lab safety

Lab Safety Dos and Don’ts for Students

Use this handy checklist to acquaint students with safety dos and don’ts in the laboratory.


  • Do not engage in practical jokes or boisterous conduct in the laboratory.
  • Never run in the laboratory.
  • The use of personal audio or video equipment is prohibited in the laboratory
  • The performance of unauthorized experiments is strictly forbidden
  • Do not sit on laboratory benches.

General Work Procedure

  • Always perform the experiments or work precisely as directed by your instructor.
  • Immediately report any spills, accidents, or injuries to your instructor.
  • Never leave experiments while in progress.
  • Never attempt to catch a falling object.
  • Be careful when handling hot glassware and apparatus in the laboratory. Hot glassware looks just like cold glassware.
  • Never point the open end of a test tube containing a substance at yourself or others.
  • Never fill a pipette using mouth suction. Always use a pipetting device.
  • Make sure no flammable solvents are in the surrounding area when lighting a flame.
  • Do not leave lit Bunsen burners unattended.
  • Turn off all heating apparatus, gas valves, and water faucets when not in use.
  • Do not remove any equipment or chemicals from the laboratory.
  • Store coats, bags, and other personal items in designated areas.
  • Notify your instructor of any sensitivities that you may have to particular chemicals.
  • Keep the floor clear of all objects (e.g., ice, small objects, spilled liquids).


  • Keep work area neat and free of any unnecessary objects.
  • Thoroughly clean your laboratory work space at the end of the laboratory session.
  • Do not block the sink drains with debris.
  • Never block access to exits or emergency equipment.
  • Inspect all equipment for damage (cracks, defects, etc.) prior to use—do not use damaged equipment.
  • Never pour chemical waste into sink drains or wastebaskets.
  • Place chemical waste in appropriately labeled waste containers.
  • Properly dispose of broken glassware and other sharp objects (e.g., syringe needles) immediately in designated containers.
  • Properly dispose of weigh boats, gloves, filter paper, and paper towels in the laboratory.

Apparel in the Laboratory

  • Always wear appropriate eye protection (i.e., chemical splash goggles) in the laboratory.
  • Wear disposable gloves, as provided in the laboratory, when handling hazardous materials. Remove the gloves before exiting the laboratory.
  • Wear a full-length, long-sleeved laboratory coat or chemical-resistant apron.
  • Wear shoes that adequately cover the whole foot. Low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles are preferable. Do not wear sandals, open-toed shoes, open-backed shoes, or high-heeled shoes.
  • Avoid wearing shirts exposing the torso, shorts, or short skirts; long pants that completely cover the legs are preferable.

Additional Reading: Lab Safety: Teacher Responsibilities

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