Saturday, September 6, 2008

My First Job Lab Accident

My first job experience was working from a metal industry which produces 98-99% pure Silicon metal (Si). This metal is then exported to different countries as a source of raw material for the manufacture of finished products such as electronic parts and accessories.

Raw materials used for the process are mainly silicon quartz, petroleum coke and wood charcoal.
Analyses conducted are determination of moisture for raw material, ash, volatile combustible matter (VCM), aluminum, calcium and iron as Fe2O3.

Conducting these analyses would require the use of Hydroflouric Acid (HF) which is used during fusion of the metal. Do you know that this metal has the ability of dissolving glass materials? Its because HF reacts with SiO2 which is the main component of glass. That is why during our test, we are not using porcelain crucible to digest the metal but instead uses Platinum crucible, a very expensive one!

Another characteristic of the said acid is the corrosiveness, it penetrates the skin causing a very painful injury and is considered as a contact poison. It is also known to etch bone and since it penetrates the skin, it essentially breaks the person's bones without destroying the skin. That is why this kind of acid should be handled with extreme care.
Talking about my lab accident, this happens during a graveyard schedule. I tried to transfer an amout of acid to a plastic bottle without using any protective gloves. There are really times that I have so much confident in myself that i try to neglect important things to do prior of doing so.
The result, a very small amount of acid that poured over my fingernail! Ouch, really ouch.. I washed it immediately over a pouring water but I can still feel the pain over my skin tissues. Until I go home the pain never ceases. I tried to place my hand on a cup filled with ice and fortunately the pain lessens but after removing it the pain hangs on! I was not able to sleep well during that time. See its a big lesson for me from what happened...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fire Safety Procedures

Here are some steps to follow when an incident of fire happens!

- don't panic
- pull the alarm
- dial the nearest fire station and relay location
- follow emergency fire evacuation procedure safely
- use fire extinguisher if necessary

- use fire extinguisher, water or any available means to control fire
- call for outside assistance
- follow emergency fire evacuation procedure orderly
- attend emergency treatment for burns and other injury

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Safety Rules When Inside The Lab

Working as a chemist or lab analyst in a certain manufacturing company requires safety and security. Even students performing experiments in a laboratory need to follow general safety rules to avoid accidents. Here are some work practices to be learn and apply:

- Wear lab gown and protective equipment when inside the lab
- Avoid too much exposure to chemicals
- Do not smell or taste chemicals
- Work under hood when dealing with toxic chemicals
- Label all chemical bottles
- Arrange chemicals according to compatibility
- Always add acid to water
- Dissolve chemicals in beakers before transferring to volumetric flasks
- Do not pipette directly from reagent containers
- Eating, smoking and other unnecessary activities should never be done inside the lab
- Secure a box for all broken glasswares and place it inside the storage room for future disposal
- Avoid use of contact lenses inside the lab
- Keep work area clean and uncluttered
- Practice 5’S