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How to Prevent Potential Hazards in a Lab 11 March, 2021   

It's no secret that there's an inherent danger when working in a laboratory environment. Lab personnel and technicians often work with caustic and toxic chemicals which can harm their health. Some of the most common lab environment injuries include burns, eye damage, suffocation, and asphyxiation. If personnel aren't careful during the transport and use of dangerous chemicals, these types of injuries may occur.
Because of this, it's crucial that laboratory personnel take precautions and ensure that the chance of injury is minimized. There are numerous ways to increase safety in the lab. 

Treat all chemicals as though they were gasoline

As a rule of thumb in laboratory settings, chemicals should be treated as though they are gasoline. While individual substances might not be explosive or flammable, during spills they may combine with other chemicals and create dangerous reactions.
By treating every substance as though it were volatile, personnel will be more careful when handling them. This minimizes the chance of spills and accidental reactions that could lead to injury. Every laboratory should have a fire extinguisher readily available which personnel will keep near them while doing experiments. 

Wear protective gear during experiments

One of the most common issues in dangerous work environments is the fact that workers get too comfortable while working with their tools. Those with experience may disregard safety protocol from time to time because they're used to doing their job. This creates a dangerous work environment that can result in injury if they slip up.
Wearing safety gear is crucial when working with hazardous chemicals. Many substances can be absorbed through the skin, which is why gloves are essential. Staff should wear appropriate gloves depending on the chemical they work with. Protective eyewear can prevent eye injuries from toxic fumes and spills, which are common hazards in lab environments.

Ensure proper lab ventilation

Many laboratories deal with solvents that produce toxic fumes which can damage eyes, soft membranes, and airways. If the production of these fumes is an inevitable part of common reactions in the laboratory, the area has to have proper ventilation. Excess solvents shouldn't be evaporated in the open. Personnel must dispose of them in a manner that would minimize toxic fume production.
When working with hazardous chemicals, laboratory personnel should also keep a safe distance from areas where toxic fumes are produced. Limit exposure to the fumes when pouring chemicals and emphasize the importance of airing out the lab after reactions. While there's no way to eliminate the risk, taking precautions will help keep personnel as safe as possible. 

Use high-quality lab equipment

The quality of equipment used in the laboratory can have an enormous impact on safety. When using cheaper materials and lower quality safety gear, there's more of a risk of injury. Containers that store volatile and toxic chemicals should be durable and long-lasting to reduce the chance of leaks occurring by accident.
Many laboratories cut back on operation costs by using cheaper materials. If you want to create a safer work environment, you need to invest in high-quality laboratory equipment that will meet the needs of your laboratory. With the right kind of equipment and safety gear, you can minimize the risk of injury for lab employees. 

Conduct safety drills and inspections

Keeping the laboratory safe requires constant vigilance. Personnel must be trained adequately for common situations that involve hazards. To make sure that everyone in the lab can deal with spills and fires, conduct safety drills from time to time. This will help personnel react quickly once there's a real situation that requires their attention.
Inspect important lab elements to ensure that they are ready for experiments. If safety containers show signs of degradation, it's crucial that you replace them as soon as possible. 

Emphasize the importance of patience

Many lab personnel find themselves in hazardous situations due to impatience when conducting experiments. It's not uncommon for personnel to break glass tubing while trying to force a cork inside, which leads to cuts and lacerations.
The lab policy should emphasize patience and a slow-and-steady approach during experiments. If personnel don’t feel pressured while doing their jobs, they're less likely to make mistakes that can result in injury. 

Conclusion

Safety is of the utmost importance when conducting experiments in a laboratory setting. Carelessness and lack of oversight can lead to unnecessary personnel injury or even death.
With the right safety precautions, lab personnel can do their jobs in the safest possible environment and not have to worry about being hurt. This will lead to increased productivity and positivity in the workplace. In the end, it's in the interest of every laboratory owner to keep their employees safe from harm. By following the above steps, you can keep risks to a minimum and create the most productive lab environment possible. 


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