To the reader and laboratory user:
This safety guide book has been created to help inform students and other
science laboratory users of the procedures they must follow to create a
safe environment. Included are steps on handling various materials,
treatment of animals, proper disposal of wastes, how to avoid incidents and
emergency action plans, and other various steps of action that should be
taken and followed seriously. The science laboratory is a place for students
and users to learn and these important procedures, policies, and
information is for anyone’s benefit to be not only a better laboratory user
but a safer laboratory user.
Be safe and enjoy your discoveries in the lab!
Jennifer L. Baron
Table of Contents
Letter to the laboratory user………………………………………….…...3
Chapter 1: Following Procedures and Safety Steps……………….....5
Chapter 2: Student Conduct in Lab……………………………………...7
Chapter 3: Arriving and Leaving the Laboratory……………………...9
Chapter 4: During the Laboratory……………………………………....10
Chapter 5: Handling Equipment………………………………………....11
Chapter 6: Using Laboratory Equipment………………………………12
Chapter 7: Handling Materials and Spills……………………………...13
Chapter 8: Labeling, Storing, and Disposing Chemicals……………15
Chapter 9: Handling Animals………………………………………..…...16
Chapter 10: Working with Plants………………………………………...17
Chapter 11: Working with Body Fluids, Bacteria, and DNA………...18
Chapter 12: Know the Laboratory Classroom…………………………19
Chapter 13: Emergency Actions, When to Call 911…………………..20
Chapter 14: Attendance and Make-up Work Policy…………………..21
Chapter 1: Following Procedures and Safety Steps
(Laboratory users and students are referred to each other either way).
Following Laboratory Procedures
For every lab activity conducted in class, there will be step by step
procedures on how that lab should be performed. Following these steps is
crucial for not only a successful completion of an experiment but for safety
as well. Procedural guidelines are given because they are the proper way
of doing something. Any skipping of a step, multiple steps, or partial
completion of steps could pose a hazard in the laboratory area. Please
follow any steps given by the instructor. Any failure to do so could cause
unexpected results and any unnecessary harm to yourself or other students
in the classroom.
If a laboratory user is caught not following procedures, they will be removed
from the laboratory and will not be able participate in further experiments.
Following Safety Guidelines
Safety steps are important for every laboratory user to follow. Following
these steps (in later chapters of this guidebook) is important for preventing
any injuries and being able to help others in case of an emergency.
If a laboratory user is caught not following safety guidelines, or is creating
an unsafe environment for others, they will be removed from the laboratory
and will not be able to participate in further experiments. Further action
besides dismissal can be taken depending on the severity of the actions
conducted by the laboratory user.
Always perform only the experiments assigned in class. Do not do any
unauthorized experiments. Again, laboratory user will be removed from
Laboratory users are not allowed in the following areas: Teacher’s Office,
Supply Room, and any other Laboratory Storage in the classroom. If a
student is found in these areas without supervision of the Instructor, the
student will receive detention and removal from the next lab activity.
Students may accompany the instructor in these areas only if the instructor
Students should respect and use laboratory equipment for the use it is
intended for. Any misuse could cause the equipment to become damaged,
break, and become unusable. Laboratory equipment should be used for lab
experiments and activities only. Any destruction or improper usage will
result in removal from the laboratory and students will be issued fines
based on any damage caused.
Laboratory materials should not be removed from the lab. If any materials
are taken, it will be considered theft and charges will be issued as well as
any detentions, suspensions, expulsions, and fines for the severity of any
Chapter 2: Student Conduct in Lab
Students should conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.
Horseplay and other rough housing are not allowed and will not be
Students are to wait for instructions and procedures from the instructor
before touching or beginning any experiment. If lab instructions are given
before the lab, students still must wait for instructor to give permission to
begin their lab. Students should read over all procedures and instructions
before beginning any lab. Failure to do so could cause students to make a
mistake in the experiment. Students should always ask if they have a
question or concern, not matter how small a detail it could be.
Students must use appropriate language (no swearing) in the laboratory.
Not only must language be clean, but students should try and use scientific
vocabulary throughout the lab so they become more familiar with the
Students are required to wear covered shoes (closed toed and closed
healed shoes). Flip-flops, high heels, or platform shoes are not allowed.
It is important to have the whole foot covered so nothing can hurt the toes,
heals, or get caught underneath the foot.
Students should avoid wearing loose and baggy clothing. This is a hazard
when working around Bunsen burners and other lab equipment. These
things could catch on to things and knock them down causing chemical
splits, fires, unintended mixtures, and skin or eye irritation.
Students with long hair should have it tied back in a hair band or rubber
Goggles, Lab Coats, and Aprons
All students are required to wear lab goggles or lab glasses at all time.
