It is the responsibility of all those working in a laboratory to be aware of potential hazards and to prevent them from becoming accidents. However, whenever chemicals are in use, there is a danger of spillage. A well-organized science program will have available a general spill kit (see Table) as well as a special kit to deal with mercury spills. The science teacher must be fully acquainted with the properties and method of safe handling of all substances being used in the laboratory and must have access to the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) In the event of a chemical spill, it is important to warn others, render first aid if necessary, prevent further contamination or exposure, and contain and clean up the spill. If the spill results in body contact, or contamination of clothing, priority should be given to treatment of the person(s) involved. Teachers should not attempt to clean up major chemical spills, which involve a high degree of hazard. For these serious spills, students should be immediately evacuated from the laboratory. The area should be secured, warning signs should be posted, and the principal should be notified to initiate the required emergency procedures.
Categories: General Interest