Lab Safety Dos and Don’ts for Students

by carolinastaff
lab safety

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


Science labs offer great opportunities for learning, teaching, and research. They also pose hazards that require proper safety precautions.
  • 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.
706335 Nitrile Disposable Gloves
646704A Safety Goggles
706244 Lab Aprons
706250 Black Rubberized Laboratory Aprons

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