Risks in a lab

How to Recognize and Avoid Them

Working in a laboratory involves risks and dangers through a variety of hazardous substances or situations. The types of danger can be divided into four classes: chemical hazards, electrical hazards, biological hazards and physical hazards. To be prepared for the dangers and be able to prevent them, you must first have knowledge of the risks.

Chemical Hazards: Wear protective clothing during lab work

Some of the chemical substances that are used in a laboratory can cause skin irritation or other serious injuries. Therefore, it is always necessary to wear protective clothing during laboratory work. This includes wearing gloves, eye protection and a mask over the mouth. It is not only direct contact with some substances can be a danger.

The types of danger can be divided into four classes: chemical hazards, electrical hazards, biological hazards and physical hazards.

Chemical substances can cause skin irritation or other serious injuries

Contact between substances can in some cases trigger a chemical reaction. Ensuring ventilation equipment is correctly adjusted and in full working order is also important. Malfunctioning ventilation systems could lead to an explosion risk in the course of a chemical reaction.

It is easy to avoid hazards with chemical substances as long you observe a few things. Even if gloves are worn in a lab, regular hand washing is required. In addition, chemicals should be stored separately from each other. This minimizes the risk of chemical reactions.

Electrical Hazards: Check your electrical devices regularly

Electrical devices should be checked regularly to ensure that they cannot cause a short circuit. It is important that the devices are properly connected and cables are well routed. Electrical hazards can result in life-threatening situations – it is important not to underestimate such dangers.

Biological Hazards: Pay attention to proper storage

A laboratory may not only work with chemical substances, but also with substances of biological origin. These include bacteria, viruses or even blood. Biological substances can carry diseases and pose a danger to laboratory technicians. These diseases can spread in a laboratory with laboratory staff themselves becoming carriers. To prevent a biological emergency, proper storage and protection is required. This includes wearing protective clothing and the safe storage of biological agents. Hygiene regulations must be followed at all times. In order to respond properly in an emergency, it is important to prepare in advance for such situations.

Physical Hazards: Regular training helps to prevent physical risks

Physical hazards are a risk. These can be present not only in the lab, but also on construction sites, in the office or at home. In a laboratory there is often a lot of technical equipment and other materials. It is very easy to stumble over something or slip on something wet.

Store equipment properly to prevent physical risks

Regular training helps to prevent physical risks

Therefore, care must be taken that equipment is properly stowed and, in cases where liquid substances are spilled, the floor is quickly cleaned. Some laboratories work with glass tubes which have a tendency to break very easily. Glass equipment should be checked for damage in advance before being used. Another danger is the incorrect handling or use of equipment. Often, heavy objects are carried incorrectly which can lead to health consequences.

In order to avoid such physical risks, it is important to point out potential dangers. This can be done through regular training in which employees learn how to handle laboratory equipment correctly. Emergency first aid training should be provided by a trained team member.  

 

References:

Laboratory Hazards And Risk: https://www.labmanager.com/lab-health-and-safety/2011/09/laboratory-hazards-and-risks#.W9FuzsSxXRY

My new Lab: https://www.mynewlab.com/blog/working-in-a-laboratory-the-hazards-and-risks/