6 Laboratory Safety Tips You Need to Know

If you love science, then spending all day in the laboratory can be a dream come true. However, when it comes to working with toxic and chemical substances, safety is a must.  A little research and preparation will keep you safe and healthy while you work.

Know Where The Safety Equipment Is Located

The first safety tip that we have for you is to understand where the safety equipment is located. This is important for two reasons. First, things like safety goggles and gloves are a necessity to ensure your physical safety while working in the laboratory. You never want to proceed with any sort of experiment without having the proper attire to do so. Second, you should know where safety centers are. These are things like fire extinguishers and eye wash stations. This way, if something bad does happen, you know where your safety resources are apt to limit the damage that happens. In most cases, the quicker you can respond, the less damage the incident will create.

Dress Appropriately

It’s a necessity that you wear the right clothes to the laboratory because your clothes are your first layer of protection against harm. It’s best to wear clothes that cover a large portion of your skin so you can avoid direct contact with any harmful chemicals while in the laboratory. Good choices include covered shoes, long sleeves, and long pants. You should have your hair up and out of the way so that it doesn’t get into an experiment. Leave your flip-flops and shorts at home.

Don’t Bring Food and Drinks into The Lab

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As a general rule of thumb, don’t do your eating and drinking in the laboratory. You put any of your food or drinks at risk of being contaminated by the substances that are utilized in the lab. While you may try to take safety precautions, there’s always the possibility that something bad could happen. For example, you could set your sandwich down on a clean bench that actually has residue from past experiments on it. Also, don’t utilize any refrigerator space that has current chemicals, cultures, or experiments in it. The pathogens may transfer from the cultures or chemicals into your food and drinks.

Label Everything

When you’re doing experiments, it’s likely that you can be working with some toxic chemicals. It’s best to have a label on all your projects and containers to ensure that you and everybody else knows what is on them. It can be very dangerous to not label substances as you can mistake them for others or someone around you may mistake what it is for something else. Labels are super simple to store in the laboratory and can-do wonders for making your and your fellow co-workers’ laboratory experience much safer.

Know How to Properly Clean Up Once You’re Done

When it comes to the end of your laboratory experiment, it’s a necessity to know how to clean up properly. Depending on the chemicals that you’re working with, some may not be safe to just pour down the drain. You may need to dispose of them in a proper hazardous trash bin. If you were working with cultures, then you should know how to properly clean up the test tubes and other storage materials to prevent dangerous organisms from forming in the future.

Know What to Do When Accidents Occur

One of the best safety tips that we can give you is to learn what you need to do when an accident occurs. There are many common scenarios that should be played out ahead of time so you can rehearse what to do. Some of these include spilling a chemical, touching a toxic chemical without gloves, and a fire. When you know what to do when these unpleasant scenarios happen, you can act effortlessly when they do.

Being safe in the laboratory should be your top concern. While laboratories can be super fun for those who love science, they can also be extremely dangerous. The above six tips will help to ensure that you’re making your laboratory experience as safe as possible for you and others you work with.

About the author

David van der Ende is a full-time blogger and part-time graphic design enthusiast. He loves to write about a broad range of topics, but his professional background in both legal and finance drives him to write on these two subjects most frequently.