Laboratories are interesting places to be at. They contain a whole lot of pieces of equipment and accessories to experiment with. However, with increasing opportunities, increases the possibility of hazards in the laboratory. It is crucial to understand and implement all the laboratory safety standards, rules and regulations so that any unfortunate events can be avoided.
In case you are a newbie working in the laboratory, it is important for you to be familiar with the laboratory equipment and working space. Take note of how other researchers, coworkers, and peers are performing the experiments with care. Observing them is one of the best ways to ensure your own safety.
You can eliminate a lot of hazards by being cautious about laboratory safety. Follow proper safety procedures and take note of the steps to be taken in case something goes wrong. Laboratories are designed to be safe, however, we cannot predict or prevent some accidents and mishappenings. Keeping that in mind, here we have brought you top five tips to stay safe while working in laboratories –
1. Comply With Basic Laboratory Safety Standards –
One of the most basic ways to ensure safety while working in laboratories is to comply with basic laboratory safety standards. Your clothes and body language must be as per the laboratory safety standards. For instance, don a lab coat and cover your eyes with safety goggles. The lab coat will keep you safe and make sure that no harmful chemicals get spilled on you during an accident. Also, make sure that all the chemical waste generated as a by-product of the experiments is disposed of properly.
An important and innovative step towards proper waste disposal in laboratories is the installation of an HPLC solvent waste container. An increasing number of organizations and research firms all over the world are resorting to these containers for efficient disposal of waste. An HPLC solvent waste manifold comes attached with the organic HPLC waste container. It seals it airtight and helps perform its function efficiently. It also ensures proper adsorption of any hazardous solvent vapors by the carbon filter. Thus, the entire set up works together to keep the atmosphere of the laboratory safe and pollution free.
2. Conduct Unannounced Inspections –
Another easy way to ensure that everyone is following laboratory safety standards is to conduct unannounced inspections. Keep a check on the people working in the laboratory and make sure that everything is organized and under supervision. Preferably, you should put together a list containing all the safety standards and measures. Perform random and routine inspections to make sure that stuff like chemical waste containers is at their assigned spots.
3. Delegate Tasks –
Being a laboratory manager or supervisor can be tough, at times. An easy way out to make things work smoothly is to delegate tasks. Not only will this reduce the burden on you but also make sure everything is running efficiently. Divide the tasks equally and assign them to various team members.
These duties can be of any sort ranging from the organization of laboratory pieces of equipment to keeping laboratory safety protocols in place. For instance, if one member has the duty to make sure all the safety warning signs and symbols are present at their respective places, another member can keep an inventory of chemicals and ensure that the laboratory does not run out of supply. Spreading out the responsibility will help you focus better on the overall functioning of the laboratory.
4. Wear Protective Equipment –
Keeping your body completely covered will keep you safe against harmful chemicals and contaminants. Wear proper protective gear like long pants and closed-toe shoes in the laboratory. Consider wearing shoes with a hardtop. This will protect your feet in case you drop something dangerous or acidic on your feet. Apart from that, your general attire and overall get-up must suit the atmosphere of the laboratory. Avoid wearing gaudy stuff or heavy pieces of jewelry in the laboratory.
You should also avoid letting your hair loose in the laboratory. Such stuff can be a potential instigator for a lot of hazardous laboratory accidents. The hair can accidentally catch fire, in case they are long enough. Apart from that, corrosive chemicals can slide underneath a bracelet or a ring and result in serious skin irritation.
5. Create A Laboratory Safety Manual –
A lot of organizations and business houses have this policy of providing the new employees with an employee handbook or policy guidelines as they join. On similar lines, the new entrants in a laboratory must be provided with a laboratory safety manual. It will act as a handy reference and serve as a clear and concise guide regarding all the requirements and recommended best practices for the laboratory.
These were the top five tips to stay safe while working in laboratories. Apart from these, a lot of other techniques can be implemented to avoid any unfortunate events while working. For instance, all the eatables must be kept outside the laboratory. This will prevent the laboratory from getting contaminated and avoid any spilling of leftovers in the premises.
All the flammable chemicals must be kept safe and sound inside a fireproof cabinet, preferably. In case, children are working in the laboratory, you need to be extra cautious. Laboratory safety awareness must be spread among children through creative methods. Reward them with science gifts, chemistry t-shirts or anything interesting of that sort, when they abide by the rules.
Anything that is a potential threat to the laboratory safety must be avoided. The dangerous chemicals must be well-labelled and kept out of reach of newbies in the laboratory. All the chemicals must be labelled well and kept visible. Place well legible warning signs here and there in the laboratory. The electricity switchboards must be at a suitable height. They should be located such that water, fire or drops of chemicals cannot reach them. Mark all the breakers clearly. Ensuring laboratory safety is not tough. All that it takes is a bit of precaution and an eye for details.
Ross is a blogger who loves to write especially in the Science vertical. He has written many informative blogs in other verticals too like personal development, unique gifting blogs etc.