Safety Precautions When Doing An Experiment
Safe Lab Practices

  • No Food or Drink.
  • Wear Your PPE and Proper Lab Attire.
  • Good Hygiene.
  • Use Proper Storage Containers.
  • Label Your Work Space.
  • Don’t Work Alone.
  • Stay Focused and Aware of Your Surroundings.
  • Participate in Safety Exercises.

Meer items

Why follow lab safety rules?

Skip to content Laboratory safety is an essential part of ensuring the health and safety of workers and researchers in laboratory settings. Laboratories can be hazardous environments with various potential risks, including chemical spills, fires, explosions, and exposure to hazardous substances.

The importance of laboratory safety cannot be overstated. In addition to the risk of accidents and injuries, laboratories also pose a risk to the wider community, as hazardous substances and waste products can be released into the environment if proper safety measures are not in place. To help ensure the safety of workers and researchers in laboratory settings, employers need to implement a comprehensive laboratory safety program.

This should include training workers on how to properly handle and use hazardous substances, as well as procedures for emergency response, waste disposal, and spill containment. In addition to training and procedures, employers should also ensure that laboratory workers have access to the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the tasks they are performing.

This can include gloves, safety glasses, lab coats, and respirators, depending on the hazards present in the laboratory. In addition to the importance of laboratory safety in protecting workers and researchers, there are several key strategies that employers can use to help ensure the safe operation of their laboratory.

These include:

Developing a comprehensive laboratory safety program that includes training, procedures, and policies for the safe handling and use of hazardous substances. This program should be tailored to the specific hazards present in the laboratory and should be reviewed and updated regularly. Providing access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all workers who use hazardous substances in the laboratory. This can include gloves, safety glasses, lab coats, and respirators, depending on the hazards present in the laboratory. Conducting regular safety inspections of the laboratory. These inspections should be conducted by trained personnel familiar with the hazards present in the laboratory. They should include checking for proper storage and labeling of hazardous substances, as well as the condition and maintenance of PPE and other safety equipment. Implementing procedures for emergency response, spill containment, and waste disposal. These procedures should be clearly communicated to all workers and reviewed and practiced regularly to ensure that workers are prepared to respond to emergencies in the laboratory.

For more information on laboratory safety, employers can refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Laboratory Safety Guidance. This guidance provides detailed recommendations for the safe operation of laboratories, including training, PPE, inspections, and emergency response procedures.

Overall, laboratory safety is an essential part of ensuring the health and safety of workers and researchers in laboratory settings. By implementing a comprehensive safety program and providing access to appropriate PPE, employers can help prevent accidents and injuries and protect the broader community from potential hazards.

Do you need Online Training for Laboratory Safety? Try a free demonstration of our Laboratory Safety Training programs, where you can see the full content of the training program and how the system works from the perspective of the trainee: Course Titles in our Laboratory Program Listing include: Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory Electrical Safety in the Laboratory Flammables and Explosives in the Laboratory GHS Safety Data Sheets in the Laboratory Laboratory Ergonomics Laboratory Hoods Orientation to Laboratory Safety OSHA Formaldehyde Standard Planning for Laboratory Emergencies Preventing Contamination in the Laboratory Safe Handling of Laboratory Glassware Safety Showers and Eye Washes in the Laboratory

What is the most important step in laboratory safety?

The most important lab safety rule is to know the location of and how to use safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher.

What is precautions?

Pre·​cau·​tion pri-ˈkȯ-shən.1. : care taken in advance : foresight.2. : a measure taken beforehand to prevent harm or to bring about a good result.

What are precautions in biology?

8. Biology Laboratory Safety Specifications – In this section: A. Animal Care B. Biotechnology C. Bloodborne Pathogens and OPIMs D. Dissections E. Electrophoresis F. Field Activities G. Heat Sources H. Microbes I. Microwaves J. Plants K. Refrigerator A. Animal Care: The use of animals in the science classroom can be a very rewarding educational experience. With animals comes humane care and appropriate animal husbandry practices. Abuse, mistreatment and neglect of animals are unacceptable. The following safety precautions should be addressed when dealing with animals in the laboratory:

Provide adequately sized cages. Make sure cages are cleaned on a regular schedule. Cages should be locked and in an environmentally comfortable location. Check with the nurse for student allergies and make accommodations as needed. Use gloves when handling vertebrates. Always wash hands with soap and water after handling animals in the laboratory. Immediately report and have medical examination of animal bites. Should an animal die unexpectedly, a veterinarian should be contacted to evaluate the animal. Never have poisonous animals in the laboratory. Only secure animals from reputable suppliers. Dispose of animal waste and cage materials in a hygienic manner.

