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Flashcards in Laboratory Rules Deck (39)
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Who are laboratory rules designed to keep safe?

You are expected to adhere to the safety guidelines to ensure a safe laboratory environment for both yourself and the people you may be working near.

Additional safety precautions may be announced prior to experiments where a potential danger exists from explosive, highly toxic, or carcinogenic substances - which may be harmful to those outside of the lab and not directly present.


How safe are you guaranteed to be if you follow the lab safety rules?

There is no such thing as 100% safe.

There always remains a certain unavoidable hazard associated with the use of a variety of chemicals and glassware, especially for explosive, highly toxic, and carcinogenic substances from the experiments which you will perform. 


During what times in the lab is it acceptable to remove your safety goggles?


Safety goggles must be worn at all times while in the laboratory. This must be followed whether you are actually working on an experiment or simply writing in your lab notebook. 


Why are contact lenses not allowed in the laboratory, but prescriptive glasses are?

Contact lenses are not allowed, even when worn under safety goggles, because fumes can accumulate under the lens and cause serious injuries or blindness.


What manner of protective clothing should be worn in lab?

Closed toe shoes and long pants must be worn in the lab at all times. Sandals and shorts are not ever acceptable.

Many labs additionally require a lab coat, which properly covers all sensitive skin of the arms, torso, and neck.


What is the standard treatment for long hair in lab?

Long hair must be tied back when using open flames. In general it is recommended to be tied back at all times to avoid contamination.


When during an experiment can you pull out a small packaged snack, or drink out of a resealable water bottle?

Eating and drinking in any fashion are strictly prohibited in the laboratory.

Harmful contamination of water can occur readily (even if the bottle is only briefly open) if soluble toxic fumes are present. 


What must be done, always, prior to leaving lab for any reason?

Hands must be washed.

Always wash your hands before leaving lab. Contaminants can be deposited on door handles, railings, other non-lab persons, or yourself accidentally. This is clearly most important when planning on immediately eating or drinking after leaving the lab.


What is the accepted procedure for ascertaining if a chemical has a distinct odor?

By means of your cupped hand, waft a small sample to your nose. Do not inhale these vapors - take in only enough to detect an odor if one exists.

Never taste anything. Never directly smell the source of any vapor or gas.


Where in the lab can you leave your coat / backpack / accessories? 

Ideally in a closed locker outside the lab room.

Some labs will have a separate space farthest from the experiment, designated for accessories. Coats, backpacks, etc., should not be left on the lab benches and stools. Lab chemicals can damage personal items.


What common emergency first aid resources are available in every lab?

These include fire extinguishers, fire blankets, full shower and eye-wash stations.

Many labs will also have gauze, burn cream, antiseptic, saline, alcohol, etc - but these are not generally considered emergency. 


For treatment of a chemical burn, heat burn, or contaminated cut, what is the best course of first aid action?

  1. Flush immediately with cool water.
  2. Inform the instructor and contact a health care specialist.
  3. If not able to sufficiently treat on site, wrap with gauze to avoid additional contamination.


Sometimes an experiment doesn't yield the expected result, and further tests will need to be done. Describe when and how those tests should occur.

No unauthorized experiments should be performed during the original experiment window. 

If a new experiment is deemed necessary, consult with your laboratory instructor to determine if there is time permitting or additional precautions required for that experiment.


What is the best way to determine the level of hazard that a substance holds?

Chemicals in the lab are marked with NFPA hazardous materials diamond labels.

Always know what chemicals you are using by reading the label twice before taking anything from a bottle. 


In an NFPA diamond label, what does the number 4 in the blue left-most diamond indicate?

4 = Deadly health hazard.

The blue left-most diamond is the health hazard rating and starts at 0 as the lowest (no hazard) to 4 as the highest (lethal hazard).


In an NFPA diamond label, what does the number 0 in the red top-most diamond indicate?

0 = Substance will not burn.

The red top-most diamond is the fire hazard rating and starts at 0 as the lowest (no hazard) to 4 as the highest (flammable at or below room temperature).


