Code of Practice in a Laboratory
The following is a set of rules you should follow while working in a laboratory:
1. Always wear the required protective clothing.
2. Make sure you know the positions of the main valves or switches for controlling supplies of water, gas and electricity to the laboratory.
3. Make sure that you know the locations of telephones, fire alarms, first aid kit, fire extinguishers, and other safety equipment and that you know how to use them.
4. Never eat, drink or smoke in a laboratory. Also don't store food or drink in a laboratory. Eating, drinking or storing food in a laboratory may result in contamination by chemicals or bacteria. Smoking is prohibited in laboratory due to following reasons :
i) It may cause a fire accident, especially while flammable solvents are stored.
ii) Minute particles in smoke may interfere with or spoil purity, chemical processes and electronic parts.
iii) Hot zone of a lighted cigarette may help in the formation of poisonous substances in presence of some chemicals.
5. Don't look into the mouth of a test tube or flask while you are heating it or adding reagents. Never point test tubes at other persons.
6. Before using flammable solvents, check that all bunsen burners are put out and that there are no naked flames. Remember to warn everyone near the fire risk area.
7. Inform other lab staff and teachers regarding any breakage, faulty equipment and any other defects immediately.
8. Wipe off any spilled chemicals immediately, especially corrosive acid or alkali and mercury.
9. Do not run or play about in laboratories.
10. Make sure you know the nature of the substances you handle. Do not handle materials or operate apparatus that you do not fully understand.
11. Keep in cupboards the apparatus that is not immediately used. Do not allow organic solvents to accumulate in the laboratory.
12. Do not sniff materials that may be toxic and never taste chemicals or eat seeds or parts of plants provided for biological studies.
13. Always use a fume cupboard for transferring highly toxic substances or for carrying out experiments that may produce harmful gases. Operations considered hazardous should be carried out only in rooms set aside for the purpose and ensure that you can get assistance, if required.
14. Always label containers correctly with the full name and concentration of the contents.
15. Never try to stop or slow down a centrifuge with your hands. The speed at the outer edge may be greater than 150 kilometer per hour (or 90 kilometer per hour at least).
16. While diluting strong acids, add the acid in small amounts at a time with stirring, to water. Do not add water to acid.
17. Always use safety bulbs when pipetting.
18. Do not charge batteries close to naked flames.
19. Always wash your hands before leaving the laboratory.
20. Passage between benches must be kept clear to permit evacuation during emergency. The exits and the access to switches must be kept clear.
21. Storage of materials behind and above benches must be avoided.
22. Do not allow undergraduate students work in labs without supervisory staff.
23. Always exercise care when opening and closing doors of the laboratory.
24. Ensure that your footwear is adequate for the lab work. Open toed shoes or sandals offer no protection against injury.
25. Long hair, ties and loose jewellery could be a problem during laboratory work due to possibilities of entanglement in a moving mechanical equipment or trailing over contaminated surface on the work bench.
26. Make sure you know the emergency procedures and emergency exit routes of your laboratory.
27. Ensure that the doorways and emergency exits are not obstructed with trolleys, furniture etc.