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Back to top B. Biotechnology: Biotechnology is an exciting relatively new area for course work in high schools. The following procedures for working with biotechnology foster a safer learning experience:

DNA and microbes should be handled as if they can cause infections. Handwashing hygiene is required before and after laboratory work by washing with antibacterial soap and water. Gloves, chemical splash goggles and aprons are required. Keep fingers away from eyes, nose and mouth. Decontaminate work surfaces before and after laboratory activities and accidental spills. Use only mechanical pipetting. Never use mouth pipetting techniques. Decontaminate all labware such as glassware that was used in laboratory work by soaking in a 10 percent bleach solution for several hours. Prior to disposal of biologicals, destroy all experimental microorganisms.

Back to top C. Bloodborne Pathogens: Bloodborne pathogens are bacteria, viruses and parasites found in human blood and other body fluids (Other Potentially Infectious Materials, or OPIMs). They can infect and cause disease in humans. The two pathogens recently receiving the greatest attention are the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

  1. Other pathogens that can also be of concern are herpes, meningitis, tuberculosis, Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, malaria and syphilis, to name a few.
  2. Bloodborne pathogens can be transferred by four different ways — direct, indirect, airborne and vector-borne.
  3. Direct and indirect are the biggest threat: Direct — by touching body fluids from an infected person.

This includes contact with lesions, open wounds or sores on the skin. Skin lining of the mouth, nose or throat, and eye contact/invasion, are additional avenues. Indirect — by touching objects that have touched the blood or another body fluid of an infected person.

Allowing students to do blood work is not a prudent laboratory practice, given the risks involved. The Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and other regulatory agencies have clear prudent practices for this purpose. Based on the means of transmission, life-threatening implications and an individual’s right to confidentiality, the potential for bloodborne pathogen infection raises several issues for science teachers in laboratory situations.

Although OSHA protects employees and not students, students involved in blood work create an unsafe working environment for employees. The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard states (29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(1): “Universal precautions shall be observed to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.” Teachers as employees can just as easily be exposed to bloodborne pathogens from students as they can from other employees.

Bloodborne pathogens don’t discriminate! OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard addresses the blood hazards in the workplace. This standard covers all employees who can “reasonably be anticipated” to have contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials. Science teachers certainly fall under this category and are therefore covered under the bloodborne pathogens standard.

Science teachers, supervisors and their employers need to secure safe alternatives to laboratory activities such as human blood typing, cheek cell sampling and urinalysis. Back to top D. Dissections: Should plant or animal dissections be used in a class for a laboratory or demonstration, the following safety precautions should be observed:

Share the MSDS information with students on the preservative prior to doing any dissection activity. Contact the school nurse to determine if any students have allergies relative to specimen preparation chemicals. Always used chemical splash goggles, gloves and aprons when doing dissection work. Review emergency eye-wash procedures for chemical exposure prior to doing dissection work. Always have the specimen completely rinsed prior to dissection to avoid contact with preservative chemicals. Mount specimens on a dissecting pan in lieu of holding the specimen. Use sharps such as dissection scalpels and blades with caution. Cut away from the body — never toward the body. Never remove any dissected parts from the laboratory. Discard dissected parts in appropriate and labeled waste containers. Always wash hands with soap and water after completing the dissection and cleanup.

Back to top E. Electrophoresis: Electrophoresis is a great opportunity for the laboratory study of DNA sequencing and more. However, electrophoresis units tend to operate at relatively high voltages. The following general safety procedures need to be addressed in dealing with this technology:

Avoid physical contact to unintentional grounding points and conductors like metal, water sources and jewelry. Work should be located on nonconducting benches and floors. Rubber mats can serve as an insulating surface. Use only ground-fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protected electrical receptacles for power. Locate the equipment in places where wires will not cause a trip and fall hazard. Prior to use of equipment, inspect and correct items such as cracks, leaks and frayed wires. Use caution making any physical contact with the apparatus. A thin layer of moisture acts as an electrical conductor. Some electrophoresis devices have cooling components or apparatus. Do not contact any cooling apparatus with a gel as the tubing can be a current conductor. Always directly supervise the use of the equipment. Exercise caution in working with power supplies that produce high voltage surges when first energized. Should the electrophoresis buffer spill or leak, stop the operation and clean up the spill immediately. Use and post appropriate “Danger – High Voltage” warning signage on power supply and buffer tanks. Upon completion of work, always wait 15 seconds for capacitor discharge after shutting off the power supply before making any disconnections or connections.

