Carnegie Mellon University

Safety in your Science Classroom

Scientific experiments in the classroom are safe as long as teachers and students are aware of the potential hazards and take precautions to prevent accidents.

Lab safety may be discussed in terms of the rules that you use in your classroom.  The teacher should explain why the rules are necessary and that failure to obey the rules will result in a loss of the privilege to participate in the activities.  Simple safety instructions have been prepared for the students.  The teacher should go over each one with the class before beginning any experiments to emphasize the importance of safety.

Additionally, the teacher should go over each experiment beforehand. Performing them first will help to identify any potential hazards.

EVERYONE in the classroom during an experiment must be wearing safety glasses. In addition to protecting the teacher's eyes, they serve as a reminder to the students to keep their own safety glasses on.

While the chemicals used in these experiments are not necessarily extremely harmful, students and teachers (and parents) may feel more at ease in handling them if they are gloved.  Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all of the chemicals should be kept in the classroom in case of accidents.  Most of the chemicals used are dilute solutions.  If any come into contact with skin, a large amount of running water and a little soap should be all that is needed.   Anyone cleaning up a spill should be gloved.

A few of the chemicals may be harmful if ingested.  Students should wash their hands routinely after doing an experiment involving any chemicals.

In the blood typing experiment, no real blood or blood products are used. It is only a simulation, but students should be gloved for this experiment to simulate the safety precautions a real technician would have to take in working with blood.

Any waste materials should be disposed of as directed in the CLEAN­ UP section of each experiment.