Because many laboratories handle sensitive and dangerous substances, sanitation and safety should always be the top priorities. This prevents contamination or defects in the lab’s tests or products and ensures everyone goes home safely at the end of the day. To help elevate your workplace, here are some tips and considerations for a safe laboratory.
The most basic consideration for a safe laboratory is how to go about keeping the lab space clean and clear of hazards. A messy workspace can introduce additional hazards to the lab, such as slippery floors, debris that creates tripping hazards, and particles that may contaminate your work. Food and drink should never be brought into the lab for this exact reason and because the food may become contaminated with hazardous material that you don’t want to consume.
In addition to keeping the laboratory clean, anyone working in a lab needs to maintain high hygiene standards. This can include something as simple as washing their hands after handling a substance, but employees should also ensure their skin is moisturized and healthy. Dry and cracked skin provides an easier route to exposure.
Updating Your Equipment
As with all things, time and wear take their toll on your lab equipment. It’s important that everyone in the lab is able to recognize the signs of worn-down equipment so that they can replace it quickly. This is incredibly important because defective equipment can easily ruin the results of your work or cause unforeseen injuries. It is in the best interest of the laboratory to ensure body protection, guarantee regular inspections and replace equipment as needed rather than waiting for a piece of equipment to have a catastrophic failure.
Never Work Alone
During work hours, you should never work alone in the lab. Having others around to assist you will lend extra eyes to notice any hazards you may have overlooked, and you’ll have immediate support if something does go wrong. If a process requires fewer people to be present in the lab, make sure you communicate well so that everyone is aware of what is occurring.