Laboratory safety is considered to be one of the most imperative concerns for individuals who work with hazardous chemicals, medical supplies as well as heavy duty equipment or machinery. Since laboratories are regarded as high-risk environments, accidents can easily occur, which emphasizes the importance of knowing how supplies should be cared for and used in the lab. As a matter of fact, it is very crucial to have a strong set of laboratory safety rules as well as constantly train staff members to keep them up to date on the proper safety measures that they should take on a regular basis.
On that premise, the following article presents the most important safety precautions and guidelines that laboratory employees and technicians should follow in a laboratory in order to avoid any form of accidents.
Wearing proper laboratory clothing
When working in a lab, it is essential to wear the proper attire that guarantees safety when working with tissue samples and toxic chemicals. This includes safety goggles, closed toe shoes as well as a laboratory coat. In addition to that, it is also important to have the hair tied back especially when working with flammable chemicals.
Proper usage of equipment
Heavy duty equipment that are used for sample testing in the laboratory should be properly cared for and handled with extra care and caution. That being said, staff members should constantly have training on how to correctly use this equipment and should ask questions when in doubt about how to care for it. Laboratory employees should also make sure that glassware is not chipped or cracked and should notify their supervisors of any damaged glassware so that it can correctly be disposed of.
Knowing the location of emergency equipment
Each laboratory is equipped with emergency equipment, which is supplies that counteract exposure to flames or toxic chemicals. These supplies include a shower, an eye wash station, a fire extinguisher, first aid kits and, in some cases, overhead sprinklers. Laboratory technicians and employees should know where the emergency equipment is and must familiarize themselves with it so that they are prepared in the event of an emergency or an accident. In addition to that, laboratory staff members should also be fully aware of the building’s evacuation procedures as well as know emergency phone numbers that they can call for help in case of an emergency.
Keeping drinks and food outside the laboratory
Food and drinks should be out of the lab at all times. The reason being that foods and beverages can contaminate testing samples, which will lead to inaccurate results, and can also lead to spills and tripping hazards in the laboratory. In addition to that, laboratory glassware should be never used as a container for foods or beverages.
Dealing with chemicals and hazardous substances
Every chemical substance in the laboratory should be treated as though it were hazardous. All chemicals should have a clear label of the name of the substance, the name of the person responsible for it, the date it was received as well as its concentration. In addition to that, chemicals should never be emptied in the sink drains, chemical wastes should be properly disposed of and all chemical substances should never be taken outside the lab. Also, volatile and flammable chemical substances should be used in a fume hood. With respect to carcinogens, biohazards and radioisotopes, they should be always properly marked with warning signs.
Regardless of what each laboratory offers, it is very essential for laboratory staff to follow these safety precautions and rules when working in a lab in order to avoid any sort of accident and injury.