Chemistry Lab

RMHS Student Safety Contract

Standards of Student Conduct in the Laboratory and in the Field:

1. Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory. Frivolous activities, mischievous behavior,throwing items, and conducting pranks are prohibited.

2. Lab and safety information and procedures must be read ahead of time. All verbal and written instructions shall be followed in carrying out the activity or investigation.

3.   Eating, drinking, gum chewing, applying cosmetics, manipulating contact lenses, and other unsafe activities arenot permitted in the laboratory.

4. Working in the laboratory without the instructor present is prohibited.  The instructor will provide you with specific instructions and will monitor your activities.  If you do not understand your instructor's directions, ask for clarification.

5. Unauthorized activities or investigations are prohibited. Unsupervised work is not permitted.

6. Entering preparation or chemical storage areas is prohibited without direct authorization to do so from theinstructor.

7. Removing chemicals or equipment from the laboratory is prohibited unless authorized by the instructor.

Personal Safety:

8. Regarding goggles:  It is the law (ANSI Z87.1) that approved chemical splash goggles or safety glasses, as appropriate or directed by your instructor, shall be worn at all times in the laboratory or field, including pre-laboratory work and clean-up, unless the instructor specifically states that the activity does not require the use of chemical splash goggles or safety glasses.  All activities involving chemicals, heat, or glassware require the use of goggles.  Goggles should be worn over eyeglasses as eyeglasses offer little to no protection from chemical splashes.  Contact lenses should not be worn in the lab unless you have permission from your instructor.

9. When an activity requires the use of laboratory aprons, the apron shall be appropriate to the size of the student and the hazard associated with the activity or investigation. The apron shall remain tied throughout the activity or investigation.

10. Regarding accidents:  All accidents, chemical spills, and injuries must be reported immediately to the instructor, no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. If chemicals, including acid, are spilled on the skin or splashed in the eyes, begin flushing the affected areas with water and notify the instructor.  Follow your instructor’s directions for immediate clean-up of spills on other surfaces.    

11. Dress appropriately for laboratory work by protecting your body with clothing and shoes. This means that you should use hair ties to tie back long hair and tuck into the collar. Do not wear loose or baggy clothing or dangling jewelry on laboratory days. Acrylic nails are also a safety hazard near heat sources and should not be used. Sandals or open-toed shoes are not to be worn during any lab activities; students must always wear closed-toed shoes. Refer to pre-lab instructions. If in doubt, ask!

12. Regarding equipment:  Know how to use all equipment required of a particular experiment.  If something is not working properly, stop using it, turn it off and notify the instructor.  Know the location of all safety equipment in the room. This includes eyewash stations, the deluge shower, fire extinguishers, the fume hood, and the safety blanket. Know the location of emergency gas shut offs and exits from the building.

13. Certain classrooms may have living organisms including plants in aquaria or other containers. Students must not handle organisms without specific instructor authorization. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling organisms and plants.

14. When an activity or investigation requires the use of laboratory gloves for hand protection, the gloves shall be appropriate for the hazard and worn throughout the activity.

Specific Safety Precautions Involving Chemicals and Lab Equipment:

15. Avoid inhaling in fumes that may be generated during an activity or investigation.  To smell something, waft the fumes toward your nose.

16. Never fill pipettes by mouth suction. Always use the suction bulbs or pumps.

17. Do not force glass tubing into rubber stoppers. Use glycerin as a lubricant and hold the tubing with a towel as you ease the glass into the stopper.

18. Regarding heat and open flames:  Proper procedures shall be followed when using any heating or flame producing device especially gas burners.  Follow your instructor's specific directions regarding lighting burners and using other heating devices. Test tubes should be heated with the open end pointed away from people.  Never leave a flame unattended and never utilize an open flame near flammable materials such as alcohol.  Should a fire erupt, notify the instructor immediately.  

19. Regarding glass:  Broken glass must be cleaned up by the instructor and placed in a designated waste container rather than the regular trash.  Hot glass looks the same as cold glass. After heating, glass remains hot for a very long time. Determine if an object is hot by placing your hand close to the object but do not touch it.  Should you need to handle the hot glass, use tongs.  It is unsafe to use cracked or chipped glassware.  Always inspect glassware for chips and glass before using and never use dirty glassware.

20. Should a fire drill or other evacuation emergency occur during an investigation or activity, make sure you turn off all gas burners and electrical equipment and exit the room as directed.

21. All chemicals should be considered dangerous.  Never touch, taste, or smell chemicals without specific instructions to do so.

22. Always read the reagent bottle labels twice before you use the reagent.  Be certain the chemical you use is the correct one.  Replace the top on any reagent bottle as soon as you have finished using it and return the reagent to the designated location.

23. Do not return unused chemicals to the reagent container. Follow the instructor’s directions for the storage or disposal of these materials.

Standards for Maintaining a Safer Laboratory Environment:

24. Backpacks and books are to remain in an area designated by the instructor and shall not be brought into the laboratory area.  Chairs should be pushed in and aisles kept clear of backpacks or other items that may cause a student to trip.  

25. Never sit on laboratory tables.

26. Work areas should be kept clean and neat at all times. Work surfaces are to be cleaned at the end of each laboratory or activity.

27. Solid chemicals, metals, matches, filter papers, broken glass, and other materials designated by the instructor are to be deposited in the proper waste containers, not in the sink. Follow your instructor’s directions for disposal of waste.

28. Sinks are to be used for the disposal of water and those solutions designated by the instructor. Other solutions must be placed in the designated waste disposal containers.

29. Glassware is to be washed with hot, soapy water and scrubbed with the appropriate type and sized brush, rinsed, dried, and returned to its original location.

30. Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, and body in the lab.  Upon completion of any work in the lab, hands must be washed with soap and water.


A statement acknowledging this contract and agreeing to abide by its rules and procedures is to be signed on the course document entitled “Chemistry Course Acknowledgement” before any laboratory experiments will be allowed.


Eye Safety Memorandum

To:  Parents or guardians of chemistry students

From:  RMHS Chemistry Department

Subject:  Contact Lenses and Goggles

The Arizona Eye Safety Manual for Education warns that some types of contact lenses are conducive to serious eye damage since they may trap harmful gases and/or chemical splashes behind the lens.

Chemical splashes can be prevented.  Students are required to wear splash-proof goggles which may prevent potentially harmful substances from splashing on the eyes.  The spread of gases may not be prevented as easily.  The mixing of chemicals is an integral part of the laboratory course.  As chemicals are combined, gases may be released.  Even though goggles are worn, these gases may react with some types of contact lenses resulting in damage to the lenses and eyes.

The classroom teacher has no way to determine if your child's contact lenses constitute a risk, therefore we find it necessary to bring this important matter to your attention.  If your child wears contact lenses, we urge you to check with your eye doctor to determine if a potential risk exists and ask for advice on ways to prevent the problems.

Safety is the primary concern of all science teachers at Red Mountain.  We do not want to place any student in jeopardy.  Please complete and return the Course Acknowledgment form so we know it is safe for your child to do the required laboratory activities.