General, Organic and Biological Chemistry II: Laboratories
General, Organic and Biological Chemistry II: Laboratories

General, Organic and Biological Chemistry II: Laboratories

Lead Author(s): Gil Katzenstein

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

This lab manual is designed for a 2nd semester GOB chemistry class, a non-majors college chemistry laboratory that addresses central topics in organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Laboratory 0.5:  First, Safety First

Chem 1151 -University of North Georgia                               
Written by Gil E. Katzenstein
Lab Illustration by Alex Diodati

Table of Contents

Figure 1. First Safety

A Safe Environment is One Created by All of Us

Our experiments are chosen and designed to take into account a number of factors.  Obviously learning objectives are important but so are working with materials safely, minimizing your exposure to dangerous substances and minimizing toxic or dangerous products from the reaction.  That said… let’s consider proper lab conduct and safety!

Lab Safety and Procedures

 To help ensure your safety and that of others, you must carefully read the document below and abide by it each and every lab. The Lab Safety Contract  must also be signed and submitted before work may commence in the laboratory. 

Preparedness and Presence of Mind- Your Two Greatest Assets

  • Be prepared for the lab.  Read all experimental procedures in the lab-manual before entering the laboratory noting any possible hazards.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and yourself.  Proceed with caution when performing experiments and moving through the lab.
1. Lab Preparedness
No correct answers: No correct answer has been set for this question

Etymology of the word "prepare." Prae comes from the Latin meaning before. Parare means to make ready. So, preparation might confer the following positive outcomes.


I will be able to perform the lab correctly.


I will be able to perform the lab safely.


I will be able to work more efficiently.


Figure 2.  Beware-Hair is Highly Flammable​
  •  If possible, prescription glasses should be worn in lieu of contact lenses.  Contact lenses can trap harmful vapors and foreign material under them.  In addition, they reduce the effectiveness of the eyewash station.  If you must wear contacts, exercise caution when working with volatile substances.  Volatile liquids include acids -such as hydrochloric acid and nitric acid- and organic solvents such as methanol and acetone.
  • Hair is highly flammable!  Longhair must be secured.  Hair bungees should be available often in the color of your choice.  Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after using chemicals and again before leaving lab.  You may use the facilities in the laboratory or the restrooms across the hall.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after using chemicals and again before leaving lab.  You may use the facilities in the laboratory or the restrooms across the hall.

Your Attire

​Figure 3. Wear 'Em or Lose 'Em
  • Protective eyewear must be worn at all times except during pre-lab lectures or when indicated by the instructor.  You’ll get one reminder for not appropriately wearing your safety glasses.  Thereafter, you may be asked to leave the lab and will not be allowed a make-up.  If you are finished working and wish to remove your glasses, leave the laboratory.
  • Come to lab dressed appropriately.  Your clothing and shoes must cover your body from the shoulders to your toes.  Thus, no skirts, kilts, tutus, or open toed shoes are allowed (or any combination, thereof).  Students in violation of the dress code will be required to leave the lab and change; additional lab time may not be provided.  
  • Consider also what your clothes are made of.  Silk and synthetic fibers may offer little protection against fire.  
  •  Avoid very loose fitting clothing and hanging items such as scarves, hoody strings, and loose jewelry. On the other hand (or limb), it is advised that you do not wear leggings, tights or similar items of tight clothing.  They do not provide an adequate barrier between your skin and the liquids you are working with.      
2. You and Your Attire

Which of the following statements are true ? Hint: there is more than one correct answer.


Eyes are not easily injured so wearing safety glasses is just an unneccesary nuisance.


Legs and feet are vulnerable to spills so shorts and sandals are a definite no-no.


Synthetic (man-made) fabrics pose an additional risk because some will melt on the skin when heated.


Very loose fitting clothing may pose a fire hazard.

Your Environment

  • No eating, drinking, smoking, snorting or dipping in the lab.  Food or drink may be kept outside of the lab in the hallway.  Be sure to wash your hands when you leave the lab.
  • Earbuds and headphones are also prohibited in the laboratory.
  • Coats, backpacks, uniforms should be left in an area remote from the working area of the lab.  Keep the aisles clear at all times.  Lab coats are available to those who are wearing formal wear.
Figure 4. No Man and No Woman, Too
  • On your benchtop, you should have only the equipment and materials necessary to perform the lab, a laptop/tablet and/or your printed lab.  Stow all other materials in the spaces provided.
  • Unless you are using your cell phone for academic purposes (does this really need to be explained?), keep it out of your hands and out of the way.*   Be considerate and turn your cell phone to silent or vibrate during lab.  If you must answer or return a call, please leave the laboratory.
  • If you observe any potentially hazardous conditions, immediately notify the laboratory instructor or TA.


