Dave Trapp, Director
Each team will need to provide their own matches, and a rag for use as a glass rag, wash rag, and pot holder. Each individual student will also need to provide their own pen and science journal. The journal should contain graph paper in a bound format; if a lined journal is used, separate graph paper will be needed. Each student will occasionally need carbon paper so duplicates of journal pages can be created and submitted for credit when assigned; alternatively journal pages may be photocopied at student expense. Appropriate science journals are available at the school office and at most college bookstores.
General safety requirements follow: read them; know them; live by them. If you see anyone behaving in an unsafe manner, request they immediately suspend such activity. If the they don't comply, inform the laboratory director. The director shall immediately remove from the laboratory anyone who endangers themselves, others, or the environment. The laboratory will build a culture that places health and safety of the occupants, the public, and the environment above all other considerations. This culture will be created by faculty involvement, training, and continuing appraisal of the performance of those working in the laboratory.
Experience: Professional scientists use experience as a
guide for safe and appropriate use of supplies and equipment. If
you have limited experience, you will find the following guidelines established
from centuries of professional experience will substitute. Your knowledge
of appropriate behavior and your continual demonstration of laboratory
skills will be part of your course grade.
Sloppiness and clutter can lead to errors and injury. So keep your work area clean: this includes the table, your drawer, the sink, and the surrounding floor. Put everything unneeded away. Keep unnecessary books, coats, and other things not needed for research away from the lab area. In the unlikely event that you do have a spill or breakage, clean it up as soon as possible so it doesn't lead to further problems.
Sloppy habits can be a danger as well. So don't sit on lab tables or desk tops. Don't eat, drink, or use cosmetics in the lab. Wash hands after experimenting and before eating. Don't provide even a remote possibility of hazardous substances entering your body. Do NOT taste chemicals. Never breath fumes from a container; if you wish to determine odor, waft some vapor into the air by waving your hand over the container mouth. Never look into a container mouth. Point test tubes towards a wall when heating. NEVER POINT containers at people. ANSI approved goggles are available for your purchase. Both Federal and State law require the wearing of ANSI approved protective goggles when you or your neighbors heat any object or substances to temperatures greater than boiling water, cut or smooth glass, use the air hose or vacuum pump, or use corrosive chemicals. [Corrosive chemicals are labeled with "wear goggles" on the reagent container.] There will be occasions when hazardous materials or procedures require that everyone in the laboratory must wear goggles. The lab supervisor will be required to dismiss you from lab if you are not wearing approved goggles when necessary. If you aren't sure whether goggles are needed, it is best to wear the goggles or ask the supervisor.
If you see someone who is so engrossed in their work that they forget safety precautions, you should reminding them rather than have the supervisor dismiss them from lab and/or lower their grade!
In the unlikely event that you get corrosive material into your eye causing a sting, flood the eye with water for at least 15 minutes, then seek medical attention. Any faucet will do, but hand held sprays or eye wash faucets are more convenient. If you get corrosive material in an eye, speed at starting the flooding is more important than convenience!
Emergencies are never a good time to sit and ponder what should be done. So you should always plan ahead for emergencies, even if their chances are remote. Know the locations of all room exits, fire extinguishers, eye wash stations or faucets, and the first aid station. Fires can be extinguished by removing 1) fuel, 2) oxygen or oxidizer, or 3) heat. For example, a fire involving a Bunsen burner will usually go out if you simply turn off the gas! A burning chemical in beaker can usually be extinguished by covering with a wet towel. If only a small amount of chemical is involved, it may simply burn itself out of fuel in a few moments. Be aware that the plastic sinks are not a good place for burning material! In the extremely rare chance that the fire is on you, put it out! The fastest way is usually to drop and roll. Immediately flood any burn with cold water to minimize burn damage to the tissue. Note that seldom do small fires require a fire extinguisher! In the event that the laboratory must be evacuated, take vital possessions (coat, keys) and gather north of the building for roll call and to assist emergency response.
IF THERE EVER IS AN INJURY, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY TO THE SUPERVISOR. Cuts are the leading lab injury. They can usually be avoided by proper procedures! Fire polish sharp glass edges before using. Lubricate glass with water and wrap it with your rag to protect you hand before inserting glass tubes (or thermometers) into stoppers. Hold the glass close to the stopper then twist it into the hole. Never heat thermometers, graduated cylinders, pipettes, condensers, bottles, burets, mortars, pestles, or glass funnels directly in a flame: they will shatter! Even borosilicate glass like Pyrex or Kimax might shatter if heated or cooled unevenly.
Discard solid wastes in the provided waste containers, NOT IN THE SINK! Rinse non-hazardous, water soluble wastes such as small amounts of acids down the drain. Discard organic wastes (such as oil or moth flakes) in special organic waste containers, NEVER IN THE SINK! Mercury spills need to be covered with zinc dust, mixed, then swept clean. NEVER THROW MATCHES IN THE SINK!
Successful experiments usually depend on accurate measurements. Preserve the integrity of measuring equipment such as the balance. NEVER PUT CHEMICALS DIRECTLY ON A BALANCE. First weigh a piece of weighing paper, or container, then pour the estimated amount of chemical on the paper or in the container. NEVER RETURN A CHEMICAL to its reagent container. DISCARD EXCESS MATERIAL following hazardous waste guidelines. Replacing a contaminated reagent is far more expensive than the cost of discarding small excesses. To be conservative, just take as little as needed or share excess materials with others that need it.