Did you know studies show that 25% of researchers have zero training in the specific area of hazard in which they’re working? And more than half of the researchers surveyed said they didn’t wear protective gear at all times while working!
If you’re doing scientific research, it’s crucial you understand laboratory safety. Keep reading for a brief safety checklist to keep you safe in the lab.
Lab Work Safety Checklist
There are many types of labs and most of them are dangerous if you don’t follow certain guidelines. Here are the laboratory essentials for staying safe.
Even if you’re only going to be in the lab for a few minutes, put on your gear, goggles, and gloves. Never risk being in the lab without protecting your hands and eyes.
Always wear the appropriate body gear such as an apron, booties, and lab coat. Use a safety shield when working with explosive or volatile chemicals and compounds.
Check Your Body
Avoid loose clothing and always tie back or cover your hair. Leave the jewelry at home. Loose clothing, hair, and hanging jewelry are all potential risks in the lab workspace.
Review All Safety and Hazard Data and Treat Chemicals Properly
Never assume you know all the hazards. Review all the safety and health hazard data of the chemicals or biological matter with which you’re working. Make yourself aware of the symptoms and signs of overexposure.
If a chemical is unlabeled, don’t use it. If the labeling on the chemical is unclear, don’t use it. Always use a fume hood when working with chemicals.
Don’t EVER do mouth pipetting! It’s a dangerous practice that could lead to a serious accident.
Read all the labels on every chemical you use. Take only the amount needed for the current research. If you have any chemical left, never return it to the original bottle but dispose of it properly.
Safely seal all volatile compounds with the proper vials and closures such as those found at Chrom Tech. Never dispose of any chemicals in the sink but only in the proper container.
What’s the Emergency Plan?
Make sure you know where the eyewash station and fire extinguisher are. Where’s the designated meeting spot in case of evacuation, and what is the evacuation plan?
Memorize and practice all emergency procedures. Don’t do lab work alone when conducting hazardous experiments. Don’t let any injuries or accidents go unreported.
Avoid cross-contamination by keeping waste containers near every workspace. It’s easy to cross-contaminate if you’re walking across the room to dispose of biological agents and chemicals. Dispose of the waste in the containers frequently.
Inspect equipment regularly to make sure it’s in good working order. Never work with chipped or cracked glassware. Wash and maintain equipment as provided in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Laboratory Safety Is Crucial
Laboratory safety is crucial when conducting scientific research. Don’t take safety for granted and don’t leave it to others. Make sure you’re informed and follow all safety protocols to avoid putting yourself and others at risk.
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