A strict set of general laboratory safety rules is essential to avoid disasters in the laboratory. Lab Manager recently scoured the security policies of several labs to determine some of the most common lab security rules to help you develop or update a set of policies for your own lab. Of course, safety rules are only effective if they are enforced, which is why solid laboratory management is also so important for a safe laboratory. It is also important to know the right laboratory safety signs and symbols. To ensure that your laboratory never makes headlines with headlines such as “Smallpox vials discovered in storage room”, 1 “Anthrax exposure results from a breach of safety protocol”, 2, or “Live poliovirus solution accidentally released into local water”, 3, you should follow the following laboratory safety rules. They apply to all general research laboratories and are based on the principle of containment, which allows you, your colleagues, the environment and the public to protect yourself, the environment and the public from unintentional exposure to biological agents. Why is this the most important rule? If you don`t follow it: Follow the “dress code” and hygiene rules described in this section to protect yourself from danger and contamination. Like almost all other workplaces, laboratories also contain electronic devices. Electrical safety rules help prevent misuse of electronic instruments, electric shock and other injuries and ensure that damaged equipment, cables or plugs are reported to the competent authorities so that they can be repaired or replaced.
Store flammable and combustible materials in safety cabinets that offer features such as a double-walled steel construction with insulating space or raised door sills to curb spills.10 Acids and bases should be stored in separate cabinets as they would react violently if both were to leak. Contrary to the guidelines of the Laboratory Dress Code, the personal protection rules cover what laboratory employees must wear to protect themselves from various hazards, as well as the basic hygiene rules to follow to avoid any type of contamination. Laboratory cleaning rules also apply to most facilities and deal with the basic maintenance, order and maintenance of a safe laboratory. In the event of a problem, it is important to know the location of the safety equipment and its use. It`s a good idea to check the equipment regularly to make sure it`s in order. For example, does the water actually come from the safety shower? Does the water in the washbasin look clean? Please note that although this article is intended to cover the most important regulations, it is not exhaustive. You should complete it by reading the safety documents provided by your laboratory and making sure you comply with local and national regulations. Use Bunsen burners only in areas free of combustible materials and chemicals that produce flammable fumes. To further reduce the risk of fire, never leave a burning Bunsen burner unattended and remember to turn off the gas after use.
However, a leak is always possible and you should consider using a Bunsen safety burner, regardless of the gas distribution systems. This solution adds an extra layer of safety as the gas valve closes automatically when the flame is extinguished. 2. When handling chemicals in the laboratory, it is important to proceed with caution. The importance of laboratory safety cannot be overstated. Scientific laboratories expose researchers to a potentially dangerous environment that presents many dangers: chemical, biological, physical and even radioactive. A review article published in November 2019 by Dana Ménard and John Trant in Nature paints a frightening picture of the general attitude towards laboratory safety. Here are some of the alarming findings of the study: Here are the safety rules that appeared most often in our review of the guidelines of several laboratories: The laboratory safety rules explained above can help you avoid accidents.
However, guidelines are only effective if they are followed by each member of the laboratory. We therefore recommend that you check that your laboratory`s security policies are up to date and share this article with your colleagues. Some laboratories use lasers. If you are one, it is very important to adhere to the safety rules of the laser, so protect yourself from damage or injury. It is important to establish appropriate rules for the use of lasers so that everyone knows the dangers. For anyone working in a testing laboratory, it is important to follow the laboratory`s safety rules. Laboratories are inherently dangerous environments, between toxic chemicals and the risk of fires, there are many things that could go wrong. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself and your team and avoid unfortunate incidents. An important safe laboratory rule is to know what to do with your experiment when it is complete.
Before you start an experiment, you need to know what to do at the end. Don`t leave your mess to the next person to clean. Never work alone to ensure that help is always available in an emergency and do not use headphones to hear alarms. Always leave the lab to eat, drink or apply cosmetics, and do not sniff or taste liquids to find out, for example, what is in an unlabeled tube or bottle. If it`s unavoidable to work alone, take a lone worker device with you. Devices for lone workers offer safety features such as an help button or the detection of work waste. The same rules apply during transport inside the building, and you must also use a labeled transport box to decontaminate the surface before leaving the laboratory. If possible, avoid going through common areas such as cafeterias on the way to your colleague`s lab and use a trolley tray for a high number of samples. For your safety and that of others, it is important to leave your experience in the laboratory. Don`t take it home with you.
You could have a spill or lose a sample or have an accident. This is how sci-fi movies begin. In real life, you can hurt someone, cause a fire, or lose your lab privileges. Another important aspect of laboratory safety that has a significant impact is knowing how to properly use laboratory equipment. In this section, we will briefly discuss the most important points to consider in addition to regular maintenance. Smoke cabinets protect you and your laboratory from the fumes and gases produced by volatile chemicals. To ensure safe operation of the trigger, be sure to position your test setup at least 15 cm (6 inches) from the front opening so that you can close the wing immediately if necessary. Keep the wing as low as possible during work, as it serves as a safety shield between you and the chemicals you use. After completing an experiment, place the hazardous materials in a closed container before pulling them out of the trigger and close the wing before leaving.12,13 A particularly important safety rule is to inform a supervisor if and when an accident occurs. Don`t lie about it or try to hide it.
If you are cut, exposed to a chemical, bitten by a laboratory animal or spill something, there can be consequences, and the danger is not necessarily just for you. If you don`t receive care, you could sometimes expose others to a toxin or pathogen. If you don`t admit to an accident, you could cause big problems for your lab.