Safety First: Preventing Common Accidents in Laboratories

A laboratory is a place for students to apply science concepts and researchers or scientists to conduct experiments. A lab, unfortunately, is also a haven for various sorts of accidents.

Lab users can stay safe by knowing the accidents that can happen in this environment and learning how to avoid them.

Keep your lab safe by familiarizing yourself these common accidents and solutions:

Scrapes and Cuts

When glassware expands and shatters due to a sudden change in temperature, it can send shards flying into anyone close to the blast radius. These sharp projectiles can cause cuts and scrapes. Lab users can avoid this situation by storing unused glassware away from Bunsen burners and giving glassware time to cool down before exposing the product to a cold liquid.

If you or your lab colleagues accidentally drop glassware, clean up the debris right away. When picking up glass shards, wear cut-resistant gloves to pick up the sharp trash safely. On top of that, use a dustpan and broom to sweep away the rest of the small shards.

Chemical Burns

Chemicals that unintentionally land on your skin or eyes can spell a trip to the emergency room and even result in long-term damage or disfigurement. These unfortunate accidents happen when lab users are in a hurry to get work done.

Additionally, they don’t wear the appropriate safety equipment to prevent a chemical burn. The sad part is that not many researchers put on safety gear at work. According to an article published in Editage Insights, only 40 percent of researchers wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while working in the laboratory.

So avoid the mistake of not wearing proper safety equipment. When working with chemicals, always put on your lab gloves and goggles.

Fire

fire alarm

One of the most useful tools in a laboratory is the Bunsen burner. It’s a convenient way to conduct experiments that require fire. Unfortunately, fires can erupt when lab users aren’t careful with using the heating equipment.

People using the lab can prevent destructive and life-threatening fire accidents by:

  • Sealing and storing all flammable materials
  • Reminding users not to play with the Bunsen burner
  • Training everyone to check the burners for leaks and other problems that can result in sudden flares

Spilled Liquids

Slips and falls are common accidents associated with spilled substances. This happens when lab users spill something and forget (or neglect) to clean up the mess.

When you see a chemical spill on the floor, cordon off the area first before doing anything. Then, use the appropriate cleaning tools to eliminate the spilled substance.

Inhalation

Sometimes, working with chemicals results in the release of gases that can harm human health. Gases, such as chlorine and formaldehyde, can cause serious respiratory problems.

When handling and mixing chemicals, wear the appropriate PPE. Also, use a fume hood and switch on ventilation fans to reduce the gas levels inside the laboratory.

These are just a few of the accidents that happen in labs. With these preventive measures, you can minimize accidents and keep the laboratory safe for everyone.

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