*There is ample evidence that there really is no such thing as multitasking, only serial monotasking.  If you are texting or the like, you are not aware of what is going on which is inappropriate, rude and may be unsafe. _______________________________________________________________________  

Lab Work

Figure 5. "Beware of Low Flying Witches"​
  • Carefully follow all written and verbal instructions.  If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, ask the instructor or TA before proceeding.
  • Read labels carefully.  Label the materials you are using particularly solutions.  Permanent markers are provided in the lab drawers for labeling purposes.
  • Work areas should be kept organized and clean.
  • Only experiments authorized and supervised by the instructor are permitted.
  • Do not work outside of the scheduled lab period.   Unsupervised presence of students in the lab is prohibited unless prior permission has been obtained.
  • Consider all chemicals in the lab to be dangerous and handle with caution.  These are not to be intentionally touched, tasted or smelled.  If necessary, the odor of some compounds may be noted by using the wafting method which will be demonstrated by your instructor.
  • Do not return unused chemicals to the stock bottles.  Keep stock chemicals in their designated location(s).
  • Dispose of chemical waste as directed by the instructor.  Under no circumstances should a student label any container with the word “waste” unless specifically told to do so by the lab instructor.
  • Examine glassware prior to using.  Dirty, chipped or cracked glassware should not be used.  In the latter cases, dispose of the glassware in the broken glass receptacle
  • Chemicals and equipment cannot be taken out of the laboratory.
  • At the end of the experiment, all work surfaces, equipment and glassware are to be cleaned and returned to their proper location.  If glassware needs to be cleaned in the dishwasher, it is to be placed in an appropriate container.  Do not put disposable items in this container.  

Incidents, Accidents and Mishaps 

Figure 6. Report All Accidents No Matter How Minor

  •  If medical attention is necessary, call 911 or the University Police at 706-864-1500.  
  • Some of the information below was obtained from Laboratory Emergency Response; it is posted in the laboratory and is also available at
  • Report any accidents, no matter how minor, to the instructor or TA.Report any spills and breakages to the instructor/TA and he/she will instruct/ assist in proper clean-up.


  • If a chemical splashes in your eye(s), immediately flush with running water from the eyewash station for at least 15 minutes.  If you are wearing contacts, remove them as soon as you can safely do so.
  • If a chemical splashes in your eye(s), immediately flush with running water from the eyewash station for at least 15 minutes.  If you are wearing contacts, remove them as soon as you can safely do so.
  • Be sure your fingers are clean prior to sticking them in your eye.


  •  If a chemical spills on you, remove the affected clothing, including shoes, and wash any remaining chemical off your body.  Use the safety shower for more extensive spills.
  • Anyone needing to use the eyewash or safety shower will be asked to seek follow-up medical attention.

Laboratory Fires

Figure 7. Symbol for  Flammable and Combustible Materials


  • For those on fire, Stop, Drop and Roll.
  • To put out a fire, use a fire blanket for humans, the fire extinguisher for things.
  • Call 911 or the university police at 706-864-1500.
  • Obtain medical attention as quickly as possible.


  • If your clothing catches fire, do not run as this can cause the fire to grow and lead to more serious burns.  STOP, DROP, and ROLL.  The affected person should STOP, DROP immediately to the floor, and ROLL in order to extinguish the flames.    
  • Clothing fires can also be extinguished by other methods including wrapping the person in a fire blanket and/or using the safety shower. 


Small laboratory fires are fires confined to an area of less than one meter squared that can readily be extinguished with a hand-held fire extinguisher.  Examples include benchtop fires resulting from the use of hotplates or Bunsen burners.   

  •  Move away from the fire.  Have someone activate the fire alarm. Remove the fire extinguisher from its storage location.  Keeping yourself between the fire and the exit door, pull the pin and point the nozzle at the base of the fire.  Squeeze the handle and sweep the nozzle from side to side to extinguish the fire.  
  • In the event of a fire alarm, turn off any sources of heat –Bunsen burner, hotplate- exit by the stairs to the back of the building and meet at the top of the handicap access ramp.  Stay there until you are accounted for and instructed what to do. 
  •  If at any point you feel that there is an unsafe situation, inform the instructor or TA.       

Safety Equipment

Know the locations and proper use of the first aid kit, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, safety shower and eyewash station.

The image below (Figure 8),  generated and generously provided by Alex Diodati,  gives an accurate (though better than life) bird's eye view of our lab.  

Hint:  You may want to read all of the questions prior to answering them.  This may help you from misidentifying features.  

3. Your Lab Station and the Exit Doors

Click on the location of your lab station (click on a lab bench) on the picture below. Click to locate the two exit doors.

4. Lab Safety Equipment I

Click carefully on the picture below the locations of the fire extinguishers and the safety shower in our lab. Hint: there are three fire extinguishers.

5. Lab Safety Equipment II

On the picture below of our lab, click carefully on the locations for the First aid kit, Fire blanket, and the Eyewash station. Hint: the kit is marked by a cross.

