Science laboratories are an important part of schools and colleges. Science lab experiments provide a better understanding of the different concepts and theories of science to students. Science labs foster interest and make science interesting and fun for kids. But science laboratories are dangerous too. Even simple mistakes can lead to serious injuries and damages. It is the duty and responsibility of school authorities to create a safe science lab environment.
There are several things that schools must do in order to create a safe lab environment for their students. Schools must ensure that all the personnel are highly trained. The teachers, supervisors, and lab assistants must possess thorough understanding of all the chemicals, hardware, and lab equipment.
They must supervise the students while they are conducting science experiments and should never leave them unattended. Science teachers should ensure that students follow each and every step as given in the science text book as small diversions can lead to major reactions.
It is important to avoid all sorts of distractions in the science laboratories. Teachers and assistants should closely monitor the students to ensure that they do not use their cell phones or listen to music while in lab. A lot of times, accidents occur because attention drifts.
Science lab wear are equally important. They help prevent fatal accidents and minimize the danger of exposure to obnoxious fumes and chemicals. Students must be made to wear laboratory coats, aprons, protective eye wear, and hand gloves when performing experiments in chemistry labs, physics labs and biology labs.
There should be an eyewash and hand wash station in every science laboratory to provide first-aid solution in case students accidentally expose their eyes or any body part to harmful chemicals. Science laboratories must be fitted with proper air ventilation to prevent fatal inhalation of toxic gases and substances.
School authorities must perform safety inspections from time to time. Lab managers must inspect all the laboratory supplies and lab safety equipment and should replace all worn out damaged equipment immediately. If any chemicals or other lab substances and supplies have expired or have aged, they must be discarded and should be replaced with safe, new, and top quality supplies.
Likewise, it is the duty of the lab assistants to check test tubes, beakers, flasks, funnels, pipettes, spoons, and other glass lab ware to ensure that they are not cracked or damaged. Cracks in glass ware can cause the chemicals to leak and may also cause the glassware to break accidentally when exposed to heat.
It is advisable that school authorities maintain records of any minor or major accidents that take place in science laboratories. By recording them and tracking them, schools can formulate the protocol that will help prevent similar instances in future and can create a safe lab environment for their students.
Follow the safety procedures discussed above to provide safe, enjoyable, and effective science laboratory environment for your students.