Science Department





            Science is a hands-on laboratory class.  Safety in the science classroom is the first priority for students, teachers and parents.  In order to insure everyone's safety during laboratory activities, strict adherence to the following guidelines is expected.  All students who enter the science classroom and laboratory must act responsibly.  The following list of guidelines must be kept in your science folder as a constant reminder of departmental safety rules.


General Equipment and Lab Safety


1.   Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory.  Horseplay, "playing

around", or any other terminology that fits inappropriate behavior during lab activities will not be tolerated and will result in suspension from lab. 


2.   Do not eat food, drink beverages (even bottled water) or chew gum in the laboratory.  Do not

      use laboratory glassware as containers for food or beverages.  Never attempt to drink from

      laboratory sinks.


3.   When first entering a science room, do not touch any equipment, chemicals or other materials

       in the laboratory until you are instructed to do so.


4.   Students must understand the proper utilization of science equipment before using.  Always listen carefully when teachers explain the proper handling of lab equipment.  Do not use any science equipment inappropriately.  Inappropriate use of lab equipment will result in suspension from the laboratory.


5.   Bring only your laboratory instructions, worksheets, and/or reports to the work area.  Other

      materials (books, purses, book bags, etc.) should be stored in the classroom seating area.


6.   Complexity of equipment is not always an indicator of danger.  Alcohol lamps, candles, and glass tubing are some of the least complex pieces of equipment students may use - however, in untrained hands, they can also be some of the most dangerous.


7.  ALWAYS report any injury to the science teacher - regardless of how minor!


8.   Removal of laboratory supplies or equipment from the laboratory (classroom) constitutes theft and will be handled as described in the student Pathways handbook.


9.   Emergency procedures must be thoroughly discussed and rehearsed before the lab activity is started. 


10.  A drench shower is located near each classroom.  Eye wash stations are located at both sinks and drench shower locations.  These are for emergency use and are not toys.

11.*Safety goggles must be worn during any activity that involves heat, hazardous chemicals or possible breakage (sharps).  All students who do not wear contact lenses must use vented goggles.  Contact lenses should not be worn in the laboratory unless you have permission from your instructor.  Prescription glasses are no substitute for safety goggles.  Important note:  The wearing of safety goggles is mandatory for everyone in the lab and failure will result in suspension from lab.


12.   Never take chemicals from an unlabeled container.  Never carry stock bottles of chemicals away from the preparation table.  Never return unused chemicals to the stock bottle.  *Always wear safety goggles when using hazardous chemicals.  Handle all chemicals as if they are hazardous.


13. Always wash your hands thoroughly when you have finished using chemicals.  Always clean your lab station thoroughly when you have finished your lab activity using chemicals.  Spilled chemicals of even the smallest quantities can be dangerous.


14. Report the breakage of any lab apparatus or glassware as soon as possible.  Let the teacher clean up the broken glass.  Never handle broken glass with your bare hands.  If a piece of glassware becomes “frozen” in a stopper, take it to your teacher for removal.  Never discard broken glass in the classroom wastebaskets.  Teachers must discard broken glass in the preparation room “sharps” waste container.  A labeled sharps container is provided in each of the four preparation rooms.  Breakage due to student negligence will result in a replacement charge.


15. Teacher note:  All stock chemicals must be returned to the chemical storage room and not kept in the classroom.


16. All glassware and apparatus must be cleaned and dried before leaving class.  Failure to leave your station clean and orderly will result in a lower activity score. 


17. When using an alcohol lamp or gas burner -- keep flammable materials away from the flame.  Leave your papers, textbook, and any other flammable materials either at your desk or off to the side away from the flame.  Long hair must be tied back out of the way.  Do not move the alcohol lamp or gas burner when ignited.  Never reach over an exposed flame.  Never leave a lit lamp or burner unattended.  Never leave anything that is being heated or is visibly reacting unattended.  Always turn the lamp, burner or hot plate off when not in use.  Use an electric hot plate when boiling liquids.  Shoes must completely cover the foot.  No sandals allowed in lab!


18. Corrosive liquids must be maintained at the teacher's preparation table.  Never carry corrosives away from this location.  Wash spilled corrosive liquids with lots of water.  Corrosive liquids include acids (chromic, hydrochloric, nitric, acetic, butyric and sulfuric), solvents and ammonia.  Corrosive solids include calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, phenol, salicylic acid, tin chloride, phosphorous pentoxide, potassium chromate and the elements sodium, potassium, lithium, phosphorous and iodine. 


19. Never use mouth suction to fill a pipette.  Use a rubber bulb or pipette pump.

20. Always add acid to water, swirl or stir the solution and be careful of the heat produced,

      particularly with sulfuric acid.


21. When transferring reagents from one container to another, hold the containers away from

      your body.


22. Under no circumstances should you come in contact with mercury or lead.  Report broken thermometers, barometers and leaking batteries to the teacher immediately.


23. Dispose of chemicals as directed by the classroom teacher.  Most of the time the small quantities used during lab will be washed down the classroom sink with plenty of water.  In some instances, chemicals will be collected in a waste container identified by the teacher.  Solid chemicals, metals, matches, filter paper, dialysis tubing, preserved animal parts and all other insoluble materials are to be disposed of in the proper waste containers, not in the sink.  Always check with the teacher if you are unsure of the proper disposal procedure. 


24. Never taste, smell, or bring near your eyes any chemicals.  Keep hands away from face, eyes mouth and body while using chemicals or preserved specimens.  Wash your hands with soap and water after performing all laboratory activities.