Departmental Laboratory Emergency Response 

Great effort has been invested to minimize risk to students in our labs.  However, we cannot completely control all situations especially in a learning environment.  Procedures to deal with most laboratory emergency situations can be found in the Departmental Laboratory Emergency Response posted in the laboratory.

YouTube videos-came, I saw, I answered

  • Start with Safety from the American Chemical Society (ACS)  The ACS video is thorough and clear about appropriate and inappropriate actions in the laboratory.  Watch from 00:00 - 20:22 and 23:57-final credits and then answer the questions below.  Total time is about 30 minutes.

On a lighter note, you may watch the following:

6. Safe Laboratory Conduct-I

Select all of the TRUE statements below.


Report any injury no matter how minor.


Harmful or volatile chemicals are best handled under the fume hood.


Drinking in the lab is OK if the drink is sealed or you are drinking with a straw.


Keeping your cell phone on the lab bench is OK so you can check your texts when things aren't that busy.

               Figure 9. "It didn't look hot!​"​

7. Bunsen Burners and Safety

Select all of the TRUE statements below.


The valve on the bottom of the Bunsen burner regulates the flow of gas.


A yellow flame is a hot flame while a blue flame is cooler.


The tip of the inner cone of the flame is the hottest part of the flame.


It’s safe to heat sealed Pyrex glassware.


It’s not safe to heat volatile liquids on a Bunsen burner.


Glass and metal that are hot usually look very different than when they are cold.

Figure 10. Somewhere Here There's A Safety Theme

More Safety Questions

8. Safety Compliance

Which of these do you need to report to your TA or lab instructor? There is more than one correct answer.


Singeing your hand on a hot surface


Spilling a few drops of concentrated acid on your bare hand


Cutting your finger on broken glass


Your iPhone battery went dead.

9. Safe Behavior

Which of these is conducive to a safe lab environment?


Leave your backpack by your lab bench. It's OK as long as you know where it is.


Check your glassware for defects prior to use.


Keep your cell phone on the benchtop in case your friend texts (friends are important).


Perching your safety glasses on your forehead so they will be ready for when you need them.

10. Whoops...Chemical spills.

If you spill something… (more than one answer is correct).


Try to contain the spill using paper towels or something else absorbent.


Blame your lab partner and then walk out of the lab in disgust.


Leave it. Nobody will notice or care given the state of the lab.


Alert your instructor or TA.

11. Waste Disposal

Dispose of waste properly, so…


Damaged glassware can be returned to your lab drawer or placed on the glassware shelf.


Organic waste can be washed down the sink.


Broken glassware goes in the glass waste.


Place dirty paper towels in the glass waste if you cannot find a normal trash can.

Lab Safety Contract

The “Lab Conduct and Safety” laboratory has been written to provide the foundation for proper laboratory conduct and gives specifics regarding lab safety.   You have been required to read this material and have been invited to ask any questions that you may have.  Additionally, your lab instructor has discussed the major points related to safety in the first laboratory class.  

This safety contract states that you have thoroughly read, understood and will abide by these rules to the best of your ability.  You will also closely follow the instructions –written and oral- provided by the instructor.  Failure to act in accordance with these rules and regulations may jeopardize your safety and that of others.  Failure to comply by these rules may result in dismissal from the lab, receiving a failing grade for that lab and, in more serious cases, a failing grade in the course.

I have carefully read and fully understand all the safety precautions summarized above.

I recognize that it is my responsibility to observe the precautions throughout my laboratory course.

12. Lab Safety Contract

Enter your name, date and chemistry class below. This indicates that you have read, understand and agree to abide by this this document.

In the Event of an Emergency

In the case of an emergency, it is important to act quickly and cautiously.  If you have any pre-existing conditions including allergies or circumstances that may affect proper emergency treatment and would like to share this information for safety purposes, please complete the below and/or discuss this with your instructor after ther first class.  Disclosure of any special circumstances/ conditions that you may have is completely voluntary and will only be disclosed, if need be, to those that are directly responsible for your safety.

Please indicate if there is anything that needs to be taken into consideration in an emergency.  You do not have to answer these questions.

In An Emergency-Disclosure


In An Emergency-Appropriate Action

Normal treatment/action taken:

In An Emergency-Additional Information

Additional comments:


Image Credits

[1] Image  from the Work Projects Administration Poster Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

[2] Image by Katalin Szegedi - [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

[3] Cropped Image from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from USA (Safety signage) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

[4] Image by Mutichou ; edição de Eugenio Hansen, OFS [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

[5] Image by Gernheim (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[6] Image by Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

[7] Image created by user Silsor in Inkscape. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 

[8] The picture was generated and generously provided by Alex Diodati.

[9] Photo and fingers  kindly provided by Sarah Landen.

[10] Image source provided by Atlantic Training. [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons