Dealing with the operations in a laboratory can be challenging. With all the activities and research conducted, everything can become confusing for all lab personnel. However, on top of these undertakings, implementing good laboratory practices is crucial to ensure the safety of everyone working in a laboratory. When the area is conducive and safe, it positively influences the quality of the result.
Keep reading this article to learn the four best practices for lab personnel safety.
1. Wear Proper Laboratory Attire
When working in the laboratory, the personnel should wear their proper lab attire to ensure safety. There might be chemicals and other safety hazards that could cause serious accidents and injuries. As such, all laboratory personnel should wear appropriate attire. These can include:
- Gloves: It’s essential to use high-quality gloves to protect the skin from dangerous chemicals that may come into contact with them.
- Safety Goggles or Glasses: All lab personnel should also use safety glasses and goggles for eye protection. Since eyes are fragile, any contact or exposure to hazardous materials may cause a permanent eye injury.
- Pants and Shoes: All people working in the laboratory should wear long pants and shoes to protect their bodies from possible exposure to harmful chemicals, flames, and other safety risks.
- Lab Coats: Lab personnel shouldn’t forget to wear lab coats to safeguard their skin against spills, splashes, and other adverse chemical reactions.
2. Be Prepared
All lab personnel should always be prepared in case something happens in the laboratory. Doing so can mitigate the risks of accidents and injuries inside the premises. The following are some things to do to ensure all individuals working in the lab are ready during emergencies:
- Participate in all laboratory safety training before the start of the research. For example, if the personnel are dealing with bloodborne pathogens and other substances in their research, proper training may be needed to ensure they can carry out their experimental studies safely. Luckily, several training providers like Bloodborne Pathogens Training and other options can provide development and management training centered on workplace safety.
- Familiarize all the policies and procedures regarding laboratory safety before beginning an experiment. These can include following all instructions and knowing all the safety equipment locations, including showers and eyewash stations.
- Always work with caution at all times. Act in a professional manner and avoid making jokes. Ensure the supervisors of any unsafe working conditions in the laboratory. Be aware of the surroundings and stay focused to know what to do when something wrong happens.
- Be aware of the appropriate emergency response processes in case of accidents happening in the laboratory. These can include reporting any accident that occurs while doing lab work to the supervisor.
- Have other personnel around to provide support when emergencies happen. In most cases, having additional eyes during lab work can minimize the likelihood of accidents and other not-so-good incidents.
3. Label And Use Proper Storage Containers
Another lab personnel safety practice to keep in mind is the proper labeling and use of storage containers. Since most lab personnel will be dealing with various chemicals and other substances, it’s essential to label all the containers with their contents, along with their hazards. Doing so can notify anyone working on the laboratory premises to proceed with caution to avoid accidents.
Moreover, it’s crucial to use proper storage containers for hazardous chemicals to avoid adverse reactions that may cause unsafe conditions. For example, flammable chemicals should be kept in fire-rated containers and cabinets to prevent the risk of fire. When it comes to chemical waste, it should be kept in non-reactive containers.
4. Practice Proper Hygiene
Practicing proper hygiene is also an essential component of lab personnel safety. Failing to do so can increase the risk of accidents and other unfortunate incidents on the laboratory premises. Thus, to avoid these problems, all laboratory personnel are highly advised to do the following:
- Make sure to keep all personal items away from lab work. This is to avoid potential contamination that can create unsafe working conditions for everyone in the laboratory.
- Always practice proper handwashing before, during, and after coming in contact with hazardous materials.
- Refrain from using cosmetic products while working in the lab. For example, if there’s a need to apply something to the face, ensure it’s done outside the lab premises to avoid a significant risk of exposure or contamination.
- Don’t consume food in the lab to reduce the likelihood of accidents, contamination, and other safety hazards.
- Don’t leave active experiments unattended.
- Separate and dispose of all lab waste properly.
In most cases, people working in the laboratory for experiments and research studies are at risk of accidents and injuries. This is especially true if they don’t perform lab work with utmost caution and safety. Therefore, it’s best to keep the information mentioned above in mind for all lab personnel assigned in a laboratory setting. That way, they’ll know what steps to take to keep everyone safe while achieving a desirable outcome for the lab project.