If you operate or work in a laboratory of any kind you must make sure you keep it safe. After all, many labs contain hazardous chemicals, biological agents, and other potentially dangerous substances and tools. And, the sad truth is that when things go wrong in a lab, oftentimes it is not “only” the staff who are put in danger, but rather the entire surrounding community.
Though there are all sorts of laboratories around the globe doing all sorts of work there are some general safety guidelines all lab workers can take to help ensure that they, their coworkers, laboratory, and surrounding community are all kept safe.
The first thing that you must do to keep your laboratory safe is to educate your staff so that they understand that laboratory safety depends upon each and every person in that lab. Moreover, the laboratory staff need to be trained on the lab’s emergency response plan to include where the safety shower, eye wash station, and fire extinguisher are and how to use them.
This emergency response plan needs to be part of a larger, written Health, Safety, and Environmental Protection plan. Laboratories must have someone in charge of the implementation and compliance of the plan. This person will ensure that everyone is trained and also track the training. When necessary, this person will keep on file proof that staff have completed the required training.
Next, laboratories must have the proper protective clothing, equipment, and tools onsite. Staff must be taught that the clothing, equipment, and tools must be used when need be and that they are used properly, kept clean and maintained, and stored correctly.
To ensure that all of these guidelines are being followed, the laboratory manager needs to conduct regular, surprise inspections to confirm that people are complying with these general guidelines and the specific ones of that particular laboratory.