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The Importance of Health and Safety in the Laboratory

Laboratory safety is of paramount importance and thus this safety resource has been created, to encourage and promote safe and efficient working practices in any laboratory.

By Sarah Cohen from SC Consulting | 10 November 2022

In laboratories one may encounter a wide array of safety hazards including chemicals, electrical equipment, and biohazardous materials, hence it is vital to understand the importance of laboratory safety. If something goes awry, more than just testing and research project schedules can be affected. Equipment can be damaged, and individuals in the workplace may be injured.

When working in a laboratory, it is important to familiarise staff with the equipment and processes in the working space. It is also crucial to be aware and cautious of other co-workers in the work area.

Familiarisation with the laboratory and always following proper safety procedures, can help to prevent or eliminate hazards. It is also important to know the proper steps to take in the unfortunate event that something does go wrong. Laboratories are designed with safety in mind; however, accidents can happen, which is why it is best to be prepared and informed of potential laboratory hazards.

Laboratory safety is of paramount importance and thus this safety resource has been created, to encourage and promote safe and efficient working practices in any laboratory.

Whilst many laboratories are governed by their own rules and regulations, much of the safety precautions come down to each individual. Senior staff cannot be available at all times for supervision and for this reason; responsibility ultimately falls to the individual.

Laboratory accidents and problems are mainly accountable due to haste and taking shortcuts and not following documented processes, therefore it is important to take your time - not only for safety reasons, but also to avoid wasting samples, money, and time.

Anyone working or visiting the lab must wear correct safety equipment, and consumption of food or drinks must not be permitted. A clean, uncluttered laboratory is more likely to encourage careful accident-free work.

Development of safety skills may be divided into four key areas:

This training will provide an overview of general safety rules and requirements, chemical safety, personal protective equipment and barriers, waste management, spills and accident handling and fire safety. Throughout this resource we will review the importance of safety and emphasize that safety awareness in the laboratory starts with familiarizing yourself with all equipment and correct procedures before commencing work.

An overview of common laboratory audit safety findings will also be discussed as these are a necessary to ensure corrective and preventive actions and continuous improvement are a key part of safety in the workplace.

Sarah Cohen

SC Consulting

Book time with Sarah  on TheConflab