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Lab Safety Symbols And Their Meanings

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Oct 30, 2018
Lab safety symbols are standard figures posted in the laboratory to prevent any kind of accidents. Educating students about them along with their meanings is a practical step to encourage personal safety measures.
A laboratory is meant for conducting scientific studies and research projects. Based on the level of study and the particular scientific field, it may be loaded with hazardous chemicals, radioactive substances, specimens, glassware and flammable objects. In order to maintain a safe workplace, lab safety symbols are posted in each and every laboratory.

List of Symbols and their Meanings

Every student working in the lab are expected to follow school safety measures, laid down by the concerned teacher. The signs and figures represent certain meanings, according to which everyone should take care. Basically, they are warning signs to avoid accidents. Following are some standard signs along with their meanings.


The skull and crossbone sign is universal. This is a universal mark to indicate danger and follow safety tips. The poison sign is the same, used for labeling a poisonous substance in a bottle, test tube or package.


Like the radiation sign, these appear as if rays are radiated from the center to the peripheral parts. They are put with bright colors for people to see from far.

Eye Safety

It is very easy to identify. If you notice a goggle sign outside a lab, it indicates the necessity to wear glasses before entering. Putting them on is a part of the rules.

Thermal Safety

Heating and boiling are common steps for science practicals. The thermal safety sign resembles a hand glove. It is used to remind students to take precaution, while handing a hot object.

Fire Safety

As the name suggests, it is put in the lab so that students take care of themselves when they are around flames. The sign is a flame, without any signs attached to it.

Open Flame Alert

Students using open flame should take precaution while conducting flame involved experiments. The sign is a flame with a diagonal line over it. The objective is to avoid explosion and fire.

Sharp Object

Using needles, scalpels, or other sharp instruments is quite common in biology experiments. The sharp object sign is a hand with a cut in the forefinger. This is to alert the students while using sharp objects.

Chemical Safety

You will find this in the list of chemistry and biology signs. The sign is a bottle with something pouring from it. This is used if the chemicals used in experiments are detrimental to the skin.


Biological hazard refers to dangers from living organisms. It is usually put up in biology labs, and is a sign to make people aware about the harmful effects of bacteria used in practical.

First Aid

This is as simple as a white-colored plus sign in a green background, a first aid box, a heart sign with a defibrillator or other complex figures, which are specific to a particular theme.
The listed signs are put up in various sections of the department, as an approach to follow rules strictly. Be it a middle school science lab or an advanced genetic research laboratory, the signs are mandatory. They are all self-explanatory, at the first glance to the signs, students should understand them and do the needful, so as to maintain a safe place.