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Lab Safety

Laboratories

One environment where it pays to have the proper protective clothing is a laboratory. Labs are full of safety hazards ranging from mild to life-threatening. Safety should be at the top of the list of priorities for lab workers. Depending on the type of lab, workers may be exposed to certain chemicals, bacteria, airborne or blood borne pathogens, and a variety of other health risks. Protective eye wear, respirators, and clothing all help keep lab workers safe. Below are some of the pinnacles of lab safety that all lab workers should keep in mind while on the job.

Proper PPE

Of course the first piece of lab safety we have to mention is having the right clothing and equipment for the job. Different hazards require different safeguards. If you are working with dangerous chemicals which could damage or burn your skin, make sure to have clothing which will protect your hands, arms, and torso from splashing chemicals. If you are working around flames, make sure your clothing is fire-resistant. Also be sure not to wear open-toed shoes in a lab setting to protect your feet.

Stay Tidy

Keeping a clean and tidy workplace is incredibly important in a laboratory setting. Making sure equipment is properly cleaned, wiping up spills as soon as they occur, and scrubbing surfaces after they have come into contact with harsh or dangerous substances are all paramount in minimizing the chance you come into contact with something that could harm you.

Understand Labeling

There are a variety of symbols used in labeling for equipment, chemicals, and other items found in a laboratory. Familiarize yourself with the meaning of these symbols so you can recognize and understand the dangers each item may present. Knowing safety labeling is necessary to work in a lab environment.

First Aid

First aid should be readily available and clearly labeled in any lab setting. First aid can help with minor cuts, burns, bruises, and the like. It can also help with more serious injuries until medical personnel arrive. Labs should also have emergency eye washing stations or showers to help those who have come into contact with harmful substances.

Proper Disposal

Make sure that you are disposing of waste properly in your laboratory. There are a variety of different categories of waste and each needs to be properly discarded. Hazardous glass and plastic for example should be put into a sturdy, leak-proof container and properly labeled. Biohazards suits should be similarly disposed of in a container which is appropriately marked. Some chemicals cannot go down a sink drain and should be thrown out separately. Each lab should have guidelines and policies for waste disposal.

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