Unit 4 - Risk Assessment
You would use safety glasses for handling a corrosive substance.

Unit 4 - Risk Assessment

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.

An example of a corrosive substance is...
sulfuric acid
Corrosive substances include acids and alkalis
What harm can corrosive substances do?
This is a different type of burn to the ones caused by heat but the effect is very similar, as is the treatment
Which one of these is most likely to be a hazard?
Safety glasses
The treatment for a burn is to run lots of cold water over the affected area. Large burns require medical assistance
You need to do a risk assessment before...
writing up your results
writing the method
carrying out the practical work
evaluating the experiment
You must always do a risk assessment before entering the lab to do your experiment
Risk assessments are...
essential to protect the safety of all in the workplace
a part of some experiments
boring and only the teacher's responsibility
the responsibility of the lab technician and no one else
All lab users have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the people around them as well as themselves
If a chemical is volatile and could cause breathing problems, where is it handled?
Fume chamber
Not at all
On the bench
Fume cupboard
All chemicals have a safety sheet called a hazcard which tells us how it must be handled. When planning an investigation, your teacher can let you see the hazcards for any chemicals that you may be using
Risk assessment works out what could go...
By identifying what could go wrong we can then take steps to prevent it from happening. We can also plan what actions to take if things do go wrong
Another word for hazard is...
Many chemicals are hazardous in one way or another - poisonous, corrosive etc.
The definition of risk is...
potential exposure to danger
cutting yourself
not wearing gloves
Bunsen burners
There are many risks during experiments but provided you concentrate and follow precautions like wearing safety goggles, they will be minimised
Which piece of safety equipment would you use when handling a corrosive substance?
Fire blanket
Fire extinguisher
Safety screen
Safety glasses
You should protect your eyes at all times during experiments, your skin can heal - your eyes don't
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Practical skills

Author:  Donna Maria Davidson

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