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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.

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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.

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  1. You need to do a risk assessment before...
    You must always do a risk assessment before entering the lab to do your experiment
  2. An example of a corrosive substance is...
    Corrosive substances include acids and alkalis
  3. 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
  4. If a chemical is volatile and could cause breathing problems, where is it handled?
    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
  5. 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
  6. Which one of these is most likely to be a hazard?
    The treatment for a burn is to run lots of cold water over the affected area. Large burns require medical assistance
  7. Which piece of safety equipment would you use when handling a corrosive substance?
    You should protect your eyes at all times during experiments, your skin can heal - your eyes don't
  8. Another word for hazard is...
    Many chemicals are hazardous in one way or another - poisonous, corrosive etc.
  9. Risk assessments are...
    All lab users have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the people around them as well as themselves
  10. The definition of risk is...
    There are many risks during experiments but provided you concentrate and follow precautions like wearing safety goggles, they will be minimised

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