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Safety requirements in chemistry lab
Chemistry Materials from Ray Tedder

Safety is the most important concern in a chemistry class.  Safety rules will be enforced strictly!

Preparing for a Safe Lab:
Confusion and ignorance lead to unsafe behavior.  As such, certain rules will be followed in order for students to participate in a lab.  If these rules are not followed, the student will not be allowed to participate in a lab and the student will be given a grade of 0.
Prior to coming to class on the day that a lab has been scheduled, students must outline all of the lab procedures in their lab notebook.  This is to insure that students have familiarized themselves with the procedures.  Also, before coming to class on the day that a lab has been scheduled, the hazards for all chemicals to used in the lab must be outlined in the the student's lab notebook.  Students are required to obtain safety information from the internet and are encouraged to use the MSDS sheets on the JT Baker website < > to obtain this information.  Students who do not have access to the internet at home will be provided computer access in the classroom.  This outline must include:  
  • The entire "Emergency Overview" from the JT Baker MSDS for each chemical.
  • A summary of any hazards that could occur in a lab setting from the "Potential Health Effects" section of the JT Baker MSDS for each chemical.  If a JT Baker MSDS is not available for thhis chemical, then the same kind of information must be obtained from an MSDS for this chemical from another source.
  • A summary of any fire or explosion hazards that could occur in a lab setting from the "Fire Fighting Measures" section of the JT Baker MSDS for each chemical.   If a JT Baker MSDS is not available for this chemical, then the same kind of information must be obtained from an MSDS for this chemical from another source.

Text of safety contract for students in Ray Tedders chemistry classes.




Science is something that a person does.  Students will be working with and around hazardous chemicals, materials, and equipment.  Safety is the top priority for students, teachers, and parents.  The rules contained in this contract must be followed at all times.


General Guidelines


1.        Students will conduct themselves in a responsible manner at all times.


2.        Students will follow all written and verbal instructions carefully. If a student does not understand a direction or part of a procedure, they will ask the instructor before going forward.


3.        Students will never work alone in a laboratory or in doing any experiments with potentially hazardous materials. No student will work in the laboratory without an instructor present.


4.        When first entering a science laboratory or room, students will not touch any equipment, chemicals, or other materials until instructed to do so.


5.        Students will not eat food, drink beverages, or chew gum in the laboratory. Students will not use laboratory glassware as containers for food or beverages.


6.        Students will only perform those experiments authorized by the instructor.  Students will not do anything in the laboratory or science classroom that is not called for in laboratory procedures or that has not been approved by the teacher.  Students will carefully follow all instructions, both written and oral. Students will perform no unauthorized experiments.   Students will not use, touch, manipulate, or smell any chemicals, equipment, or apparatus that has not been assigned to them for the specific laboratory exercise in which they are participating.


7.        Students will come to school prepared for laboratory work. Students will read all procedures thoroughly before coming to  the laboratory.  Students will not fool around in the laboratory.  Students will not participate not tolerate horseplay, practical jokes, and pranks in the science classroom or laboratory.


8.        Students will observe good housekeeping practices.  Work areas will be kept clean and tidy at all times.  Students will bring only those items that they have been instructed to bring to the laboratory work area. 


9.        Students will always bring their lab notebooks to the work area.  Students will not participate in lab work where hazardous materials are use unless they have outlined the hazards of all materials and their lab  instructions in their approved laboratory notebook.  Other materials (books, purses, backpacks, etc.) should be stored in the classroom area.


10.      Students will keep aisles clear.  Stools and chairs will be pushed under a desk, table, or lab bench when not in use.


11.      Before participating in any laboratory exercise or experiments, students will know the locations and operating procedures of all safety equipment including: the first aid kit, eyewash station, safety shower, fire extinguisher, and fire blanket.  Students will know where the fire alarm and the exits are located.


12.      Students will always work in a well-ventilated area.  Students will properly use fume hoods when working with volatile substances or poisonous vapors. Students who do not understand the proper use of a fume hood will seek guidance from the lab instructor before proceeding.  Students will never place their heads into the fume hood.


13.      Students will be alert and proceed with caution at all times in the laboratory.  Students will notify the instructor immediately of any unsafe conditions that they observe.


14.      Students will dispose of all chemical waste properly.  Students will not mix chemicals in sink drains. Sinks are to be used only for water and those solutions designated by the instructor.  Solid chemicals, metals, matches, filter paper, and all other insoluble materials are to be disposed of in the proper waste containers, not in the sink. Students will check the label of all waste containers twice before adding chemical waste to that container.


15.      Students will read all labels and equipment instructions carefully before using them.  Students will set up and use only the apparatus prescribed by the instructor and will only use as directed by the instructor.


16.      Students will keep their hands away from their face, eyes, mouth and body while using chemicals.  Students will wash their hands with soap and water after performing all experiments. Students will clean (with detergent), rinse, and wipe dry all work surfaces (including the sink) and apparatus at the end of the experiment.  Students will return all equipment clean and in working order to the proper storage area.


17.      Students will never leave an experiment while it is in progress.  Students will be assigned a laboratory station at which to work.  Students will not wander around the room, talk to other students in other lab groups, or interfere with the laboratory experiments of others.


18.      Students are never permitted in the science storage rooms or preparation areas unless given specific permission by their instructor.


19.      Students will familiarize themselves with fire drill procedures and will educate themselves as to which containers must be closed, gas valves turned off, fume hoods turned off, and any electrical equipment turned off.


20.      When using knives and other sharp instruments, students will always carry with tips and points pointing down and away.  Students will always cut away from their body.  Students will not try to catch falling sharp instruments.  Students will grasp sharp instruments only by the handles.




