ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences





When filling bottles always allow a 10% dead-space for expansion and safe pouring of contents1. Use a funnel appropriate to the solution entering the bottle. Protective clothing comprising a long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves and safety goggles should be worn as a minimum standard for handling any laboratory reagent. If there are hazardous vapours associated with the solution a fume hood should be used and a face mask worn.


The label on the bottle must accurately describe the contents and should carry the date when the bottle was filled and by whom. Labels should be protected from the contents of bottles by coating with a thin layer of paraffin wax or spraying with Teflon.


Large bottles should only be carried in specially designed holders. Low density polyethylene carriers with cover locks are recommended for safely carrying acids119 120 as any spilled contents are contained within the carrier. Never hold or carry a bottle by its neck.


Hold the bottle with both hands when pouring and wear rubber gloves to protect the hands from spillage's or drips. Pour the contents slowly to prevent spurting. After pouring flush the outside of the bottle with water before returning it to storage.

When bottles are opened many compounds such as those containing hydrogen chloride, bromine, ammonia and peroxides release toxic gases under pressure. A face mask, together with appropriate protective clothing, should be worn and the bottle opened carefully in a fume hood.


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