Laboratory Safety Guidelines: 7 Steps to a Safer Laboratory
Science is as much as dangerous as it is exciting. This is why laboratories need safety guidelines to make the staff and testing as safe as possible from risky procedures and hazardous chemicals. So here are 7 steps to a safer laboratory to help you establish strong and responsible management.
Follow the instructions
Safety instructions and recommendations should be clearly displayed in every part of the laboratory. However, besides the general rules, make sure that those specifically related to certain chemicals and apparatuses are also in place. It’s better for every part of the lab to have explicit instructions than to have them all in one place. This way they will be easily accessible, visible and refer to the equipment and experiments taking place in that specific area.
Know how to use safety equipment
If an accident happens, you will need to access safety equipment fast and use it to stop the potentially dangerous event. For this reason, do regular checks of all safety equipment to see if it’s working properly. Also, display visible signs of where safety equipment is stored and also make sure that every employee knows how to use it. Sometimes, quick reaction time during accidents can prevent injuries, save lives and protect the property.
Wear appropriate clothing
There is special clothing all personnel and authorized visitors must wear when entering the laboratory. Depending on the type of lab and experiments performed there, the clothing will differ from facility to facility. The basic clothing includes coat, covered shoes, long pants, and hair up so it doesn’t contaminate the experiment or get in contact with open flame.
Safety goggles and gloves are necessary all the time when handling specimen no matter if they’re toxic or not. In case you work in a highly hazardous environment, you will need to wear enhanced protective gear like a hazmat suit, breathing mask or other required clothing. In some instances, you will need hearing protection, face mask or any other gear depending on the nature of the experiment.
No food or drinks in the lab
All food and drinks should be kept outside the lab. Storing your food in the same refrigerator as specimen, chemicals or cultures can lead to contamination. Also, you can touch your food with hands contaminated with pathogens or leave it in the places of past experiments.
You can accidentally spill drinks on the research, notebook or equipment, and even ruin the experiment in progress. There are other dangers of bringing food and drinks into a lab like being distracted from work and drinking the wrong liquid. Having this laboratory safety guideline in place will make sure that experiments are conducted in a clean and controlled environment.
No unauthorized experiments
Every experiment performed in the lab has to be previously approved and authorized. Also, all experiments need to be logged and schedules officially, so everyone is aware of them taking place. In case of an accident, the emergency crew will know what was happening inside the lab when an event occurred.
Treat all equipment respectfully and with care to avoid breakage, spillage and any other result from risky behavior. When you work in the lab, you are not only responsible for your and the equipment safety, but also other people inside and outside of the experimentation zone.
Ensure chemical ventilation is working properly
Laboratory team depends on the clean air especially in modular cleanrooms and other facilities separate from the rest of the building. Installing and maintaining ventilation regularly will ensure it is working properly and that staff is performing their jobs in safe conditions. Also, by having this safety measure in place, no chemicals and other toxic agents will leave the lab and potential contamination will be contained.
Dispose of waste per regulations
When the experiment is over you need to clean after yourself so that all toxic and hazardous waste is removed from the premises appropriately. Follow the instruction on how to remove every type of waste like pouring liquids down the drain or cleaning biological cultures with soap. There are protocols in place on how to dispose of sharp objects like broken glass and needles, as well as biological waste. You will use bags and containers specifically designed for this purpose as regulated by the law and laboratory safety guidelines.
Laboratory safety guidelines serve to keep people inside and outside of the testing facility safe. These 7 steps to a safer laboratory are basic principles to follow although specific regulations and rules vary depending on experiments. Nonetheless, every lab should offer its employees a safe environment to work and conduct accurate experimentations.