Common laboratory hazards
Whether you are an experienced part of a research team, an aspiring scientist or lab manager, it is important that you are aware of the potential hazards and risks in the scientific laboratory.
Many laboratories are more dangerous and riskier than the average workplace – the cost of cutting-edge science. Whether you are looking for a cure, a breakthrough or a new technology, it is very important that you and the entire team understand any dangers from the lab.
Here are some of the most common hazards and risks of modern laboratories:
Handling chemicals is part of a typical day for many laboratory workers, but the risks and dangers remain the same. Both organic and inorganic chemicals can be corrosive to the skin and eyes, with some being toxic. Full safety equipment should be given to each member of the team handling chemicals, and provisions for treating exposure or cleaning spills should be present in the laboratory.
It is not only direct contact that is possible, as harmful chemical reactions that produce heat can cause burns. This further demonstrates the importance of ensuring that skin is protected from potential burns and exposure.
Even the most experienced research professionals can ignore basic safety principles when working with electricity – so it is very important that protection measures are employed throughout the laboratory. Especially dangerous are electrical units positioned close to liquid, and such equipment must be equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters to break the circuit of any current flow to the ground.
Other common issues which can occur include poor quality or unsafe wiring and plugs. All electrical devices used in the laboratory must be up-to-date and in accordance with the connected devices before they are used. Any electrical equipment, from the adapter to the cable that has not been safety tested could endanger the safety of laboratories and research teams.
The use of bacteria, viruses, blood, tissue and / or body fluids at the laboratory does raise the risk of biological hazards. Materials like these can carry disease or harmful allergens that may put staff at risk. The effects of the disease and allergens can happen directly or take a significant time to manifest, indicating the importance that all members of the lab team are given adequate protection, even if the danger is not yet known. Particularly difficult times include lab relocations, where the need to clean, contain and transport carefully is paramount. Many labs decide to use Lab Relocation Services. Find out more at https://www.aportglobal.com/
Diseases carried by humans and animals used in research can be transmitted by the team, who then can become carriers. The result could be that the biological hazards prove to be a significant risk for not only professionals who work with the material, but whoever they come into contact with outside of work. Sometimes it is very infectious, biohazards being among the greatest risks of modern research laboratories, so that every consideration should be made to ensure the team and the broader community are protected against infectious agents.