Whether you’re new to the lab or a seasoned veteran, safety should always be a top priority. The last thing you want is to be injured or, even worse, cause an accident.
A laboratory that is safe for both students and staff is essential for effective teaching and learning to take place. These are some tips for creating a safe laboratory environment and preventing accidents.
Create a Safety Plan
The first step in creating a safe laboratory environment is to develop a safety plan. The safety plan should minimize the risk of accidents and injuries. It should cover all laboratory aspects, including chemical storage, equipment use, and emergency procedures.
The safety plan should be reviewed and updated regularly, and all staff and students should be familiar with it. Run through safety procedures regularly, and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an accident.
Proper Storage of Chemicals and Equipment
One of the most important aspects of a safe laboratory environment is properly storing chemicals and equipment. Use the best labeling practices for chemicals and store them in a cool, dry place. Keep flammable and corrosive chemicals stored safely, away from heat and ignition sources.
All equipment should be properly maintained and stored when not in use. Loose wires and damaged equipment can pose a serious safety hazard.
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a must in any laboratory. Some examples of PPE you’ll find in a laboratory include:
- Lab coats
- Face masks
PPE protects you from potential hazards, so use it properly. Remove PPE when you leave the laboratory, and wash your hands thoroughly.
Do Not Eat or Drink in the Laboratory
Food and drink should never be allowed in the laboratory. Chemicals can contaminate food and beverages and vice versa, posing serious health hazards.
If you must eat or drink, do so in a designated area outside of the laboratory. Wash your hands thoroughly before returning to the laboratory.
Keep the Laboratory Clean
A clean laboratory is a safe laboratory. Make sure to clean up spills immediately and dispose of waste properly. All surfaces should be clean and free of clutter.
Do your part to keep the laboratory clean, and report any safety hazards you see to a laboratory supervisor.
Follow these tips to create a safe laboratory environment and prevent accidents. Your laboratory will be a safer place for everyone, and you’ll be able to focus on your work. Not to mention, you’ll set a good example for students!