Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by Awais Aftab
Your science laboratory can be the place where you can propel your dreams or where you shut down your goals. It all comes down to safety. If you’re lucky, you’re using non-invasive reagents. For those working with corrosive, toxic, and dangerous chemicals, adhering to certain practices will make the difference between working in a safe environment and exposing yourself to the dangers of laboratory chemicals.
Let’s look at some practical ways of handling lab chemicals to avoid accidents:
- Store all chemicals in their original packaging: this will avoid confusion which will likely result in an accident. Never use unmarked chemicals.
- Closed all chemical containers: Even when in use, take your reagent for use and tightly close the main container. Leaving it open increases the risk of spilling.
- Never store mixdrive, spatulas, tongs, and other objects in chemical containers as they may cause unwanted reactions, especially if contaminated with other chemicals.
- Place your cork stoppers on a clean surface to avoid contamination.
- If you need to move multiple reagents, avoid carrying them with your hands. Use appropriate buckets and trolleys to reduce the risk of falling.
- When pouring chemicals from the bottles, do it with the labels facing up. This will prevent the chemical from spilling into the label and spoiling it.
- When diluting concentrated acids, pour the acid into the water instead of vice versa to avoid a vigorous reaction.
A laboratory is the only place where chemical work may be done. Therefore, the workplace must be set up to accommodate the tasks carried out there with the necessary furnishings and equipment. In case of any accidents, immediately inform the people in charge of the laboratory so appropriate action can be taken. Call 911 in case of a serious emergency.
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What is the correct way of handling chemicals?
Handling chemicals safely is paramount to ensure the well-being of individuals and the environment. The correct way of handling chemicals begins with proper storage. Chemicals must be stored in appropriate containers clearly labeled with the chemical’s name, hazard warnings, and any necessary handling instructions. The storage area should be well-ventilated, dry, and cool to minimize the risk of chemical reactions, spills, or fires.
When handling chemicals, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and lab coats is crucial. PPE helps reduce exposure to hazardous substances, which can cause severe health problems, including respiratory issues, skin irritation, and even cancer. Additionally, ensuring that the workplace has an eyewash station and a safety shower in case of emergencies is essential.
It is also essential to follow proper procedures when handling chemicals. This includes reading the label and safety data sheet (SDS) before use, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and using the appropriate tools and equipment. Never mix different chemicals unless instructed, as this can result in dangerous chemical reactions.