Biology lab safety rules are guidelines designed to help keep you safe when experimenting. Some equipment and chemicals in a biology laboratory can cause serious harm. It is always wise to follow all lab safety rules. Don’t forget, the most helpful safety rule is to use plain old common sense.
The following biology lab safety rules are a sample of the most basic rules that should be followed when in a biology lab.
Most labs have the safety rules posted in a visible place and your instructor will most likely go over them with you before you begin working.
1. Be Prepared
Before you enter a biology lab, you should be prepared for and knowledgeable about any lab exercises that are to be performed. That means you should read your lab manual to know exactly what you will be doing.
Review your biology notes and relevant sections in your biology book before your lab begins. Make sure you understand all procedures and purposes, as this will help you understand the lab activities you will perform. It will also help you get your thoughts organized for when you have to write your lab report.
2. Be Neat
When working in a biology lab, make sure you keep your area neat and organized. If you happen to spill something, ask for assistance when cleaning it up. Also, remember to clean your work area and wash your hands when you are finished.
3. Be Careful
An important biology lab safety rule is to be careful. You may be working with glass or sharp objects, so you don’t want to handle them carelessly.
4. Wear Proper Clothing
Accidents do happen in a biology lab. Some chemicals have the potential to damage clothing. With that in mind, you want to make sure that the clothing you wear is something you could do without if it becomes damaged.
As a precaution, wearing an apron or lab coat is a good idea.
You will also want to wear proper shoes that can protect your feet in case something gets broken. Sandals or any type of open-toed shoes are not recommended.
5. Be Cautious With Chemicals
The best way to remain safe when dealing with chemicals is to assume that any chemical you handle is dangerous. Be sure you understand what type of chemicals you are using and how they should be properly handled.
If any chemical comes in contact with your skin, wash immediately with water and inform your lab instructor. Wear protective eyewear when handling chemicals, which brings us to the next rule.
6. Wear Safety Goggles
Safety goggles may not be the most fashion-forward accessory and can fit awkwardly on your face, but they should always be worn when you are working with chemicals or any type of heating apparatus.
7. Locate Safety Equipment
Be sure you know where to find all safety equipment in the biology lab. This includes such items as the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, broken glass receptacles, and chemical waste containers. Also be sure you know where all the emergency exits are located and which exit route to take in case of an emergency.
8. Biology Lab Don’ts
There are several things in a biology lab that you must always avoid—here are a few major laboratory don’ts.
- eat or drink in the lab
- taste any chemicals or substances you are working with
- use your mouth for pipetting substances
- handle broken glass with bare hands
- pour chemicals down the drain without permission
- operate lab equipment without permission
- perform your own experiments unless given permission
- leave any heated materials unattended
- place flammable substances near heat
- engage in childish antics such as horseplay or pranks
9. Have a Good Experience
Biology lab is an important aspect of any general biology or AP biology course. In order to have a good lab experience, make sure that you follow these biology lab safety rules and any instructions given to you by your lab instructor.