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WORKING IN THE LABORATORY
Do not enter the laboratory unless your teacher is present.
When you do come into the laboratory walk to your place calmly. If you run you are sure to bump into someone - and if he is carrying equipment there could be an accident.
At your place take out your writing materials, file and text book. Put your bag under the bench and put your coat out of the way in a clean area. Do not leave anything lying beside your bench; someone is sure to fall over it.
Always wear a white laboratory jacket made of cotton. This is most important as the laboratory jacket will stop your clothes from getting dirty or burnt.
If you have long hair make sure that you have an elastic band or a hair clip to tie it back. This will help to keep it out of the way which is much safer.
Wear safety spectacles to protect your eyes when you are using chemicals such as acids and when you are boiling liquids or heating solids.
On your bench you find a water tap and a sink.
The laboratory is not as clean as a cafeteria, so do not drink from the taps in the laboratory. Also do not eat in the laboratory. After you have been doing practical work, especially if you have been handling animals or chemicals, wash your hands carefully.
You will also find a gas tap on your bench. This is for use with the Bunsen burner. Sometimes you will need to heat things and that is what the Bunsen burner is used for. Your teacher will show you how to use one properly. When you are not using a Bunsen burner the gas tap should be turned off all the time.
The main gas tap, which you will find in each laboratory, should be switched off too.
The third thing that you will find on your bench is an electricity socket.
This is found at the other end of the bench to the sink because water and electricity are a dangerous combination. If you use the electricity on your bench, for example when you use a lamp, make sure that the bench is dry.
Some practical investigations are wet, so drops of water can spread all over the bench and your papers. It is a good idea to remove everything that you do not need from your bench during practical work. You will only need a pencil or a pen to write with, a piece of paper for your results and the instructions. The instructions can be kept safe in a plastic wallet.
If you do, accidentally, spill liquids on your bench, wipe them up with paper towel. REMEMBER the sink is not a waste bin. Put your waste paper in the plastic waste bin at the front of the laboratory.
If you should break a piece of glassware, such as a test tube, ask your teacher for a brush and dustpan to clean it up. Put the pieces of broken glass in the metal waste bin at the front of the laboratory.
When you do a practical investigation you will need to collect equipment and materials from the front of the laboratory. Never carry too much equipment at once and always look where you are going.
If you should have an accident always tell your teacher.
When you have finished a practical investigation always leave your bench clean and dry. You can rinse and clean your test tubes in the sink but do not put solid objects down the sink, they will block it. Return all your equipment to the trolley or the teacher's bench at the front of the laboratory.
When you leave the laboratory take all your belongings with you and make sure that everything is turned off (gas tap, water tap).
From time to time there will be a fire drill in the school. If you are in a laboratory when this happens stop your experiment immediately. Switch off everything and WALK out of the laboratory calmly. Leave your belongings in the laboratory; your teacher will lock up the room so that they are safe.
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