Each time that your teacher sets you an experiment to do, they will have carried out a risk assessment in order to reduce the chances of any accidents occurring. In this GCSE Biology quiz we look at how to carry out a risk assessment and some of the possible dangers that might be encountered in a laboratory.
During a risk assessment, any hazards and methods for avoiding accidents are identified. But it doesn't stop there - just in case there is an accident, there will be a plan of what to do. In investigations, things are different. You need to identify hazards for yourself, find ways to reduce the chances of an accident occurring and say what you should do or have ready if a hazard does become an accident.
When carrying out your own risk assessment, you need to look at the chemicals and equipment that you are using. If your experiment requires that you handle a beaker of hot water, your plan should state how you will handle the beaker to reduce the chances of it being dropped or spilt. You should also say what action you would take if it was dropped or if someone was scalded.
In most cases, a risk assessment is common sense but if you are using chemicals you have not used very often in class, you may not know exactly what hazards they present or what to do. It is perfectly acceptable for you to do some research to find out.