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Back to top F. Field Activities: Field experiences in biology classes help provide applications to classroom curriculum studies. In preparing for a field experience, the following safety preparations and precautions should be taken:

In planning for field work, review board of education field trip policies. Secure information from parents and the school nurse relative to student medical needs, allergies and contact information. Written permission to obtain help for special needs should also be secured in advance. If laboratory chemicals are used during the field work, MSDS sheets are required on the trip. Communications are essential during field work. Bring a cell phone or two way long range radio to keep in touch with the school. West Nile virus, Lyme disease and other insect-borne diseases are real threats. Use appropriate dress (long sleeve shirts, pants, closed-toe shoes or sneakers) and repellents for insects. Make sure that you’ve informed parents in advance about the use of repellents, so that potential allergies can be avoided. Have a behavior contract that everyone understands, with consequences that everyone will support. Use chemical splash goggles and gloves when working in the field with river, pond or lake water, water testing chemicals and any other materials/activities that may prove hazardous to the eyes. Use good sun sense by having students and teacher wear long sleeves, long pants, large-brimmed hats, sunglasses and sunscreen (SPF 30 minimum).

Back to top G. Heat Sources:

Autoclaves/Pressure Cookers Autoclaves can be dangerous given high pressures and temperatures. Apply the following safety precautions when using autoclaves:

Inspect the autoclave door and gaskets to make sure they are firmly locked in place. Post signage on autoclave warning of “hot surfaces, keep away.” Never place combustible or flammable materials near or on the autoclave. Wear heat-resistant gloves, apron and chemical splash goggles. Do not leave the autoclave unattended during operation. Shut down the autoclave should there be any indication of a leak.

Pressure cookers are less expensive than autoclaves and may be useful in simple laboratory sterilization procedures. They can be equally as dangerous as autoclaves at high pressures and temperatures. When using pressure cookers, follow these safety tips:

Older pressure cookers have fewer safety features and have the potential to explode if not operating correctly. Always inspect the device to make sure clamps are securely attached, the gasket seal is in place, and the vent tube is clear. Make sure the vent tube is clear and operational. Never touch the cooker until it is cooled down. Never leave the cooker unattended during operation.

Bunsen Burners Bunsen burners can be dangerous as a heat source, given their hot flame. Use the following safety hints for a safer operation:

Make sure hair is tied back. Always wear chemical splash goggles. Light the burner at arms length using an igniter or splint. Do not operate the burner with acrylic nails. Never leave the burner unattended. Do not touch the burner until it has had time to cool off. Do not operate the burner while igniting it.

Hot Plates Hot plates are a major heat source in biology laboratories. They are easy to operate and less dangerous than gas burners.

Always inspect wiring on hot plates before use. Make sure insulation is in place and all prongs are on the plug. Plug the hot plate into a GFCI protected wall receptacle. Never touch a hot plate that has been in operation until it cools. Never tie the cord around a heated hot plate. Never leave a hot plate unattended.

Back to top H. Microbes: Microbe study in the laboratory requires special precautions given the opportunity of pathogenic bacteria exposure. The following safety protocols should be enforced:

Personal protective equipment such as chemical splash goggles, lab coat or apron, and gloves are required during the laboratory activity. Make sure all skin scratches and cuts are covered with bandages. Before and after laboratory activities, wash the work area with disinfectant. Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the laboratory. Keep sources of potential contamination such as pencils, hands and laboratory equipment away from body orifices such as mouth, ears and nose to prevent potential contamination. Have disinfectant tray available for the discard of contaminated equipment such as pipettes, petri dishes and more. Should there be an accidental spill of microbial organisms, immediately contain it with dry paper towels. Sterilize the paper towels and disinfect the area of the spill. Report any accidents immediately to the instructor. Only laboratory-grade cultures from a reputable scientific supplier should be used in the laboratory. No general survey collections should be cultured given the danger of pathogenic organisms. An effective alternative can be commercially prepared slides. All bacteria cultures and petri plates should be autoclaved or microwaved prior to disposal. Wash hands with antibacterial soap and water after completing the laboratory work and cleaning up.