They may only be removed after all experiments have been completed and
all experimental equipment has been put away.
Lab coats and aprons are available and will be required for most labs. It is
highly recommended that students use these if they wish to preserve any
clothing that could be ruined if there is an accidental spill.
Food and Drink
There is absolutely no food allowed in the laboratory or classroom. No
exceptions. If students need to eat or drink something, please do so before
and after class. If a student has a health reason and needs to eat or drink
something, they may step outside of the laboratory for a brief moment and
have a drink and snack. Students are required to wash their hands when
leaving and entering the laboratory.
Bathroom use should be done before and after class. Students are
discouraged from using the bathroom during the lab because most labs will
be done in groups, it would be beneficial if all students can remain in the
laboratory so they don’t miss any steps or other students will have to do
If a student has to use the bathroom during class, they will be permitted to
go. (Try not to make frequent occurrences).
Chapter 3: Arriving and Leaving the Laboratory
Students should arrive and take their seats and read over any lab
instructions. Labs will begin with a short lecture on the lab instructions and
procedures. Students should take notes and ask questions before
beginning the lab activity.
After the lecture, students are required to wash their hands, put on safety
goggles and gloves (if necessary). Students should wash down their lab
table before beginning. Lab materials may be gathered.
Before leaving the laboratory, students should put away any materials
taken out for the activity. Lab tables should be washed down again.
Students are required to wash their hands again before leaving the
classroom. This will prevent any accidental tasting, touching of the face and
eyes (causing potential irritations), and any transfer to other students or
surfaces that could cause a reaction. After hands are washed, students
may remove and put away goggles.
Students may have to return to their seats after an activity. Students should
try and clean up in a timely manner, and be seated to wait for any last
minute announcements or lecture time.
Students will be dismissed by the instructor and not the school bell.
After finishing work in the lab, it should be just as clean as it was before the
beginning of the lab. Any failure or frequent improper cleans will cause the
entire class to not participate in any lab experiments or activities.
Chapter 4: During the Laboratory
During the lab activity, all students should be contributing to help their
group. Every student should trade off or take turns with lab procedures and
skills (i.e. using the pipettes, mixtures, reading measurements, lighting the
Bunsen burner, etc).
All students should be taking notes, recording data, or writing in their
laboratory notebooks during the lab. If a mistake is made students should
just cross out the mistake and put in the correct information. Lab notes and
lab notebook should be written in pencil. DO NOT ERASE any notes,
errors, or mistakes. All observations should be recorded (note any physical
and chemical changes seen, smells, exothermic and endothermic reaction).
Students should work productively, because certain experiments must be
completed before the end of the lab period. There will be rare occasions
when there is a lab activity or experiment that lasts for a few class periods
(over a period of a few days).
Students should take safety in the lab seriously (that is what this guide is
for… to refer to so you know what to do).
Chapter 5: Handling Equipment
Equipment should be inspected and looked over before beginning any
experiment. This precaution should be taken to see if the equipment is safe
to use and will not cause any harm to its users. Any thing that has a crack,
piece missing, or anything questionable should be reported and taken to
the instructor. Glass should never be used if it is cracked or broken! It is
Students should also inspect Bunsen burner hoses and their connections
before use as well. Do not use a Bunsen burner if its hose is broken or the
opening is not functioning.
Handling and Carrying Equipment
Different equipment has different ways of handling and carrying. The
instructor will go over more specifically on how to handle certain equipment
throughout the year when new equipment is introduced.
Some basic things are:
For handling a microscope, pick up and remove from lab bench with both
hands. Use both hands and lift up off of the table to move it closer towards
the user or when moving it to a different part of the laboratory. Never drag a
microscope on a surface.
Test tubes should be carried vertically and away from the body. Never look
into a test tube while mixing, heating, or cooling. Always handle hot test
tubes with a test tube holder or tongs.
Knifes, scalpels and other sharp objects should be pointed down and away
from the body when carrying.
For beakers or test tubes that need to be in the fume hood, carefully walk
them over and place them in the fume hood and shut the hood. Never stick
your head or arms in the fume hood. If something needs to be in the fume
hood, it is not a good idea to smell any fumes that the object may be giving
Chapter 6: Using Laboratory Equipment
Please use laboratory equipment for its intended use. This has been
mentioned in a previous chapter and is very important. Don’t try and cut
corners, it could be dangerous to yourself and others in the laboratory.
Make sure before conducting an experiment of lab activity, that your lab
group has all of the required materials and supplies (this saves time for
frequent trips to pick up materials).
