It’s a big digital world out there. Gone are the days of nine planets and zero Internets. Each year, there are more people studying sciences, engineering, and other fields that take them into laboratory settings. As such, it is important for any lab to make safety rules exceedingly, extremely clear. Everyone in the lab needs to have their goggles, chemical and waterproof gloves, big white safety coats, and common sense at all times.
Here are some rules to keep in mind and maybe post on a wall somewhere.
The Rules of the Lab:
- The Lab is Not a Kitchen.
That means no eating, no drinking, no gum, no cough drops, no chapstick, no chewing on pencils, no biting your nails, and in fact, no biting your lip, either just in case. This is for your own good, since you would rather not eat something that has been dipped in a chemical bath by mistake.
- Write It Down.
Everything. Write it down. Get yourself a pencil (but remember, you can’t chew on it) and a notebook and track your progress and behavior in the lab at all times. Two reasons: A) it will keep you focused on disciplined, and B) it will help you and your instructors track down your inevitable catastrophic mistakes.
- Everything is Epidemic.
Even when it’s not, treat everything like it’s pandemic, epidemic, endemic .. whichever emic scares you the most. Good microbiological practice dictates that samples should be handled with standard procedures, such as autoclave sterilization or bleach rinsing.
- Everything is Flammable.
Just pretend that everything can go boom. That means that flammables (or inflammables, which are the same thing) should be kept as far away from the Bunsen burners as the lab safely allows. Keep alcohol beakers far away from flames even when using them to sterilize tools.
- Proper Safety Gear No Excuses.
Your fashion sense is not a lab priority. Get yourself proper laboratory safety gear and wear it at all times in the lab.
- Clean From The Edge.
Cleaning starts from the outside, not the inside. Starting carefully from the edge of any spill, wipe inwards and if the spill is chemical, use appropriate gear and gloves over a handful of Brawny.
- Electricity and Water MORTAL ENEMIES.
All areas around electrical equipment need to be kept extremely dry. Aquarium settings are an obvious exception, but still, be careful, alright?
- Check water with a thermometer.
You’ll often have to reach into water, in certain lab experiments. Check the temperature before you reach in.
- Clean â€œcleanâ€? glassware anyway.
If it looks clean, it should still be cleaned. It might have the residue of some clear chemical left by a careless collegiate who got carried away. (Alliterations are fun!)
- Dispose of Sharps Properly They Are Pointy and Ouchy.
Ouchy is a very technical term. In short, it means that if it’s pointy think needles, razors, toothpicks you should dispose of it in something with really tough sides. Metal or hard plastic canisters come to mind.
- Bonus Rule Have Fun.
All jokes aside, science is fun. Go discover something.