Do-It-Yourself Podcast: Lab Safety

Lab Safety Resources

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Lab Safety: In This Module

Two students smile as they look into microscopesObserving lab safety rules on the International Space Station is as important as it is on Earth. Compare the rules of your science laboratory with the space station rules. Start you research here with the Lab Safety Background Information.

This module has video and audio clips of an astronaut on the International Space Station demonstrating lab safety rules and equipment.

Whether research involves a cutting-edge science experiment more than 200 miles above Earth or a science project in the classroom, lab safety rules must always be followed.

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Lab Safety Background Information

One of the best things about science class is doing experiments in a laboratory. Whether you are conducting experiments in a classroom, a high-tech science lab or the International Space Station, it is important to follow the rules for laboratory safety. Proper care and use of equipment in the lab will help to ensure a more reliable outcome to an experiment.

The first rule of lab safety is to behave appropriately. You may be working with hazardous materials or delicate equipment, and you don't want to harm yourself or others. You always want to avoid mishaps. Staying safe may require wearing special gear to protect your eyes, face and hands or using extreme caution while doing an experiment. It’s important to become familiar with safety rules that apply to potential hazards, such as:

  • Heat
  • Fire
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Glassware
  • Sharp objects

Safety rules in the science laboratory help to prevent accidents and mistakes. The rules also give you a plan in case an accident occurs.

The rules that apply on Earth are similar to the rules on the space station. However, in space, astronauts have to consider how their equipment and materials will work in microgravity.

The International Space Station is the largest orbiting laboratory ever built. The space station actually has more than one science lab. The United States operates the Destiny laboratory, which supports experiments that contribute to health, safety and quality of life for people all over the world. The European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory holds 10 experiment racks that are each about the size of a refrigerator. The Japanese Experiment Module, called Kibo, is used for experiments in space medicine, biology, Earth observations and much more. Russia has two Mini Research Modules to study Earth, space, life and microgravity sciences. Whether research involves a cutting-edge science experiment 250 miles above Earth or a classroom science project, lab safety rules must always be followed.

Page Last Updated: August 25th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Education