If you perform any labs for a Scholars Online science course, you agree to read and follow the safety procedures below and in the individual labs. We will try to provide labs with minimal risk, but there is no way Scholars Online or its tutors can verify the suitability of equipment unseen or the proper adherence to safe procedures. Parents must agree to accept responsibility for their children during labs, and to provide adequate supervision. After you have read this, please fill out and send the lab permission letter to me.
- Always read all instructions and safety precautions for each lab carefully. Different lab procedures require different precautions.
- Practice good lab safety even when working with common household food chemicals: think like a chemist when doing labs, and like a cook when cooking. Sloppy habits can lead to disaster.
- If you don't understand the instructions, ask for more information!
- Read the warning labels on all supplies you use.
- Work where there is adequate lighting and ventilation.
- Never taste, touch, or smell chemicals unless specifically instructed to do so.
- Flush with water and rinse off any chemicals you spill on yourself.
- Store your equipment and chemicals properly. If necessary, lock them up!
- Always wear safety glasses if you do not normally wear glasses.
- If possible, purchase and keep nearby a small fire extinguisher rated for liquid fires and electrical fires (5 B:C). Learn how to use it! Otherwise, at least keep a small bucket of sand, or a box of baking soda handy. NEVER pour water on a fire near any electrical wiring or on any burning liquid.
- Tie back long hair and never wear loose clothing when working on a lab.
- Hot glass looks like cold glass. Always be careful when handling glass that has been heated. Use an appropriate handle, such as a test tube clamp, or heat-resistant gloves.
- Always be careful with sources of heat. Candles and alcohol lamps can overturn.
- Store flammables (filter paper, volatile chemicals) away from open flame.
- Never leave a heat source unattended.
- Always pour acids slowly into water. Never pour water into concentrated acids.
- Dispose of waste chemicals safely. Check your community guidelines for hazardous waste disposal. If you can, store any chemical wastes which the HWD facilities will accept in glass containers with lids, and take them to the disposal center.
- Always clean up spills promptly. Dilute corrosive chemicals with water first. Add baking soda to acids, and vinegar to bases to neutralize them before mopping up.
- When disposing of acids or bases, neutralize them first in a large container, then dilute with water. You may then flush them down the toilet.
- Never pour or scoop directly from your primary supply into your experimental equipment. You always run the risk of polluting your supply (this is especially important if your supply is your household cooking stock!) Always take a small amount in an appropriate container from the supply area back to your work area. Do not return leftovers to your food stocks.
- In experiments which call for combining water with other chemicals, always use distilled water. Tap water contains minerals and chlorine which can contaminate your results.
- When heating chemicals, avoid putting your face over the container opening.
- Don't make up your own experiments. Follow the instructions given here for assigned labs; refer to a good lab manual for any other experiments you may want to do.
Review this list frequently.
If you have any questions about safety procedures for a specific lab, contact Christe McMenomy before continuing.