25. Removal of chemicals from the classroom is strictly forbidden. 


26. Always read through the entire lab instructions before starting the procedure.  Pay close attention to the safety instructions before starting any procedure.  Rehearse the lab procedure before actually performing the activity.  Always follow all written and verbal instructions carefully.  If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, ask the teacher before proceeding.  Never work alone.  No student may work in the laboratory without a teacher present.  No unscheduled lab procedures will be performed -- in other words, no experimenting!


27. Always keep aisles open.  Be sure adequate room is available to exit the classroom in case of emergency.  Emergency evacuation procedures should be rehearsed in each classroom to ensure safe exit from the room.  Never block the classroom doorway with apparatus, books, chairs, etc. 


28. Be familiar with the location of all safety equipment/supplies.  Rehearse the proper safety

      procedures for fire, chemical spills, etc.  Know what to do if there is a fire drill during a

      laboratory activity; containers must be closed, gas valves turned off, and any electrical

      equipment turned off.


29. Every effort must be made to be present on days that involve laboratory activity.  It is the

      student’s responsibility to make up missed work promptly on return to school. It is the

      student’s responsibility to contact the teacher to secure an SRT pass and show up as

      scheduled.  Failure to make up missed work (within school guidelines) will result in no





Dissections and Animals


1.   No inappropriate behavior will be tolerated during the assigned activity.  This includes loud laughter, noises, horseplay, or "showing off" while performing the scheduled dissection.  Handle all living organisms used in a laboratory activity in a humane manner.  Preserved biological materials are to be treated with respect and disposed of properly.  Inappropriate behavior will result in suspension from the laboratory.


2.   Students should wash their hands immediately and thoroughly when finished working with preserved specimens.  This means soap and water!


3.   All dissected specimens must be disposed of properly.  A waste pail for dissected specimens will be provided.  No animal parts may be taken from the classroom. 


4.   Dissecting tools should be used appropriately.  Never stick the point of the scalpel, forceps or dissecting needles/probe into the tray material.  Never handle dissecting tools in an inappropriate or dangerous manner.  Always carry scalpels with tips and points pointing down and away.  Always cut away from your body.  Never try to catch falling sharp instruments.  Grasp sharp instruments only by the handles.  Report broken scalpel blades or other tools to the teacher immediately.


5.   Live vertebrate animals may not be used during laboratory activities unless under teacher supervision.  Do not disturb classroom animals that are displayed.  Do not tap on aquaria or animal cages.  Do not drop materials of any kind into the animal tank or cage.  Do not feed displayed animals.  Students that participate in any action that results in the injury or death of classroom animals will be suspended from class and held financially responsible for all costs incurred for replacement.


6.   The use of vertebrate animals for science projects is discouraged and should never be

      considered before discussion with the science teacher.




1.   All bacteria and virus culture studies should be handled as if the organisms were pathogenic.  Whenever possible, cultures should be incubated at room temperature rather than at optimum 37 degrees Celsius.  This should help prevent rampant growth of cultures.


2.   The teacher should also assure that ALL proper techniques and equipment handling is clearly demonstrated to students and that they understand what they are doing.  Petri dishes should be taped closed and not reopened after inoculation.  Never open petri dishes and smell the contents.


3.   Dispose of all cultures only after autoclaving at 250 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.


4.   Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after handling petri dishes or inoculating tools.


5.   The work area must be cleaned with disinfectant solution.


6.   No students with open wounds should be allowed to participate in microbiology labs.  Students should not bring their hands near face, mouth, nose, and eyes after handling cultures or culture instruments.


7.   Great caution should be exerted when attempting studies of natural environments such as

      soil, water, drinking fountains, restrooms, etc.  Tetanus spores can be found in soil, while

      cholera, botulism, and typhoid are common to standing and some flowing waters.


8.  When removing electrical plug from its socket, grasp the plug, not the electrical cord.  Hands

     must be completely dry before touching an electrical switch, plug or outlet.  Report damaged

     electrical equipment immediately.  Look for things such as frayed cords, exposed wires, and

     loose connections.  Do not use damaged electrical equipment.


Outdoor Fieldwork


1.  Travel to and from the outdoor site must be quiet and along the route instructed by the teacher. 


2.  Stay within the area identified for the activity.  Do not remove materials from their natural

      environment unless specifically instructed by the teacher.  Act responsibly while in the field.  Do not disturb or alter school property.


3.   Avoid contact with plants which present hazards from oils (poison ivy, poison, oak, poison sumac, poinsettia); hazards if eaten (some fungi - mushrooms, belladonna, herbane, pokeweed, foxglove, jimson weed, azalea, castor bean, holly, milkweed, mistletoe, nightshade); or hazards from saps (cleander, stinging nettle).


4.   Do not pick unfamiliar plants as they may present hazards.  In addition, law from picking or damage protects many plants, - leave them alone!


5.  All materials that are taken into the field must be returned to the classroom.  This includes all

      papers, booklets, test kits, etc.


Detach and return to teacher                              Safety Agreement


            I have been given a copy of the Carmel High School Science Department Laboratory Safety Guidelines.  I understand the rules and agree to observe them.  I also agree to observe any and all additional safety rules and procedures/precautions that appear in writing in the instructional materials to which I am assigned.  I also understand that the penalty of disobeying these rules/guidelines will result in suspension from lab activities.  I further agree to keep these rules/guidelines in my class notebook or folder and to review them frequently.


                                                            Student Signature:  ________________________


                                                            Student Printed Name:  _____________________


                                                            Date and Class Period:  ____________________