As a virtual student in a Biology class, you will be performing your laboratory exercises in your own home or using the computer. Therefore, some of the usual safety considerations in a classroom lab may or may not apply to you. If you are performing a lab at home for this course, you will need to consult and possibly ask an adult to be present.
It is essential that you know proper safety procedures in the event that you have an opportunity to work in a live laboratory at some point in the future.
Student Safety Tips
- Read lab materials in advance. Note all cautions (written and oral).
- Never assume an experiment is safe just because it is in print.
- Do not eat or drink in the laboratory.
- Keep personal items off the lab tables.
- Restrain long hair and loose clothing. Wear laboratory aprons when appropriate.
- Avoid all rough play and mischief in science classrooms or labs.
- Wear closed-toed shoes when conducting experiments with liquids or with heated or heavy items.
- Never use mouth suction when filling pipettes with chemical reagents.
- Avoid transferring chemicals to your face, hands, or other areas of exposed skin.
- Never force glass tubing into rubber stoppers.
- Thoroughly clean all work surfaces and equipment after each use.
- Make certain all hot plates and burners are turned off before leaving the laboratory.
Safety Equipment Regulations to Know
- Know the exact location of all appropriate safety equipment, including an emergency shower, eye-wash station, fume hood, fire blankets, and fire extinguisher. All students and teacher(s) should have and wear safety goggles and protective aprons when working in the lab.
- Proper eye protection devices are worn by everyone engaged in supervising, observing, or conducting science activities involving potential hazards to the eye.
- Protective rubber or latex gloves should be used when dissecting laboratory specimens.
- Use heat-safety items such as safety tongs, heat-resistant mitts, and aprons when handling either cold or hot materials.
- Use safety shields or screens whenever there is potential danger that an explosion or implosion might occur.
- Be aware of the presence of a bucket of 90 percent sand and 10 percent vermiculite or kitty litter (dried bentonite particles) in all rooms in which chemicals are handled or stored. The bucket must be properly labeled and have a lid that prevents other debris from contaminating the contents. This is used to dry up and or clean up chemical spills.