Laboratory scientists are exposed to high levels of hazardous substances. This means their lives are always in danger, and they must always stay vigilant to avoid harming themselves or others. If you work as a lab scientist or have any other profession which entails hazardous materials, you must take precautionary measures before beginning any project. These safety tips will help make your job safer while improving your performance. Below are some critical safety tips every lab scientist needs to follow.
1. Wear Protective Lab Attire
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a fancy name for what we all refer to as “chem-gear.” Safety glasses, gloves, and lab coats are the most important things to wear. Proper protective gear increases your awareness of hazards and may prevent injury. Accidents can occur while working with caustic chemicals, corrosive acids, and other hazardous materials that can harm your skin.
2. Become Familiar With The Dangers Of The Work Environment
Overcoming fear is one of the essential skills in any professional field. The same is true for dangerous situations in the lab. You must be ready for anything and understand how your particular chemicals react with others to create potential dangers. Becoming familiar with all potential hazards will help you identify potential problems before they happen and prevent avoidable accidents from occurring.
3. Do Not Bring Food Or Drink Into The Lab
One might be tempted to bring in a quick lunch to enjoy during your time in the lab, but this is not allowed. All foods and drinks must be prepared outside the lab to avoid cross-contamination. Also, certain items are unsafe for consumption in the lab to prevent contamination. For example, you should not eat foods such as raw eggs or drink from an open container that could contaminate other substances.
4. Dispose of Lab Waste Safely
Disposing of hazardous waste must be done in a timely and efficient manner. Lab scientists should look for a dumpster labeled “hazardous waste,” not place the substance in the regular trash. Regular garbage bins are unsanitary and can potentially make harmful chemicals airborne. Corrosive substances may destroy non-lab waste cans, so finding a lab-specific container is essential.
5. Use Proper Chemical Procedures
Lab scientists must practice the proper use of chemical procedures at all times—if not, accidents that have serious consequences can occur. As a scientist, you should be well-versed in handling chemicals and keeping them in proper containers. Scientists must understand that they are constantly taking hazardous substances, even if it is not obvious to the naked eye. Restricting your experiments to the lab bench is another excellent way to avoid accidents that may cause harm or death.
6. Wash Your Hands And Change Out Of Lab Attire Before Leaving
This is a simple step that only some scientists take into consideration. Your job as a lab scientist entails being in close contact with chemicals, and you should always take the time to thoroughly wash your hands when finished working to avoid any potential contamination on surfaces outside of the lab environment.
7. Handle Lab Equipment Carefully
Accidents will happen if proper precautions are not taken. The right lab safety equipment is also critical for safely performing experiments. Gloves, goggles, and nitrile gloves are used to handle chemicals and perform procedures in the lab setting. Lab safety glasses protect the eyes from harmful chemicals that could otherwise cause irreversible eye damage or blindness. Sustaining an injury due to laboratory equipment is a real possibility, so using the proper equipment is necessary to ensure safety and prevent accidents.
8. Follow the Instructions
Acting exemplary in the lab is also essential and can help ensure safety. The safety of others could be compromised if you do not follow the proper procedures. Furthermore, ignoring this step could end up in a hazardous situation—this is one area that cannot be overlooked. Ensuring safety is a team effort between you and your work environment. It is necessary to follow instructions if you wish to avoid accidents and costly lawsuits. The best laboratories worldwide can get sued for hundreds or even millions of dollars due to an employee’s error, so following the proper procedures becomes very important. It’s not just about your safety; it’s also about the safety of others around you.
While it may seem like a waste of time, following these precautions will help you and your colleagues receive the highest performance out of the lab so that your work is always at its best; with knowledge, it is easier to stay safe while conducting dangerous experiments. Exposure to dangerous chemicals is inevitable; staying aware and prepared eliminates unnecessary risks by designing effective complementary scientific lab designs that improve performance.