New laboratory equipment will be introduced throughout the year, please
pay attention to the procedures for use and the care needed to use the
Chapter 7: Handling Materials and Spills
Mixing Chemicals, Other Materials
Mixing and combining chemicals and other materials is forbidden unless
instructed to do so by the instructor or lab instructions. Mixing of materials
must be done so in a slow and delicate matter. If a student in not taking
care in the pour of, mixing of, or is improperly handling any chemicals and
other hazardous materials in anyway, they will be removed from the
Because proper handling is an important skill, if a student is removed for
the reasons stated above, the student must pass a skills test on pouring
and handling (with water) so these skills and safety is stressed upon and
the proper handling of material by the student improves.
When using eye droppers or pipettes to draw liquids, use caution when
placing the eye dropper or pipette into containers (make sure it is going into
the same container the whole time). If there is an accidental switch or use
in another vial, let the instructor know right away so they can provide new
ONLY USE WHAT YOU WILL NEED, DON’T WASTE SUPPLIES
In case of a chemical spill, sodium bicarbonate/baking soda should be used
to neutralize acids and vinegar should be used to neutralize bases. All
spills and clean-ups need to be reported to the instructor. Avoid breathing
in any vapors.
If chemicals are spilled on the skin, flush the area with cold water for 5
minutes or longer.
If chemicals are spilled on clothing, water down the clothing and remove
(cut or take off) the clothing to prevent contact with the skin. If skin does
become burned from the acid spill, put sodium hydrogen carbonate paste
on the affected area and seek medical help. If skin becomes burned by a
base, swab the affected area with vinegar and seek medical help.
DO NOT COVER CHEMICAL BURNS IN BANDAGES
Chemicals in the Eyes
If chemicals are splashed into the eyes, someone needs to call 911 and
notify any other lab personnel, school nurse, and school administrator.
Eyes should be flushed out immediately with water or at an eye wash
station. Try and hold the eye lids open, if you can’t, have someone help
you. Flush out eyes for at least 15 minutes or until medical/emergency help
has arrived. Let the water wash any contact lenses away. If they are stuck
to the eye, let a professional remove them.
DO NOT TRY AND REMOVE CONTACTS FROM YOUR EYES
Touching, Tasting, Smelling and Looking
All chemicals should be treated as harmful and dangerous. Gloves should
be worn whenever you work with chemicals (no exceptions). Never taste a
chemical or swallow a chemical, this is dangerous and could be deadly.
For smelling any odors that a chemical reaction may release, do not stick
the test tube right under or into your nostril and inhale. The proper way to
smell an odor is to hold the test tube about 18inches away from your face,
and take one hand and waft the odor towards yourself.
Eye goggles should always be worn when handling chemicals. When
mixing chemicals or materials together, do not look directly over the test
tube or beaker, sometimes there can be some matter that can splash out of
Refer to the section in this chapter called Chemicals in the Eyes on how to
handle chemicals getting into the eyes.
Chapter 8: Labeling, Storing, and Disposing Chemicals
Labels on all chemical bottles will be clearly marked. They should not
be removed from the bottles or altered in anyway. The name of the
chemical, the strength, and the date (when received from the supplier) will
always be marked on the label.
Chemicals will be stored in a laboratory storage room. Acids will be
stored in corrosive cabinets, solvents in flammable cabinets. Acids are to
be kept separate from bases. Chemicals should be stored on wooden
shelves (with no metal supports, any spills could corrode the metal).
Do not dump chemicals down the drain, unless informed to do so by
the instructor of the lab instructions. Dump all chemicals and mixtures in a
specified container in the fume hood. Never dump any chemical liquids or
solid materials into the trash cans. There could be a reaction and cause a
fire to start.
Chapter 9: Handing Animals
Handing and Treatment
Students are required to handle animals (dead or alive) in an appropriate,
humane, non-teasing manner. Animals should be treated with care, just like
delicate lab equipment. Any failure to handle animals safely and humanely
will result in removal from the lab (and possibly being banned from future
lab activities with animal use). Being able to work with animals are
important for research and laboratory activities, please be professional in
handling any animal.
If students have any allergies or bad reactions to animals, they are required
to notify the instructor at the beginning of the school year. The instructor
will keep any notes about allergies on file and will obviously not force or
require a student to work with an animal that they may have a reaction to.
All student records and medical information will be kept confidential.
If students in general feel uncomfortable working with, holding, or
dissecting animals, they will not be forced to do so. Another supplemental
activity will be assigned so that the student may learn the material in a
Chapter 10: Working with Plants
Prior to Working with Plants
Prior to beginning any labs or labs that require working with plants,
students should inform the instructor of any allergies caused by plants.
Students should not bring in their own plants to experiment with. The
instructor will provide any plants and materials required for the activities.
