Safety is of the utmost importance when working in a laboratory. Awareness of your surroundings is critical, especially when those surroundings include complex equipment and potentially harmful chemicals. Whether you’re working in a biology, chemistry, or physics lab, safety ought to always be your top concern. Ensure all processes are carried out with the ultimate safety and efficiency with this guide on how to create a safe lab environment.
One of the most beneficial tips for how to create a safe lab environment is to stay as organized as possible. Maintaining a functional organization system will reduce the clutter in your lab, thereby reducing the potential for injury. Establishing distinct areas for the storage of certain items will not only reduce the likelihood of error and injury, but it can also help your lab operate more efficiently. Store personal belongings off the ground and as far away from the active experiments as possible. Labeling all chemicals and designating certain areas for the disposal of specific materials will also help your lab run more smoothly and will reduce the potential for injury.
Automate when possible
Reducing the propensity for human error will also help make your lab safer. Incorporating automation into your procedures is a great way to do just that. Thanks to recent technological developments, many different automated workstations can be utilized for various complex, scientific processes. Automating these processes can significantly reduce the possibility of contamination, allowing for more accurate results and a safer process overall. Not only will automating these processes reduce the risk of cross-contamination between samples, but it will also reduce the risk of bodily harm when handling potentially dangerous chemicals.
Wear protective equipment
Personal protective equipment, or PPE as it’s commonly called, is an absolute must in any lab setting. This equipment will often be your first line of defense against potentially harmful chemicals or dangerous equipment and should be worn at all times when in the lab. Proper lab apparel should always be worn when working in a lab, including close-toed shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Protective eyewear, gloves, aprons, and respiratory protectants—such as a medical mask—should also be worn and are especially important when handling potentially harmful or noxious chemicals.
Depending on the size of the space and the work conducted, a lab can become quite loud and busy. In such a loud and fast-paced environment, it can be easy to become distracted. When distracted, workers will be more likely to make errors in their work, which can increase the likelihood of injury. Reducing the lab’s noise level and providing ample space between workstations will help reduce distractions in the lab, thereby also reducing the risk of injury.