1.        Any time chemicals, heat, or glassware are used, students will wear laboratory goggles. There will be no exceptions to this rule!


2.        Students will not wear contact lenses in the laboratory unless you have permission from your instructor.  Note: Permission will NOT be given unless a parent or guardian has correctly filled out a permission form for you to use contacts in lieu of glasses in labs.


3.        Students will dress properly during a laboratory activity.  Long hair, dangling jewelry, and loose or baggy clothing are a hazard in the laboratory.  Long hair must be tied back and dangling jewelry and loose or baggy clothing must be secured.  Shoes must completely cover the foot. No sandals are allowed.


4.        Lab aprons or coats have been provided for use and students will wear them during laboratory activities.


Accidents and Injuries


1.        Students will report any accident (spill, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the instructor immediately, no matter how trivial it may appear.  Students will not touch and will immediately move away from any spills or broken glass.


2.        If a student or lab partner is hurt, students will immediately yell out "Code one, Code one" to get the instructor's attention.


3.        If a chemical should splash in a students eye(s) or on your skin, they will immediately flush with running water from the eyewash station or safety shower for at least 20 minutes.  Students will notify the instructor immediately.


4.        When mercury thermometers or any other device containing mercury is broken, mercury must not be touched. Students will move away from the area and notify the instructor immediately.


Handling Chemicals


1.        All chemicals in the laboratory are to be considered dangerous. Students will not touch, taste, or smell any chemicals unless specifically instructed to do so. Students will only smell chemicals using the procedure demonstrated to you by the instructor.


2.        Students will check the label on chemical bottles twice before removing any of the contents. Students will take only as much chemical as is needed.


3.        Students will not return unused chemicals to their original containers.


4.        Students will not use mouth suction to fill a pipet. Students will use a rubber bulb or pipet pump to fill a pipet.


5.        When transferring reagents from one container to another, students will hold the containers away from their body.


6.        Acids must be handled with extreme care. Students will be shown the proper method for diluting strong acids if it is necessary and will follow that procedure.  Always add acid to water, swirl or stir the solution and be careful of the heat produced, particularly with sulfuric acid.


7.        Students will handle flammable hazardous liquids over a pan to contain spills.  Students will never dispense flammable liquids anywhere near an open flame or source of heat.


8.        Students will never remove chemicals or other materials from the laboratory area.


9.        Students will take great care when transferring acids and other chemicals from one part of the laboratory to another.  Students will hold them securely and walk carefully.


Handling Glassware and Equipment


1.        Students will carry glass tubing, especially long pieces, in a vertical position to minimize the likelihood of breakage and injury.


2.        Students will never handle broken glass with your bare hands.  If any glassware is broken, students will immediately call the teacher.  Students will only clean up broken glassware if instructed to do so by the teacher.  If the teacher instructs students to clean up the broken glass, students will use a brush and dustpan to clean up broken glass.  Students will only place broken or waste glassware in the designated glass disposal container.


3.        Inserting and removing glass tubing from rubber stoppers can be dangerous.  If it becomes necessary to insert or remove glass tubing from a stopper, students will call the teacher.  If the teacher instructs students to remove or insert glass tubing from a stopper, students will use an inserter or will lubricate the glassware (tubing, thistle tubes, thermometers, etc.) before attempting to insert it in a stopper.  Students will always protect their hands with towels or cotton gloves when inserting glass tubing into, or removing it from, a rubber stopper.  If a piece of glassware becomes "frozen" in a stopper, students will take it to their lab teacher for removal.


4.        Students will fill wash bottles with distilled water ONLY and use only as intended, e.g., rinsing glassware and equipment, or adding water to a container.


5.        When removing an electrical plug from its socket, students will grasp the plug, not the electrical cord. Students must completely dry their hands before touching an electrical switch, plug, or outlet.


6.        Students will examine glassware before each use.  Students will not use chipped or cracked glassware.  Students will report any chipped or cracked glassware to the teacher.  Students will not use dirty glassware.  Students will thoroughly clean all dirty glassware regardless of whether they were responsible for soiling it. 


7.        Students will report damaged electrical equipment immediately.  Students should look for things such as frayed cords, exposed wires, and loose connections and report any that they find to their teacher.  Students will not use damaged electrical equipment.


8.        If students do not understand how to use a piece of equipment, they will ask the lab teacher for help.


9.        Students will not immerse hot glassware in cold water (it may shatter).


Heating Substances


1.        Students will exercise extreme caution when using gas burners.  Students will take care that hair, clothing, and hands are a safe distance from the flame at all times.  Students will not put any substance into the flame unless specifically instructed to do so by the teacher.  Students will not reach over an exposed flame.  Students will light gas (or alcohol) burners only as instructed by the teacher.


2.        Students will not leave a lit burner unattended.  Students will not leave anything that is being heated or is visibly reacting unattended.  Students will always turn the burner or hot plate off when not in use.


3.        Students will follow the proper procedure for heating and boiling liquids. Students will not point the open end of a heated test tube at anyone.


4.        Heated metals and glass remain very hot for a long time.  Students will set aside heated objects to cool and will only pick them up with caution.  Students will use tongs or heat-protective gloves if necessary.


5.        Students will not look into a container that is being heated.


6.        Students will not place hot equipment directly on a laboratory table.  Students will always place a hot apparatus on an insulating pad.  Students will allow plenty of time for hot equipment to cool before touching it.


7.      Students will bend glass only when instructed to do so by their teacher.  When bending glass, students will allow time for the glass to cool before further handling.  Hot and cold glass have the same visual appearance.  Students will determine if an object is hot by bringing the back of their hand close to it prior to grasping it.

If you have any concerns or questions about the materials on this page, please contact Ray Tedder.  Email address: