It is essential for everyone working in a testing laboratory to follow the laboratory safety rules. Labs are inherently hazardous environments, between the toxic chemicals to risks of fires, there’s a lot that could go wrong. Keep these guidelines in mind to keep you and your team safe and avoid any unfortunate mishaps.
1. Follow the instructions
It’s essential to pay attention to your lab supervisor and follow given instructions regarding the experiment. Make sure you ask all relevant questions before starting the test so that you can handle the procedure with peace of mind. This step is crucial because if you do not follow instructions you may endanger yourself or others present in the laboratory.
2. Properly handle all equipment
It’s very important to keep all the laboratory equipment in the right place and understand how to use them correctly. While working in the laboratory, you should also review lab safety signs and check them before starting the experiment.
3. Follow the dress code
While working in the laboratory, don’t forget to wear your lab coat. You should also wear covered shoes, loose clothing, long pants, and, if you have long hair, make sure it’s tied back. You need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as well if required. This includes safety goggles, gloves, ear coverings and any other important PPE that your experiment requires. This will help to minimize hazards in the laboratory.
4. Leave the food and drinks in the break room
You should never eat or drink food or beverages in the laboratory. Avoid keeping your food items in the same refrigerator where you keep chemicals or any experimental materials if not, it could easily lead to cross-contamination with chemicals or pathogens.
You’re not just risking your health, but the validity of your experiments. You could easily spill food or drinks, ruining all your hard work.
Food and drink in the laboratory can also be a distraction or others and lead to mistakes.
5. Electrical safety rules
Electronic equipment can be found in almost every laboratory. Ensure you comply with electrical safety rules whenever you are in the lab to avoid accidents.
- Report any faulty or damaged equipment to your supervisor so it can be replaced.
- Make sure you’ve been trained on how to use high voltage equipment.
- Never change or modify high voltage equipment.
- The high voltage power supply must be turned off when you are not using it.
- Don’t use extension cords as they can cause a tripping hazard.
- Make sure electrical panels easily accessible.
6. Laser Safety rules
There are some labs that use lasers. If you are in one, it is very important to conform to laser safety rules so keep yourself safe from any damage or injury. It is important to set proper rules for the use of lasers to help everyone know about the hazards.
- You should never look into a laser beam even if you think it is safe to do so.
- Do not keep your head at the same level as the laser beam.
- Keep the laser beam at or below your chest level.
- Avoid walking through a laser beam.
- Wear goggles when working near a laser. Injuries can be caused by scattered laser light that reflects shiny surfaces.
7. Dispose of lab waste properly
Clean up after carrying out your experiment and return all the materials and equipment used to the appropriate place. Ensure the lab is clean and dispose of any waste, especially chemical waste properly. Always wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of waste or handling chemicals, or other testing materials.
8. Have an accident response protocol
Of course, you should always try to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place, but you also need to be prepared in case one does happen. If an accident does happen:
- Immediately report the situation to your supervisor immediately.
- If anyone is injured, burned or exposure to chemicals while working in the lab, get medical help right away.
- Always make sure there are working fire extinguishers, safety showers, and eyewash stations.
9. Keep the experiments in the lab
Always keep experiments and equipment in the lab, they should not be taken home. Leaving the laboratory with experiments could expose others to dangerous chemicals or pathogens and compromise the integrity of your work.
10. Have the right insurance
Getting insurance for testing laboratories is necessary to ensure coverage against claims from bodily injury, equipment/property damage and personal injury in the lab. Here are the basic policies you should consider:
- Errors & Omissions (E&O): This policy will protect your lab against associated with mistakes that are made in lab tests
- General Liability: This policy is necessary to protect your lab against claims of property damage or bodily injury to third-party individuals
- Commercial Property: As the name suggests, this policy will cover damage to property or equipment in the lab
- Workers Compensation: This policy covers medical expenses for employees who are injured or get sick at work.
- Pollution Liability: This policy can cover the costs associated with cleaning up any hazardous material that leaks outside the lab or causes bodily injury or property damage to nearby residents.
Working in a lab can offer a fun and exciting career, but it also comes with several risks. Make sure you minimize these hazards by following the safety guidelines above.