There is a world of difference between working in a lab and working somewhere like an office. Laboratory settings have many more regulations and rules in place to protect everyone involved. Whether you deal with volatile chemicals, work with delicate instruments, or store important vaccines, there are several lab rules that are universal throughout. We’ll go over the most important safety rules when working in a lab with the hopes that we can keep as many people safe as possible.
Memorize Safety Equipment Locations
No matter how safe you think your lab is, you need to be aware of where all of the emergency safety equipment is. Make sure you familiarize yourself with where the fire extinguishers are, how the emergency shower works, and where the eyewash station is. Depending on your lab’s specific purpose, these items could save your life or livelihood, so always make sure you’re aware of their locations.
Wear Proper Lab Attire
There is a reason you need to dress a certain way in a lab. Lab coats and long pants aren’t just a uniform, they’re there in order to keep you safe. Of course, you also want to always wear your safety equipment such as goggle and gloves. You should also secure your hair if you think it could get in the way of something dangerous.
Treat All Chemicals As Possible Dangers
One of the most important safety rules for working in a lab is to never think that a chemical or substance is inert or not harmful in some way. Even if you’re pretty sure that nothing you work with is that dangerous, it’s good practice to treat every substance with the respect that you would give something you know is dangerous.
Properly Dispose of All Waste
Waste disposal in a lab is no joke. There’s a reason there are so many different places to dispose of certain items and substances. Be aware of what can and what can’t go down the drain of your sink. Also, make sure you’re familiar with the cleaning protocols of any equipment you use. Soap and water may work for some equipment, but you may need something stronger for certain things to actually be sterile.
Inspect Your Equipment Before Use
You should never assume that your equipment is in perfect condition unless you check it yourself. Broken safety equipment, cracked glass, and open jars can all spell disaster for a lab. Even if you just used it not that long ago, always check that your equipment is in a usable state.