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Laboratory Emergencies and First Aid


Accidents do not often happen in well-equipped chemistry laboratories if students understand safe laboratory procedures and are careful to follow them. When an occasional accident does occur, it is likely to be a minor one.

1. Bleeding From a Minor Cut

Most cuts that occur in the chemistry laboratory are minor. Allow the blood to flow for a few seconds, flush the wound thoroughly with water for minor or cuts, apply pressure to the wound with a clean, absorbent cloth. Apply antiseptic and bandage the wound to prevent contamination. Take the victim to the doctor.

2. Thermal Burns

In the case of a burn, apply cold water and/or ice immediately to the burned area until the pajn subsides. Wrap the burned area to protect from infection. It is best to avoid oils and ointments in ftrst-aid treatment. Go to the doctor.

3. Acid or Base Spilled on the Skin.

Remove all clothing that has the chemical on it and flush the skin with water for at least 15 minutes. Take the victim to the doctor.

4. Chemical Splashes

Safety showers and Eye Washes are located in each of the laboratories. It has been conclusively proven that immediate washing of the skin with a generous amount of water is the most effective first aid treatment for chemical burns. Pulling the ring hanging from a safety shower will cause the rapid discharge of water. All of the research and  teaching laboratories are also equipped with eye was fountains in case a chemical splashes in the eyes. Go to the  doctor.

5. Chemicals in the Mouth

Many chemicals are poisonous to varying degrees. Any chemical taken into the mouth should· be spat out and the mouth rinsed thoroughly with water. Tell the victim NOT to swallow the water. Note the name of the chemical and go to the doctor immediately. If the victim swallows a chemical, note the name of the chemical and notify the doctor immediately. Do NOT give the victim anything to drink.

 6. Clothing or Hair on Fire 

If your clothing catches fire, drop to the floor and roll around to extinguish the flames. If you are helping another person whose clothing is on fire, smother the flames by rolling the person on the floor, in a fire blanket, or in a heavy coat. For hair fires, use a fire blanket to smother the flames. Go to the doctor immediately.

7. Breathing Smoke, or Chemical Fumes

Inhalation of smoke or chemical fumes is unlikely if all experiments that give off smoke or noxious gases are conducted in a fume cupboard. If smoke or toxic gases such as chlorine, hydrogen sulphide are present in the laboratory, all persons-even those who do not feel ill-should leave the laboratory immediately. Make sure the room is thorough!y ventilated before anyone goes back in.

8. Shock

People who are suffering from any severe injury may be in a state of shock. A person in shock is usually pale and faint. The person may be sweating, with cold, moist skin and a weak, rapid pulse. Shock is a serious medical condition. Do NOT allow a person in shock to walk anywhere even to the doctor. Call for emergency help immediately. While emergency help is being summoned, loosen any tightly fitting clothing and keep the person comfortable.