To prevent things from going wrong in the lab, you need a robust set of general safety rules. A Lab Manager should look through the safety policies of several labs to find and make or update one’s own set of rules. Rules can only work if they are followed, so strong lab management is also crucial for a safe lab. It’s also important to know the right signs and symbols for lab safety.
Here are some rules you should follow while working in a lab:
Utilize proper PPE:
One of the best ways to ensure your lab is safe wear the right PPE. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is any clothing or accessory made to protect the person wearing it from getting hurt or getting sick. If you wear the right clothes and use the right PPE, you won’t get burned, cut, or exposed to dangerous chemicals. You should wear long pants, shirts, and shoes with closed toes in the lab. You should also tie back any loose hair or clothing. PPE can include lab coats, disposable gloves, protective eyewear, and face masks in a lab. Technicians should only wear these PPE items in the lab.
Protect Glassware When It’s Being Used:
We’ve all been told to be careful around glassware. Even strong, tempered glass can be significantly weakened by even the most minor crack or imperfection on its surface. This is why it’s essential to use clamps and supports to hold glassware securely when it’s not in use.
Work as much as possible with a lab partner:
Try to work in the lab with someone else. Even if this isn’t always possible, having a second set of eyes makes mistakes and slip-ups more likely to be caught in time to stop significant damage. Also, when there are two people, accidents are always handled faster. Even if the injury is slight, like a cut from a piece of broken glass, it’s good to have someone nearby to get the first aid kit or help clean up the glass.
Care should be taken with chemicals:
Some of the most common ways to get hurt in a lab are chemical spills and burns. Technicians have to be very careful with all chemicals at all times. Make sure you always use the right amounts in your experiments and follow the directions to the letter. This will make it less likely that something will happen by accident. But if an accident does happen, you need to have the right plans in place to deal with it. Getting rid of potentially dangerous materials safely and efficiently will make it less likely that someone will get hurt. Acidic and caustic materials should not be thrown away with other trash because they can be very dangerous for both lab workers and people who take care of trash.
Stay in order:
The best way to avoid mistakes is to be very well organized. When there’s a lot of equipment in a lab, it’s much easier for errors to happen. Accidents are much less likely to happen if everything in the lab is clean, organized, and labeled correctly. Lab technicians will always use the correct measurements if they have a system for organizing and labeling all chemicals. This will make it less likely for them to make a mistake.
Have equipment and training for preventing fires:
In case of a fire, a well-stocked and, by extension, well-protected lab needs to be ready. Volatile chemicals and Bunsen burners can be dangerous together. In addition to standard fire extinguishers, fire blankets and showers should be easily accessible and checked to make sure they are working.
Keep the correct paperwork in reach:
Safety is about knowing what to do when something breaks or spills. It’s also about knowing how your lab is set up, what chemicals and other materials you have y or in storage, and the right way to deal with lab and clean up after them. For example, every lab worker should have access to Safety Data Sheets which list the most common and dangerous chemicals used in that space. The Environmental Health & Safety organization suggests keeping both a digital and a printed copy of this list. Along with detailed chemical inventory lists, Standard Operating Procedures, and general Laboratory Safety Manuals, make your workplace more proactive about safety and better equipped to handle emergencies if and when they happen.
Do the right thing in the lab:
Experiments can be done in the lab, but they should be planned and researched ahead of time. Don’t do random experiments just for fun. When you go to the lab, you should have the right attitude and be entirely focused. A minor distraction can often cause damage that can’t be fixed, and in the worst cases, it can even cost lives. Tell other people in the lab to keep a safe distance when chemicals are being mixed or when you are working with potentially dangerous substances. Make sure to check everything twice before using it and clean up s.
If something wrong happens, don’t panic:
Even if you take care, accidents can still happen. Don’t freak out if there’s an accident. Panicking can make things worse. Don’t panic. You could trip over wires or knock over chemical bottles if you run. It’s important to know where things like the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, emergency phone, eyewash stations, etc., are kept. If chemicals or tiny particles get in your eyes or skin, you should wash them off. Take safety drills in the lab seriously. Lastly, always tell your supervisor about your experiment and what they say.
How to safely get rid of lab waste:
Researchers often don’t pay enough attention to this part of lab safety. Do not pour chemicals down the sink to get rid of them. Instead, use designated bins or containers. Don’t put used reagents back in the bottle; throw them away safely. . Instead, put plant waste in garbage cans. Find out if you can clean up with soap and water after using biological cultures or if you need something more substantial to kill dangerous microorganisms in the cultures. Also, find out how sharp things like razors, needles, glass containers, etc., are thrown away in your lab. Read the lab manuals coworkers or professors if you don’t understand something.
Lab safety is paramount and can’t be said enough. Researchers in scientific labs are exposed to a potentially dangerous environment with chemical, biological, physical, and even radioactive risks. Under these circumstances, it is important to take specific measures to protect yourselves as well as others while working in a lab to carry out safe and efficient operations.