The chemistry laboratory staff has made every effort to eliminate the use of explosive, highly toxic, and carcinogenic substances from the experiments which you will perform. Nevertheless, there is a certain unavoidable hazard associated with the use of a variety of chemicals and glassware. You are expected to BE A PROFESSIONAL and adhere to certain safety guidelines to preserve your life and that of the people you may be working near. To ensure that the safety guidelines are not forgotten after a few weeks, safety precautions relevant to specific experiments will be announced during the prelab if a potential danger exists. The standard guidelines for chemistry experiments in general are:
1. Safety goggles must be worn at all times while in the laboratory. This rule must be followed whether you are actually working on an experiment or simply writing in your lab notebook. You must wear safety goggles provided by the chemistry department. Contact lenses are not allowed. Even when worn under safety goggles, various fumes may accumulate under the lens and cause serious injuries or blindness.
2. Closed toe shoes and long pants must be worn in the lab. Sandals and shorts are not allowed.
3. Long hair must be tied back when using open flames.
4. Eating, drinking, and smoking are strictly prohibited in the laboratory.
5. Never taste anything. Never directly smell the source of any vapor or gas; instead by means of your cupped hand, waft a small sample to your nose. Do not inhale these vapors but take in only enough to detect an odor if one exists.
6. Coats, backpacks, etc., should not be left on the lab benches and stools. There is a hook rack along the back wall at either end of the lab.
7. Learn where the safety and first-aid equipment is located. This includes fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and eye-wash stations.
8. Notify the instructor immediately in case of an accident. Do not panic.
9. Know what chemicals you are using. Carefully read the label twice before taking anything from a bottle. Excess reagents are never to be returned to stock bottles. If you take too much, dispose of the excess.
10. Many common reagents, for example, alcohols and acetone, are highly flammable. Do not use them anywhere near open flames.
11. Always pour acids into water. If you pour water into acid, the heat of reaction will cause the water to explode into steam, sometimes violently, and the acid will splatter.
12. If chemicals come into contact with your skin or eyes, flush immediately with copious amounts of water and consult with your instructor.
13. Never point a test tube or any vessel that you are heating at yourself or your neighbor--it may erupt like a geyser.
14. Dispose of chemicals properly. Waste containers will be provided and their use will be explained by your instructor. Unless you are explicitly told otherwise, assume that only water may be put in the lab sinks.
15. Notify the instructor in case of broken glassware or mercury spills. Do not try to clean this up yourself, glass has to go in a designated container and mercury has to be handled and recycled by qualified personnel.