Eye Protection

Rarely do you find an experienced laboratory technician, chemist, or science instructor who can not tell you about a "close call" in the laboratory. One never knows when an accident will occur. The number one safety precaution is Safety Goggles. A simple lab technique like decanting a solvent or measuring out a corrosive liquid can result in a tiny droplet being splashed out of the container. If that droplet were to land in your eye, serious eye damage or even blindness could be the result.

The CHP states that all students, laboratory assistants, instructors, stockroom personnel, and visitors in the science laboratory, chemical storage areas, and laboratory and lecture preparation areas are required to wear safety goggles. Eye protection is necessary every time there is a chance of spraying or splattering a chemical. When working with a dry powder reagent, a dusty situation could allow particulate matter to  enter you eyes. Every person entering a laboratory, even visitors and maintenance personnel, must wear appropriate eye protection.

Many individuals try to avoid wearing safety goggles because they are uncomfortable. Or they put them on for a short time and then lower them to dangle around their necks. One student wearing safety goggles, pulled the goggles up onto his forehead so he could see better while he was measuring a solvent into a 10 mL graduated cylinder. What made the situation even worst, is that he lifted both the bottle of solvent and the graduated cylinder to eye level and only several inches from his eyes so he could see better. Even if
you are very careful in your technique in the laboratory, you cannot predict what your neighbor might do. So never remove your goggles in the laboratory.

The University bookstore sells safety goggles that have been selected for their safety and comfort. If you take care of them, they can last the full time you are at Wittenberg. They meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 requirement for impact resistance and splash protection.

If doing a reaction that is potentially dangerous, (exothermic or gas releasing), a face shield should be worn in addition to the safety goggles. The face shields provide an additional barrier protecting the face and neck in addition to the eyes. Also in the issue rooms and research labs free standing plastic shields are available. The shield is placed in front of the chemical apparatus and is narrow enough that you can wrap your arms around the shields to make adjustments in the equipment or start the reaction.

For those persons wearing contact lenses, the experts have developed a suitable rule: Wearing contact lenses in the lab is acceptable and does not create an additional hazard for the wearer. However, appropriate safety goggles must be worn. Some soft lenses do absorb organic vapors and corrosive vapors like hydrogen chloride or ammonia. So if you are wearing contact lenses and notice any discomfort while working with volatile solvents, or corrosive liquids or gases then the lenses should be taken out.

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