Basic Safety Standards in the Laboratory

1 Safety elements and exits

Before starting work, you must familiarise yourself with the workplace and its surroundings:

  • Locate the main and emergency exits.
  • Locate fire extinguishers and other safety features (eyewash, blankets, etc.).

2 Eye protection

THE USE OF SAFETY GOGGLES IS COMPULSORY

Splashes and accidents affecting eyes are very common in the laboratory. Remember that the hazard comes not only from the products you use, but also from those used by colleagues.
Contact lenses are not recommended in the laboratory: In case of splashing, the product can get behind the lens, making it difficult to remove and involving a risk of further damage.
If a chemical splashes in your eyes, use an eyewash quickly and within 10 seconds. Wash your eyes for a long time: around 15 minutes. Inform the member of teaching staff responsible.

3 Clothing in the laboratory

  • In a laboratory, splashes are inevitable. The use of a lab coat is compulsory.
  • It is not advisable to wear miniskirts, shorts or tights/stockings.
  • It is preferable to wear closed shoes and avoid wearing sandals.
  • Long hair is a hazard that can be avoided by gathering it in a tail.
  • Avoid wearing necklaces or free-hanging jewellery.

4 Rules on hygiene

In the laboratory, the risk of chemical contamination is always present, which makes it necessary to wash your hands after an experiment and before leaving the laboratory.

  • Do not eat or drink in the laboratory.
  • It is specially dangerous to smoke in laboratories and in areas where chemicals are stored.
  • Do not taste, smell or inhale unknown chemicals.
  • Avoid the contact of chemicals with the skin. In case of splashing, wash immediately with running water.

5 Use of laboratory apparatus and elements

Before starting an experiment, make sure that the setup is correct and in good condition. If in doubt, consult the member of teaching staff in charge.

  • Do not use equipment or apparatus if you are not familiar with how it works.
  • Do not use glass material in poor condition.
  • Do not pipette liquids using your mouth; use the appropriate devices.
  • The work area must be kept clean and tidy, free from coats and bags, etc.
  • All bottles should be labelled with the product they contain, their concentration and the date of preparation.
  • The experiment is not finished until the residues have been removed and the materials used have been cleaned.
  • You must not perform experiments not authorised by the member of teaching staff in charge.

6 Handling chemicals

Chemicals may be hazardous because of their toxic, corrosive, flammable or explosive properties and must be handled with caution.

  • When handling a product for the first time, you must familiarise yourself with its properties and consult the toxicological data sheet.
  • The greatest hazard in a laboratory is fire. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid the presence of open flames. If using a burner is unavoidable, make sure there are no solvents or flammable products nearby.
  • Do not heat products in a closed container. You must leave an opening of a suitable size and pointed away from you and from people nearby.
  • When handling volatile products or products with unpleasant smells, it is advisable to use the gas cabinet. The operator must remain on the outside of the cabinet.
  • Clean up all spillages immediately.
  • Wash bottles that do not contain water must be clearly labelled.

REMEMBER THAT THE LABORATORY IS NOT A PLACE FOR GAMES.
AVOID JOKES AND USE YOUR JUDGMENT AND COMMON SENSE

 

-HANDBOOK FOR PROCEDURES IN CASE OF ACCIDENTS