Plant Detectives Manual: a research-led approach for teaching plant science
Appendix A: General rules for safety and conduct
Safety in the laboratory is both an individual and management responsibility. As an individual you must observe the following general rules which have been extracted from Australian Standard 2243, Part 1 — 1982, ‘Safety in laboratories Part 1 — general’ (1982:6), published by the Standards Association of Australia. In addition, all students must wear protective clothing, appropriate footwear (not thongs), and safety glasses where appropriate.
- Never adopt a casual attitude in the laboratory.
- Never run in the laboratory or along corridors and do not indulge in horseplay.
- Minimise clutter on the workbenches and the floor beneath the benches. Please place your personal gear (e.g., bags and jackets) on the benches at the back of the laboratory.
- Ensure that clothing is suitable for the laboratory:
- wear covered, non-slip footwear — no thongs, sandals or scuffs
- do not wear loose clothing, particularly scarves
- wear a laboratory coat for the duration of the class during any laboratories where you may be affected by chemical spills
- ensure that long hair is tied back
- do not wear earphones of any sort
- gloves are worn to protect your skin from contact with hazardous chemicals. Dispose of gloves immediately after they come in contact with chemicals as the glove matrix will break down. Also remove gloves before touching clean objects, such as pens, benches or door handles to prevent the spread of hazardous substances
- contact lenses should not be used when working in the laboratory as they are known to absorb chemicals and concentrate them on the surface of the eyes. We recommend eye glasses are worn instead
- safety glasses must be worn at all times.
- Do not handle or consume food or drink in laboratories.
- Mobile phones should be turned off before the class and not handled until after the class (after hands have been washed).
- Never undertake any work unless you are aware of the potential hazards of the operation. Take note of these hazards and follow appropriate safety precautions. Regard all substances as hazardous unless there is definite information to the contrary. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for full information.
- Do not work alone in a laboratory; a second person should always be within call.
- Please notify a member of staff immediately of breakages or spillages.
- In case of a spill get help immediately. Wash contaminated skin with water for 20 minutes, do not use soap or solvents to remove chemicals (unless advised to do so). Know where the eyewash and emergency showers are located.
- Always use safety carriers for transporting glass or plastic containers with a capacity of 2 litres or greater. Exercise particular caution when carrying containers of mutually reactive substances.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after any work in the laboratory.
- Exercise care when opening and closing doors and entering or leaving the laboratory.