School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual


Electrical Safety

If a demonstration uses any electrical equipment, there may be an electrocution risk.

Ensure the following

  • the apparatus in use has an up to date electrical safety tag (tag ’n’ test) label attached to the power lead.
  • the apparatus is connected to a Residual Current Device (Safety Switch)
  • the apparatus is only operated by the lecturer or trained personnel.
  • always carry-out a visual inspection of the apparatus before performing the demonstration.
  • Be aware of any tripping hazards due to leads on the floor
  • DO NOT use electrical equipment if something has been spilled on or near the equipment.
  • DO NOT attempt to service any electrical apparatus unless you are qualified.

If there is an accident act quickly.

First ensure you will not be put in danger of electrical shock by attempting to help the victim. Switch off the electrical supply before removing the casualty. If breathing has stopped artificial respiration must be begun at once (see First aid), if possible by the first aid officer.

Chemical Safety

If a demonstration requires any chemicals, there may be a risk of spilling hazardous materials.

  • Ensure that you are familiar with the relevant MSDS for the chemicals used or have discussed with the lecture demonstration technician the relevant safety issues involved with any chemical used.
  • Be sure to have a chemical spill kit available with the demonstration. Use Spill kits as instructed.
  • Be sure all chemicals are in labelled containers with a lid.
  • Do NOT pour chemicals until the moment they are required for the demonstration.
  • Be sure all unwanted chemicals are disposed of in the proper fashion. Do NOT, under any circumstances, pour used chemicals down the sink.
  • Safety goggles must be worn where there is the possibility of eye contact.
  • Where possible spill trays should be used in case of spillage.

The following general precautions should be followed

  • Chemicals should be treated with caution. Do not allow chemicals to come in contact with skin or clothing.
  • Spillage on the skin: Immediately wash affected area with water for several minutes.
  • Chemicals in the eyes. Wash the eyes with running water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Inform safety officer and seek medical treatment.
  • Contaminated clothing should be removed and bagged.

Always report any accidents to the safety officer who may recommend seeking medical advice.

Sharps Safety

If a demonstration requires any syringes or glass, there may be a broken glass or sharps hazard.

· Be sure there is a dustpan and brush on hand in case of any breakages.

· Be sure to dispose of any sharps in a sharps container.

· Be sure to dispose of any broken glass into a broken glass container.

· Use gloves when handling broken glass.

· Should an injury occur, contact the appropriate authority.

· If there is the possibility of broken glass fragments safety goggles must be worn

Precautions with Ionizing Radiation

If a demonstration requires radioactive substances, there is a risk of exposure to ionizing radiations.

· Be sure to limit the time of exposure.

· Maximise the distance between yourself and the radioactive source.

· Always shield the source.

· Be sure to wash your hands after handling both the source and the Lead shielding.

· Ensure that a radiation safety sign is clearly displayed with the demonstration

Laser Safety

The lasers in use in Lecture Demonstrations are predominantly Helium Neon Class 2 lasers. Class 2 lasers are not intrinsically safe but eye protection is normally afforded by aversion responses including the blink reflex. The demonstrations have been designed with safety in mind however it is still your responsibility to inform students of the dangers inherent in the device and that responsible care should be taken when using these devices.

If your demonstration requires lasers of a power rating greater than 1mW the following safety precautions need to be observed.

· The direct beam and its direct reflection must not be allowed to enter the seating area of students.

· Appropriate beam stops must be in place.

· Safety keys must be operated by trained personnel only.

· If you are modifying a standard laser demonstration discuss details with the Lecture demonstration technician to ensure safety concerns are considered.

· Ensure that a laser safety sign is clearly displayed with the apparatus.

Never look directly down the beam of a laser.

A 1 mW laser beam will be focused by the eye down to an area of 8 x 10-6 mm2 producing an intensity of 122 W/mm2.

Ensure that a laser safety sign is always clearly displayed with the apparatus.

Fire/Burn Safety

Should a Demonstration require the use of a Bunsen burner or boiled water, there is the risk of burns and/or fire.

Ensure you use safety goggles and appropriate gloves if handling hot items or hot water.

If a burn occurs treat the effected area immediately by placing burn area under cold running water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical help.

Ensure an appropriate fire extinguisher is available.

If necessary heat proof mats are used.

Handle liquid nitrogen with extreme care, there is the possibility of cryogenic burns. Ensure Personal protection (gloves and goggles) is supplied and used.


It is the Lecture demonstration technician’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant maintenance procedures are followed for each demonstration. Inform the technician of any safety concerns that need addressing.

Personal Protection.

Ensure that if there is the possibility of burns, gloves are supplied and used.

Ensure that if there is the possibility of foreign objects entering the eye that safety goggles are supplied and used.

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