Lab Safety

  • Safety in the Biology Laboratory

    Laboratory work is an important part of any science class. It is a way to explore the subject first-hand and investigate in a way that you cannot do by just reading.
    However, some of the materials used in the lab can be dangerous if they are used improperly. Therefore, it is important that certain rules be followed during lab activities.


    1. Come to the lab prepared to work. This is not a recess or study hall, it is a place for investigations and explorations.

    2. Follow all instructions. The directions given by the teacher at the beginning of the lab are extremely important, and often essential to completing the activity. All written directions should be followed, in order.

    3. Perform only the experiments that are assigned by the teacher. If you would like to make some changes to the directions, you must get permission from the teacher.

    General Safety

    4. Long hair should be tied back, especially around chemicals, heat, or specimens.

    5. Safety glasses should be worn when the teacher specifies. This is especially true when chemicals are being heated.

    6. Use appropriate tools for handling hot glassware. Remember, glass doesn’t change appearance when it is hot &endash; BE CAREFUL!

    7. Never touch or taste any substance in the lab, unless the teacher tells you to.

    8. Food should never be brought into the lab.

    9. Put of solid waste in the garbage. Wash liquid waste down the drain.

    10. Clean up all spills immediately. Notify your teacher of any accidents, especially if broken glass is involved.

    11. CLEAN UP ALL WORK AREAS AT THE END OF THE LAB. No student will be allowed to leave the lab room until all areas are clean. Also, wash your hands.

    Handling Chemicals

    12. Read and double check labels before taking any.

    13. Do not return unused chemicals to the bottles.

    14. Avoid touching chemicals with your hands. Assume any chemical that you touch is harmful and should be washed off.

    Heating Substances

    15. Make sure that any container that is being heated is pointed away from other people.

    16. Never leave a substance unattended when it is being heated.

    17. Never heat a container that is stoppered closed. This can cause an explosion of broken glass.


    18. Dissection instruments are very sharp and should be handled carefully, especially when moving though the room.

    Live Specimens

    19. When performing labs with live specimens, be sure to handle them correctly and return them to the teacher promptly when finished, to avoid unnecessary suffering or death of the specimen.