The instructor will never conduct lab experiments or activities with plants
that may cause a poisonous reactions or cause allergic reactions.
Working with Plants
When using plants, do not burn them (which may cause a release of oils),
don’t eat or put anything in your mouth unless instructed to do so, wear
gloves when handling plants, and wash hands after using plants (even
though gloves were worn).
Chapter 11: Working with Body Fluids, Bacteria, and DNA
Working with body fluids needs to be taken very seriously and carried out
carefully. If there is a spill of body fluids, pathogenic bacteria, or DNA spills,
gloves are required to be worn during cleanup. To clean up any spills , a
diluted disinfectant should be used.
Use the following if they are available:
5% Lysol, Zephiran, Wescodyne, or similar
10% Clorox bleach solution
These disinfectants or solutions should be poured over the contaminated
area and wiped up with paper towels in towards itself (prevent from
spreading out further).
After spill is cleaned up, paper towels must be disposed of in biohazard
containers or bags. Any glassware should be sterilized using an autoclave
(about 30 minutes at 15 p.s.i., temperature should be above 248 degrees
The experiments with uses of bodily fluids, pathogenic bacteria, and DNA
samples are considered safe and not a threat, but proper care in handling
and disposal of needs to be taken seriously as if it were dangerous and/or
Chapter 12: Know the Laboratory Classroom
Safety Equipment and Lab Material Locations
Prior to any lab activity or instruction, the instructor will go over locations of
safety equipment. Students should record this in their laboratory notebooks
on the locations of items such as:
Master Shut-Off Valves or Switches
Eye Wash Station
Bucket of sand (to extinguish alkali metal fires)
Broken Glass Disposal Container
Clean-up kits for chemical spills, bodily fluids, pathogenic bacteria,
DNA, and mercury
First Aid Kit
Emergency Procedures and Telephone Numbers list
Location of another lab technician
Chapter 13: Emergency Actions, When to Call 911
When to Call
There are several things that could go wrong in a laboratory setting that
could harm, injure, or cause serious life threatening problems to its users.
Knowing how to handle an emergency is crucial and important to help
those who need emergency assistance.
All incidents (no matter how minor) must be reported to the instructor or
laboratory staff. All incidents must be documented.
The following are the circumstances that require a call to 911:
• Chemical spill on a person(s)
• Chemicals in someone’s eyes
• Fire (whether it is equipment that is on fire that cannot be controlled
or a person is on fire)
• People are experiencing dizziness or nausea
• Someone is having an allergic reaction
• Someone is bitten or scratched by an animal
• If someone has to use the shower
Information to Know
When calling 911, inform the operator of:
• The accident you are reporting
• Address of the school
• Lab room number
• Directions on how to find the room
• Information about the person(s) requiring assistance
While someone is calling 911, someone should run to the school office to
inform office staff/administrators of the situation and that medical help has
been contacted and will be arriving at the school.
Chapter 14: Attendance and Make-up Work Policy
Since supplies and time is limited, lab experiments and activities can only
be carried out on the day that they are scheduled to be conducted. Labs
cannot be made up. Attendance/Participation is very crucial part of the
grade in the class.
If a lab is missed, and a student has an excused absence then that lab
activity will be excused. The student however, is responsible for obtaining
any lab notes and results from lab partners and to discuss anything that
was gone over.
If a lab is missed, and a student has an unexcused absence then that lab
activity will be graded as a zero. The student is still responsible for
obtaining any lab notes and result. To make-up for this “zero,” the student
can earn credit for doing other work. Options will be presented at time
when a student has an unexcused absence.
Material from this Science Safety Guide was completed and produced from
memory of personal laboratory experiences. Help with more specific details
and ideas were obtained from the following sources:
Council of State Science Supervisors. Science and Safety: Making a
Flinn Scientific. www.flinnsci.com
Hawaii Pacific University. Science Safety Laboratory Guidelines (revised
More guidelines and information will be given throughout the school year,
use this space to add any addition resources that are given to be referred
to or specific information handouts that can be stapled to the back of this
I have read the following pages and am aware of the importance of science
safety and how laboratory behavior must be. I am also aware that more
guidelines, procedures and rules can be added at anytime and that I must
follow them as well. I also know my parents can be contacted in regards to
any misbehavior in the lab.
Student Name Printed: _________________________________
Student Name Signature: _______________________________
I have gone over the following safety rules of the science classroom with
my son/daughter. I am aware that if they do not follow lab procedures and
policies that they could be removed from the classroom and will not receive
a grade for that particular lab. I also realize that my child may not be able to
return to the laboratory based on the severity of their actions.
Parent Name Printed: __________________________________
Parent Name Signature: ________________________________
Date Signed: _________________________________________
Phone Number: _______________________________________