Chemistry labs can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to remember that it is still a laboratory. You’re mixing chemicals together under the supervision of your instructor and other professionals, so there are certain safety rules you need to follow.
You might be doing an online class, or you may be taking the class in person. Either way, you are required to go to a chemistry lab for practicals and better understanding. For regular in-person classes, chemistry classes are an important part of the curriculum.
However, if you are doing a general chemistry online college course, then a chemistry lab is also an important part of this type of course. In fact, most courses require their students to take at least one or two physical chemistry courses as part of their curriculum.
For students, especially those who are enrolled in online courses, it is important to perform in a chemistry lab because it helps you to learn how to carry out experiments and investigate scientific phenomena.
If you’re doing a general chemistry online college course, you’ll still have to go to the lab at some point, so these tips will help you stay safe when you are off campus as well.
Wear Safety Goggles and Gloves at All Times, and Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
In the chemistry lab, wearing safety goggles and gloves is a must.
Why? Because you don’t want to get any chemicals on your hands or in your eyes.
The chemicals used in the lab can be very dangerous if they come in contact with your skin or eyes. These chemicals can cause severe burns, blindness, or even death. That’s why it’s important that you always wear safety goggles and gloves when possible so that you don’t risk injury.
There are many benefits of wearing gloves and goggles in a chemistry lab. The benefits include, but are not limited to, safeguarding your hand skin, protecting your eyes during any untoward incident, and many more.
Moreover, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby if possible.
Chemical fires are not uncommon in chemistry labs. You may think that because you use proper safety equipment like goggles and gloves while working with chemicals, you’re safe from chemical fires, but this isn’t always the case.
Chemical fires are unpredictable and can happen at any time without warning! It’s best not to take chances by keeping a fire extinguisher nearby so that you can quickly put out any flames that may arise from accidental spillage or misuse of chemicals during an experiment.
Always Assume Every Substance Is Dangerous
Always assume every substance is dangerous. It’s not just a good idea; it’s a legal one. You can’t possibly know everything about every chemical you’re working with, so always assume that anything that goes into your body may be harmful. You should also assume that there are substances in your environment and in your lab that could be dangerous to you or others around you.
When working with chemicals, keep in mind the following:
- Know the proper use of chemical safety equipment, including goggles, gloves, and safety shoes.
- Make sure all chemicals are stored correctly (i.e., away from heat, sparks, etc.).
- Never pour chemicals down drains as they will cause problems for the water treatment system.
- Do not drink or eat after handling chemicals (even if they seem safe), as some chemicals smell like food and can make you sick if ingested.
Some recent incidents have marked the fears and safety concerns related to labs. For example, researchers are concerned that a lab explosion at a Chinese university in October 2021 resulted in the deaths of two persons.
On March 31 of that year, an explosion at the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing resulted in the death of a graduate student. Three students were killed in a lab blast at Beijing Jiaotong University in December 2018 while conducting an experiment on sewage treatment. In December 2015, a lab blast in the chemistry department at Tsinghua University in Beijing claimed the life of one student. In April 2015, a lab blast at the China University of Mining and Technology in Xuzhou claimed the life of another student. All three deaths occurred in previous lab blasts.
There, the need to take precautions and safety measures in a lab, especially a chemistry lab, is indispensable.
Handle Chemicals With Care
Chemistry lab safety is important. It’s crucial that you follow the rules while you’re in the lab – not just so you can get your grade and move on to more interesting things, but because it could help save someone else’s life. In fact, there are plenty of examples of people who have gotten seriously injured or even died because they didn’t follow the rules in a chemistry lab.
The most important rule of all is “Handle chemicals with care.” This means that you shouldn’t touch chemicals with your bare hands (or anything else) unless they are wearing gloves or long sleeves. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling chemicals to ensure no residue is left behind.
If you don’t follow these safety rules, there are a few things that can happen that would cause harm to other people in your class or even strangers on the street. For instance, you might burn yourself if you touch something hot without wearing protective gear, inhale vapors from burning chemicals too close together, and breathe in chemicals without knowing what they are.
Chemistry labs are a critical part of college life, but they can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. The above-mentioned safety tips will help you stay safe and healthy while working in a chemistry lab and keep your classmates safe as well.
Also, don’t forget to take regular breaks to stretch, get up from your workstations, and wear proper protective equipment when working with chemicals and supplies.