You should always make sure to use the proper clothing while working with chemicals. Science can work in strange ways and it’s important to wear clothing that protects your body from unexpected reactions.
You should always wear shoes and make sure that they are closed toed and cover your feet entirely. Make sure that you wear socks along with your shoes that offer the most protection in case of spills or other dangerous chemicals that could burn the skin.
Pants should be worn that cover your legs and a lab coat that will protect you from burns or irritation. Goggles are extremely important in order to cover your eyes in case of splattering chemicals that are mixed together which may cause a strange reaction.
Jewelry such as bracelets or necklaces should not be worn because it can come in contact with your experiment. If you have longer hair you should also consider putting it up in a ponytail so that it doesn’t fall down and alter the results of your experiment or damage your hair.
Accidents can be very dangerous when you are working with combusting chemicals and you should always follow directions to avoid damage to equipment or yourself. Refer to the directions that are given to you unless you know what will happen and avoid relying strictly on memory while working with strong chemicals.
Another very important step is to make sure that you give your experiment the proper clean-up. Wash everything that has come in contact with chemicals; the table or desk, beakers, stirring instruments, test tubes, and everything else.
Wash your hands thoroughly including all parts of the skin that come in contact with chemicals. If you have spilt any of the chemicals onto your clothing, hair, jewelry, or anything else, wash it immediately.
Dealing with chemicals can be dangerous and you should never do it alone. Make sure that you always have someone to refer to and ask questions if you are unsure what is safe.
Using all of your senses is important to know if something is working correctly. If directions for an experiment instruct you to sniff a chemical to test it, make sure you do this indirectly by using your hand to gently fan the air above the chemical towards your nose.
If you’re working in a lab where experiments are made on a frequent basis make sure that you have an eyewash station in case of emergency. If chemicals get into your eyes it can be severe and blinding.
Make sure to keep your work area clean and clear of anything other than your supplies. Food and drinks or other materials should be kept in another area until you are finished with the experiment.
Before you start working on an experiment make sure you know what you are dealing with. Research is a key step to experimenting with chemicals, otherwise you may find yourself in trouble.
Being prepared for emergencies is something that should be done before you begin. If you are in a classroom setting it may be state law that the school supplies injury prevention.
Make sure that the teacher is immediately notified of any injuries that may have occurred during an experiment, and always follow their direction. If you are in your home you should make sure that supplies are available in case of emergency.
Always have the correct emergency numbers on had in case of an accident. Poison control and the emergency authority in your area should be two numbers that you should always have on hand.
By keeping your work area clean and clear is one of the basic steps to staying safe. Make sure to stay organized and remember to have fun!
Jack R. Landry has worked since 1987 selling laboratory products and supplies to various labs and schools across the country. He has written hundreds of articles about lab supplies.
Jack R. Landry