A laboratory is a risky workplace with high-risk procedures and hazardous chemical that poses potential threats. Hence preventive measures are superiorly important. In this case, you must understand what is laboratory safety equipment, how it works.
Then you can decorate the laboratory with this safety equipment to maintain a safe and functional environment to the lab for the workers and researchers. Let’s get a comprehensive understanding of the most common yet helpful safety lab equipment for your better convenience.
Lab Safety Equipment
Laboratory equipment isn’t all about microscopes and Bunsen burners. With life-threatening and injuries situations on the line, safety equipment is vital. For example, infectious blood is hazardous and it shouldn’t pass through the clothes and reach the skin. Otherwise, it can cause temporary or worse health damage.
Other laboratory risks include exposure to toxic and corrosive materials, flammable solvents, high-pressure gases, Explosive chemicals, and dangerous microbes. Hence it’s essential to understand what are laboratory safety equipment and how to use them.
Below is some must-have laboratory safety equipment to ensure complete safety from various hazards during working in the lab:
The hands are at more risk of coming into contact with danger. Hence you must wear gloves based on your ideal risk assessment. No matter whether you are experimenting with the closed system or tightly closed containers, wearing safety gloves will protect you from various dangers. Safety gloves will let you handle the following:
- Chemicals of unknown toxicity
- Corrosive items
- Very hot or cold substances
- Hazardous materials
- Rough or sharp-edged objects
When choosing safety gloves, make sure the pair is comfortable and has sufficient length to prevent wrist and hand exposure. More excitingly, the gloves should be perfect for your work. In terms of type, you should have both reusable gloves heat resistant or insulated as well as disposable gloves.
The variation of disposable gloves is nitrile, latex, and vinyl. In addition, check the visible years before use, replace them when compromised, and dispose of them after use. lastly, wash your hands afterward to prevent pollution.
You must wear lab coats whenever working in the lab or clinical areas to get the protection of the skin. This will also help prevent the spread of contamination outside the laboratory. The lab coat can perform as a removable barrier in case of splash or spill from dangerous substances.
These are usually made of absorbent materials and can be either white, long-sleeved, or knee-length. You should remove it promptly if a chemical spill occurs. This way you can hinder such chemicals from soaking through the skin. You should also button close the lab coat to get ultimate skin protection.
The eyes are extremely vulnerable during exposure to dangerous materials and chemicals in the laboratory. The safety glasses also protect eyes from particles and moderate impact related to minor splashes.
This laboratory safety equipment act as a shield and helps carry on the experiment safely. Safety glasses come in various types, allowing you to choose the right style for essentials.
In addition, if you work with chemical substances, opt for chemical or splash safety goggles. Other types of safety glasses are specifically intended for UV light or laser protection. In general, safety glasses should feel comfortable while fitting perfectly around the eyes. And make sure the safety glasses are sanitized and disinfected after use.
In case, if you didn’t wear goggles and somehow something gets into the eyes, keeping eyewash can protect your eye. In this case, you can simply let the water splash into the eyes. Even it’s the fastest first aid for eye injury in the lab. The high-pressure water should dissolve the intruding substances or chemicals and calm the hurt area.
Sometimes, you need to do a potentially risky experiment in the chemistry laboratory. During the experiment, something can produce toxic fumes, foul, and may explode or splash. You should handle these experiments by keeping the fume hood around. it has an inbuilt system to suck any risky fumes away from you while the tough glass protects from accidental burns or splash.
The face mask ensures complete protection of the face preventing splattering or large droplets from entering the nose or mouth. Though Surgical masks are highly effective for this job, these aren’t respirators. It also doesn’t protect the user from breathing in gases, small particles, and chemicals in the air. In addition, the protective quality differs based on the material. In this case, antibacterial and disposable masks are preferable.
First Aid Kit
Risks and hazards are present in the laboratory, making the first aid kit the top choice for such work field. Even you should store first aid kits inaccessible locations and the box should include the:
- Sterile and eye dressings
- Antiseptic cream
No matter the injury, the first aid kit can prevent infection and lower the severity.
