When you step inside a laboratory, make sure to read the data sheets posted on the walls. Familiarize yourself with the chemicals, biological agents, and follow these five rules to comply with laboratory safety.
Wear Protective Goggles
The data sheets posted in laboratories provide a list of the dangerous chemicals and materials available to work with. Wear protective goggles to shield your eyes from harmful agents, abrasive materials, and flammable chemicals. Never take these goggle off or you’ll be risking the chance of losing your eyesight from exposure to harmful elements.
Wear Protective Shoes and Clothing
In addition to your eyes, protect your body. Wear clothing that shields your body from exposure. Make sure your wardrobe includes but is not limited to a cotton lab coat, apron, long sleeves, pants, and sealed rubber shoes. Sealed rubber shoes will protect you from any chemicals that spill on the floor. The rubber sole will grasp the floor making it less likely for you to slip and fall. Also, always wear latex gloves to protect your hands and skin from toxic, corrosive and irritating allergens.
Precautions With Hazardous Materials
It is imperative that you understand each chemical you use and keep track of its inventory. Because hazardous materials, chemicals, and liquids are compounded by specific agents, you must record any carcinogenic substances you use. Some substances have short lifespans and may become flammable when expired. Keep compressed gasses in secure cylinders in accordance with Cal Osha regulations. Moreover, lab chemicals are always considered dangerous so never taste any chemistry, liquid or powder. When transferring liquid, use a pipette, funnel or beaker provided by the lab. And most important, always wipe spillage and wash your hands with soap and water.
Keep a Clean Work Area
Keep your work area clean to avoid accidents. Funnels, test tubes, beakers, and breakables must be kept away from the edge of the table. If you break glass or spill any substance, clean it immediately. It is imperative to keep hazardous materials in your work area sealed. Additionally, avoid overcrowding and maintain microscopes, microtomes and computer workstations immaculate to avoid contamination.
Follow Emergency Procedures
Emergencies in a laboratory can mean a matter of life or death. You must act fast and discern what to do. Make sure you know where the first-aid kit. It should always be stacked and up-to-date. Know where the fire extinguisher is located. In case of a fire, contain contagious agents by placing them inside refrigerators, freezers, autoclaves or incubators. In case your eyes become exposed to dangerous chemicals, know where the eye-washer is. Familiarize yourself with evacuation procedures and exits and always call 911.