Back to top I. Microwaves: Microwave ovens can be used as both a heating source and decontamination device. Simple safety precautions include the following:

Never operate the microwave oven when empty. Always check the door seal prior to use to make sure it does not have a breach. Persons with pacemakers should not be near the oven when operating. Never place metal objects such as aluminum foil in the oven. Do not put face near the oven door while operation. Make sure the inside surface of the microwave is clean. Post proper signage warning of microwave use.

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Back to top J. Plants: The study of plants is both interesting and relevant to everyday life from food sources, oxygen production and energy sources. However, plants can also produce toxic substances that can put human life in harm’s way. Be certain to follow the following safety plan when dealing with plants in the laboratory:

Check with the school nurse for potential allergy issues for students. Make accommodations as necessary. Wear safety splash goggles, gloves and aprons when working with plants. Never have poisonous plants or plants producing allergens in the laboratory. Inform about the difference between edible and nonedible plants No plant part should be tasted without specific direction from the teacher. No parts of plants should be burned that have allergen-type oils such as poison ivy and poison oak. Wash hands with soap and water after working with plants.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has made the following statement about non-native plants in its non-native invasive plant species policy: Many non-native plants have been introduced intentionally or accidentally, with most having no deleterious effects on agricultural lands, waterways, wetlands, or conservation areas.

Some non-native plants, however, exhibit an aggressive growth habit and can out-compete and displace native species. These are referred to as invasive. Invasive plants, also called harmful or noxious weeds, are a serious problem in Connecticut and elsewhere, reducing agricultural production, impairing recreation, and causing the loss of biological diversity.

The Connecticut DEEP maintains a list of non-native invasive plant species, Before plant species are selected for use in the lab, check out the list of non-native invasive plant species before placing specimens out in the field. Back to top K. Refrigerator:

Never store food in any refrigerator or freezer used to store chemicals. Refrigerators and freezers should be cleaned out on a regular basis. Containers placed in a refrigerator or freezer should be completely sealed or capped, securely placed and labeled. Avoid capping materials with aluminum foil, corks and glass stoppers. All liquid chemicals should be stored in plastic trays. All specimens should be stored in plastic bags with labels. All items stored are to be appropriately labeled. Review inventory on refrigerator/freezer contents to ensure compatibility of the contents. Store only chemicals in amounts needed over a reasonable amount of time. Each chemical has a shelf-life and decomposition products that could be hazardous. Remember that power outages and technology failure can have an impact on stored contents. Be aware of unusual odors or vapors. Do not use glass beakers as lids for bottles. Do not stack materials too high. Petri dishes/plates should be taped together and placed in a plastic bag. Do not use graduated cylinders or volumetric flasks to store materials. Refrigerators/freezers should be periodically inspected (i.e., at least monthly). Post an up-to-date inventory on the refrigerator door. If potentially infectious material is spilled, clean immediately with a disinfectant agent such as 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Then, wipe down the area with soap and water. The refrigerator/freezer must be properly grounded and a permanent installation (i.e., no extension cords). The refrigerator/freezer must be located away from lab exits.

What are standard precaution rules for?

– PPE includes items such as gloves, gowns, masks, respirators, and eyewear used to create barriers that protect skin, clothing, mucous membranes, and the respiratory tract from infectious agents. PPE is used as a last resort when work practices and engineering controls alone cannot eliminate worker exposure.

  1. The items selected for use depend on the type of interaction a public health worker will have with a client and the likely modes of disease transmission.
  2. Wear gloves when touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, and contaminated items.
  3. Gloves must always be worn during activities involving vascular access, such as performing phlebotomies.

Wear a surgical mask and goggles or face shield if there is a reasonable chance that a splash or spray of blood or body fluids may occur to the eyes, mouth, or nose. Wear a gown if skin or clothing is likely to be exposed to blood or body fluids. Remove PPE immediately after use and wash hands.

It is important to remove PPE in the proper order to prevent contamination of skin or clothing. The CDC has suggested steps for correctly Donning and Removing PPE, If PPE or other disposable items are saturated with blood or body fluids such that fluid may be poured, squeezed, or dripped from the item, discard into a biohazard bag.

PPE that is not saturated may be placed directly in the trash. Saturated waste generated from the home should be placed in sealable leak-proof plastic bags before placing in regular trash bags for disposal. The OSHA PPE Standards 1910.132 and 1910.133 require employers to provide PPE for employees with hazard exposure in the workplace, train employees on the proper use of PPE, and properly maintain, store, and dispose of PPE.