It’s a versatile and one-use safety aid that should available in a laboratory. The fire blankets can suffocate small fires and are suitable for wearing without having any special training. In the laboratory, a dire blanket helps control and contains chemical spills. In case the clothing ignites, the fire blankets can smother the flames.
This safety equipment also ensures personal protection during risky works like fire evacuation. Like other laboratory safety equipment, you should also keep the fire blankets in unobstructed, accessible areas.
Like the previous equipment, you should keep at least one fire extinguisher in the laboratory. Place the fire extinguishers in an easily accessible section in the laboratory and you should have the skill to operate them in case of fire. The fire extinguisher comes in lots of variations including foam-based, water-based, and wet chemical.
Another laboratory safety equipment you need is a vacuum system. However, you must make sure the switch and service cord of the vacuum system is free of observable defects and remains accessible for an emergency.
You should also use a trap on the suction line to avoid liquids from being drawn into the pump. If vapors or gases are being drawn through the pump, you should use a cold trap in the suction line to prevent pump oil contamination. In addition, you can put a tray under the pump to hold any oil drips.
Samples, chemicals, and liquids are common in most labs and must need to store in cool and safe environments. In this case, a lab-safe refrigerator is the best bet. And the features it should have are compressors, magnetic door gaskets, no ignition source, and self-closing doors.
During storing flammable chemicals, make sure they don’t have any risky source of electrical sparks inside.
Safety storage cabinets
Though many people don’t consider the storage cabinet as safety equipment in the lab, it makes sense. Locking any dangerous substances into the safe cabinets can limit its access to the students and drastically lower the possibility of lab mishaps. In addition, storage like fume cabinets help clean chemical fumes and resist corrosive effects.
What is the Importance of Laboratory Safety Equipment?
Laboratory safety is a crucial part to make sure the safety of researchers and workers in the lab setting. There can be a hazardous environment with lots of potential risks including fires, explosions, chemical spills, and exposure to dangerous substances.
Hence you can’t overstate the importance of laboratory safety equipment. Along with the risk of accidents and injuries, the lab also prone to the risk of the broader community as
Waste products and dangerous substances can be produced in the environment due to the lack of proper safety measures. In addition, workers should implement a complete laboratory safety program to ensure safety in laboratory settings.
The other important laboratory safety equipment is:
- It prevents injury
- Help avoid making a mistake
- Save lives
- Along with the importance of lab safety equipment in protecting researchers and workers, workers should use several key strategies to ensure the safe operation of the lab. These include:
- Building a comprehensive lab safety program that includes procedures, training, and policies for the safe operation of dangerous substances. This program should modify to the certain risk present in the lab and review as well as updated regularly.
- Offering access to ideal PPE for all employers who use dangerous substances in the lab. And the list includes lab coats, safety glasses, gloves, and respirators.
- Performing regular safety inspections of the lab. A trained person should conduct these inspections in the lab. The procedure includes inspecting for proper storage and dangerous substance labeling and maintenance of protective equipment.
- Applying procedures for spill containment, emergency response, and waste disposal. You should communicate these procedures to all employers and practice and review them regularly to ensure that the employer is prepared to react to emergencies in the lab.
To gather more information on lab safety, workers can refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) lab safety guidelines. This instruction offers detailed suggestions for the safe operation of the lab including inspections, PPE, training, and emergency response procedures.
Overall, lab safety is a helpful part of ensuring the safety of researchers and employers in lab settings. By applying for a comprehensive safety program and offering access to ideal PPE, workers can help avoid mistakes and injuries and protect the wider community from possible hazards.
The safety of researchers and workers in the lab should be supreme as knowledge isn’t expensive as the damage to humans. So once you understand what is laboratory safety equipment, you should be able to ensure optimum safety for the workers and researchers. Remember, you can’t give any excuse for the burns and cuts occurring because of safety concerns for students.