Laboratories are dangerous places at the best of times, and careless people can easily cause an accident. That is why there are a lot of lab safety rules to learn. All of them exist for a reason, and it is vital to follow them, but there are a few that are especially common, important, and easy to remember.
Restrain Your Hair
People with long hair should wear it up to keep it from drooping down into chemicals or catching on fire. A ponytail is usually good enough, but it is even safer to keep it pinned higher on the head.
Most labs have a fairly standard dress code that is designed to keep people safe if they have an accident. It is generally a good idea to cover as much skin as possible, which includes wearing gloves and shoes with closed toes. Some labs have additional requirements, such as avoiding synthetic textiles if there is a risk of fire. All of the rules are important, so everyone needs to follow them as closely as possible.
Wear the Glasses
Human eyes are remarkably fragile things. Shrapnel from broken glassware, chemicals, and plenty of other hazards can all cause permanent damage. Most labs require their workers to wear safety glasses at all times to provide a basic layer of protection. This is important even for people who wear prescription glasses because safety glasses offer more coverage. Keep the glasses on at all times unless the lab instructor says it is safe to take them off.
Read Twice, Act One
Mistakes often come from misunderstanding instructions. It is always a good idea to read through things more than once to make sure you understand them. It takes a little longer, but it is still quicker than fixing a mistake or dealing with an injury.
Find the Safety Gear
Your lab is likely to have an eyewash station, fountains, and other tools that can get dangerous chemicals off of you quickly if they spill. You should memorize all of their locations and how to use them before you get started, just in case you need to use them quickly after an accident.
You should always ask for clarifications if you don’t understand the instructions or if you are not sure how to use a tool in the lab. Your lab teacher should be able to explain anything that you do not understand, and it is always better to ask them than to risk making a mistake. If you do spill chemicals or have any other accident, make sure that they know immediately so that you can get help dealing with it.