Lab Safety

“Why do we have wear goggles, when all we are doing is boiling water?”

If you teach chemistry or physical science, you’ve heard this one before. If not, then you don’t ask kids to wear safety goggles for this sort of thing. Fact is, safety is paramount in the lab. I hammer on it constantly, and no not allow kids t put themselves at risk. Not ever.

So how do you respond to a question like the one at the top? Well, I’m sure you all have lab accident stories to tell, or use demos to highlight the importance of lab safety.

Sometimes, things happen though, and you get those teachable moments. Yesterday, while boiling water for a water bath, a student noticed something out of the ordinary.


A crack in her beaker. I don’t know if you’ve ever death with this, but did a few years ago. The crack slowly develops, and once it gets larger enough, the bottom of the beaker blows out. Boiling hot water every where, glass pieces mixed in.

Why do we make our kids wear safety goggles? Not only are we responsible for their education, we are responsible for their safety. Some teachers don’t get that. Some administrators don’t get that. Some parents don’t get that. Some kids don’t get that.

I’d rather have kids, parents, administrators mad at me for being over the top on lab safety, than to be accused by the same people of not “getting it.”


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