemicals could get in the drink or on the food and may be harmful if ingested. It is never appropriate to taste a chemical or solution. Smoking is not allowed because chemicals could ignite and the building doesn’t allow the use of cigarettes inside.

To smell a chemical, hold the container away from your face and waft the odor towards your nose with your hand. Heavy-walled glassware should never be heated directly with a flame because the glass could crack. This includes volumetric flasks, burets, and graduated cylinders. To dispose of any used or unused chemical that has been poured out of the original container, bring it to the back of the room and pour it in the marked container under the fume hood. By returning unused chemicals to the reagent bottle you are contaminating the original chemical and risking the possibility of throwing off further experiments that that reagent is used in. If everyone comes to class prepared and all the safety precautions are followed then most accidents can be prevented.

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