In an NFPA diamond label, what does the number 2 in the yellow right-most diamond indicate?

2 = Violent chemical change.

The yellow right-most diamond is the reactivity hazard rating and starts at 0 as the lowest (no hazard, stable) to 4 as the highest (extreme hazard, may detonate).


In an NFPA diamond label, what does the symbol below in the white bottom-most diamond indicate?

Trefoil = Radioactive.

The white bottom-most diamond is the specific hazard rating and contains any additional information for lab usage. Additional symbols like OXY (oxidizer) and ACID (an acid) are common as well.


In an NFPA diamond label, what does the "strike-through W" in the white bottom-most diamond indicate?

-W- = Do not allow near water.

The white bottom-most diamond is the specific hazard rating and contains any additional information for lab usage. Additional symbols like OXY (oxidizer) and ACID (an acid) are common as well.


Besides NFPA labels, what other immediately available resource can be used to determine chemical safety?

Chemical labels, or a chemical sheet, should accompany all stock bottles and be readily accessible at all times. They should indicate the following:

  • signal words - DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION
  • highly toxic materials marked as POISON
  • precautionary measures useful in preventing physical harm to the individual
  • instructions in case of exposure
  • notes to physician for emergency treatment
  • instructions in case of fire or chemical spill
  • instructions for chemical handling and storage


What should be done with excess reagents?

Excess reagents are never to be returned to stock bottles. Dispose of the excess according to the safety protocol for that substance.

Unknown reagents are always disposed of via a specific waste container and should never be put down the drain.


What precautions should be taken with the common solvents acetone and alcohol?

Alcohols and acetone are highly flammable and found in most labs. Do not use them anywhere near open flames.


What is the process for diluting an acid?

Always pour acids into water. Remember the mnemonic AA, for 'Add Acid'.

If you pour water into acid, the heat of reaction will cause the water to explode into steam, sometimes violently, and the acid will splatter.


If hazardous chemicals come in contact with your eyes, what is the proper emergency response?

  1. Flush immediately with copious amounts of water using the eye wash station in the lab.
  2. Consult with your instructor.
  3. Consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.


When is it acceptable to leave a burner on low heat and attend to something else?

Never leave a burner unattended. Turn it off whenever you leave the workstation.

Additionally it is standard practice that the gas is shut off at the bench rack when you leave the lab. All labs have a back-up main gas shut-off for which the instructor is responsible.


What attitude should be taken towards glassware, for your personal optimal safety? For the safety of others?


  • Beware of hot glass - it looks exactly like cold glass.
  • Clean up all broken glassware immediately and dispose of the broken glass properly.


  • Never point a test tube or any vessel that you are heating at yourself or another person.
  • Walk through the lab in direct, deliberate movements, securely holding all glassware.


What is the protocol for cleaning up a hazardous spill you've caused, such as a broken mercury thermometer?

Notify supervisor/teacher immediately. Do not attempt clean-up of hazardous materials.

The teacher or stockroom supervisor is responsible for clean-up of mercury and other extremely hazardous spills.


When designing an experiment, what is the main reason for the placement and clamping of the experimental apparatus?

Positioning and clamping the reaction apparatus carefully should allow manipulation without the need to move the apparatus until the entire reaction is completed.


What is a fume hood and when should it be used?

A fume hood or fume cupboard is a type of local ventilation device that is designed to limit exposure to hazardous or noxious fumes, vapors or dusts. A fume hood is typically a large boxed region enclosing five sides of a work area, the bottom of which is most commonly located at a standing work height and the front of which is generally glass or Plexiglas.

Fume hoods are used whenever there is the danger of a toxic vapor being created.


If your lab has cylinders of compressed gas, what should you observe about their storage?

  1. All cylinders must be secured to a wall, bench, or other support structure using a chain or strap. Alternatively, a cylinder stand may be used.
  2. Cylinders must be segregated by gas type (flammable, inert, etc.).
  3. Gas cylinders must be stored away from heat sources and extreme weather conditions.