A laboratory can be a dangerous place to work with corrosive liquids. There is always a possibility of spillage, of chemicals getting on the hands, of handling or coming into contact with toxic substances. To prevent this, there are several precautions that must be taken to ensure the safety of the lab and its occupants.
Corrosive liquids should be kept in a safe place. This could mean a locked cupboard, or it could mean an area with special shelving for corrosive liquids. The area should be free from obstruction, and the tops of such shelves in particular should not be placed within reach of anyone.
The containers used to almacenamiento de líquidos corrosivos must be made entirely from glass or plastic (or other non-reactive material). Metal containers are not allowed because they can react with corrosive liquids. The containers should be stored away from unnecessary sources of heat (such as hot water pipes) and in a cool, dry place. If possible, containers should also be stored at a slight angle so that the liquid doesn’t collect in one spot.
If any equipment is to come into contact with corrosive liquids, then this must be made of glass or plastic. Metal equipment should not be used, as it will corrode.
When corrosive liquids are no longer needed, they must be disposed of using the correct procedure. This could mean contacting a hazardous waste disposal company, or it could mean pouring the contents into a sink and scrubbing it down the drain with lots of water and detergent. The sink should then be flushed with lots of water to clear away any residues from the corrosive liquid.
Lab coats and aprons
It is not safe to wear ordinary clothing in a laboratory. This is because ordinary clothing can come into contact with corrosive liquids and then absorb the corrosives, meaning that they are no longer contained. Instead, those working with corrosive liquids should always wear waterproof rubber boots, a laboratory coat or an apron made of non-absorbent material, and cotton gloves. Rubber aprons will help to prevent corrosive liquids from getting on the body when handling glassware or equipment containing corrosive liquids.
If a corrosive liquid does spill, then the procedure in the manual should be used. If the liquid is still in its container, then this should be carefully tipped into a sink and disposed of. If there is any material that has been exposed to a corrosive liquid (for example, an item of clothing or an item from the lab bench) then this should be placed into a sealed plastic bag, removed from the lab and disposed of as quickly as possible to avoid further contamination.