ChemLab: General Information


General Information


Cleanliness Points

Honor Principle

Lab Switches


Deadlines & Logistics

How to Keep a Notebook

Sample Write-up


General Rules

Safety Equipment

Safety Hazards

Emergency Procedures

Emergency Treatments




General FAQ


ChemLab Home

Eyes. GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! Chemicals in the eyes must be removed at once by flooding with copious quantities of water. Help the victim. Use the eye wash station, if possible. Otherwise, place the victim on the floor, by force if necessary. One person should straddle the victim with knees on the floor, pouring a moderate stream of water from a flask or beaker onto the bridge of the victim's nose so that both eyes are flooded. Another person should squat at the head of the victim and roll back the eyelids of both eyes; use the thumb and forefinger to spread the eyelids open. The victim will not be able to do this voluntarily. Use at least several liters of water. When it is reasonably certain that the excess chemicals have been washed away, take the victim to the Emergency Room for immediate medical attention.

Chemicals on the skin. All chemicals which come in contact with the body should be considered toxic and washed off completely with soap and water even if they do not appear to be corrosive. Wash off corrosive substances by flooding with tap water, using the safety shower if necessary, stripping off any clothing and shoes that are soaked with chemicals. Except as follows, do not try to neutralize acids with alkali or alkalis with acid; do not apply ointments or salves.

Inhalation of chemicals. Get fresh air. Report to the laboratory instructor all incidents where prolonged exposure to laboratory fumes has induced faintness or a headache.

Ingestion of chemicals. Call the Poison Center for recommended treatment. Vomiting is often dangerous, especially if vomit gets into the lungs; most serious poisoning problems are best treated in the hospital emergency room. If necessary, you can induce vomiting by swallowing as much warm water as possible as rapidly as possible. The addition of one or two teaspoons of table salt per glass of warm water will help. Vomiting should be encouraged by swallowing additional water until the vomited liquid is clear.

Cuts. Serious bleeding should be controlled by direct pressure on the wound, preferably with a clean gauze or cloth pad. Minor cuts should be washed with tap water and allowed to bleed briefly. Then press with a clean cotton pad or piece of gauze. Cover with a gauze pad to keep the wound clean. More severe cuts, especially with glass or other foreign objects in the wound, require medical attention.

Clothing fires. Call for help and a blanket. When someone's clothing catches fire, the flame and smoke can rise and be inhaled. Unless a shower is immediately available or can be reached without inhalation damage, put the victim prone on the floor, forcibly if necessary, and roll in a blanket; beat the flames out with hands or smother with heavy garments.

Thermal burns. Any burn that is extensive or severe, or which involves the eyes or face, should be considered serious. A burn involving the respiratory tract could be critical. Call the ambulance. Minor burns should be treated by washing the burned area with cold tap water. Wrapping the burned area lightly with a clean wet cloth or holding it in an ice bath will help reduce the pain. Do not use ointments or salves unless so instructed by a physician.

Faintness. If the victim is conscious, have them sit down and place their head between their knees. Support them to prevent a fall. If they are weak or have fainted, lay them on their back on the floor, raise their feet and legs a little above the level of their head. Call for medical assistance if the victim fails to regain consciousness within a half minute. Insist that they remain quiet, seated or lying down, for a few minutes after recovery unless it is necessary to take them to the hospital for treatment.

Final Note: All people have some reaction to being injured; often they become faint. Always require a person to be seated while being examined or receiving treatment. One should not add a fractured skull, as a result of falling over in a faint, to the original injury.
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