Rarely do you find an experienced laboratory technician, chemist, or
science instructor who can not tell you
about a "close call" in the laboratory. One never knows when an accident will occur. The number one safety
precaution is Safety Goggles. A simple lab technique like decanting a solvent or measuring out a corrosive
liquid can result in a tiny droplet being splashed out of the container. If that droplet were to land in your
eye, serious eye damage or even blindness could be the result.
The CHP states that all students, laboratory assistants, instructors,
stockroom personnel, and visitors in the
science laboratory, chemical storage areas, and laboratory and lecture preparation areas are required to
wear safety goggles. Eye protection is necessary every time there is a chance of spraying or splattering a
chemical. When working with a dry powder reagent, a dusty situation could allow particulate matter to
enter you eyes. Every person entering a laboratory, even visitors and maintenance personnel, must wear
appropriate eye protection.
Many individuals try to avoid wearing safety goggles because they are
uncomfortable. Or they put them on
for a short time and then lower them to dangle around their necks. One student wearing safety goggles, pulled
the goggles up onto his forehead so he could see better while he was measuring a solvent into
a 10 mL graduated cylinder. What mades the situation even worst, is that he lifted both the bottle of solvent
and the graduated cylinder to eye level and only several inches from his eyes so he could see better. Even if
you are very careful in your technique in the laboratory, you cannot predict what your neighbor might do.
So never remove your goggles in the laboratory.
The University bookstore sells safety goggles that have been selected
for their safety and comfort. If you
take care of them, they can last the full time you are at Wittenberg. They meet the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 requirement for impact resistance and splash protection.
If doing a reaction that is potentially dangerous, (exothermic or gas
releasing), a face shield should be worn
in addition to the safety goggles. The face shields provide an additional barrier protecting the face and neck
in addition to the eyes. Also in the issue rooms and research labs free standing plastic shields are available.
The shield is placed in front of the chemical apparatus and is narrow enough that you can wrap your arms
around the shields to make adjustments in the equipment or start the reaction.
For those persons wearing contact lenses, the experts have developed
a suitable rule: Wearing contact
lenses in the lab is acceptable and does not create an additional hazard for the wearer. However,
appropriate safety goggles must be worn. Some soft lenses do absorb organic vapors and corrosive vapors
like hydrogen chloride or ammonia. So if you are wearing contact lenses and notice any discomfort while
working with volatile solvents, or corrosive liquids or gases then the lenses should be taken out.