Tips On Keeping Your Lab Clean and Safe

Lab safety image 
Safety should be paramount on the mind of anyone who enters a laboratory. While some interesting and useful outcomes have occurred due to mishaps in the lab serious injury and even death are always a possible outcome of working in unsafe and unclean lab conditions.

Who is responsible for lab safety and cleaning?

The simple answer is anyone who enters a laboratory setting should understand the inherent dangers associated with the particular type of environment they are in. Beyond this, there are the technicians, project managers, student teaching assistants and instructor/professors who must be responsible for what happens inside their work spaces.

Depending upon the type of lab in question and the work or research performed there, safety and cleanliness can be the most important factor associated with keeping lab workers free from serious injury or death. When working conditions are convoluted due to a lack of cleanliness, for instance, those attempting to produce quality research can have their efforts hampered. Additionally, quantifiable results can be seriously questioned when the lab is considered unsafe from a lack of cleanliness.

What is involved with maintaining a safe, clean lab environment? The following seven tips will provide a basis for where most laboratory workers or students should begin.

7 Safety and Cleanliness Tips For Every Lab Worker

  1. Know the Rules: Most lab procedures require one to be exposed to and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations specific to the lab in question. Be sure to understand and adhere to any and all rules laid out by management or school officials.
  2. Preparation: Be sure to understand what processes are going to be undertaken when entering a lab to perform work or research. If questions arise as to proper procedures, seek the answers from qualified sources prior to actually performing the day's lab functions.
  3. Work Neat: A hallmark of good science is being able to reproduce results, as well as report accurately activities which brought one to those results. Cleaning up as one goes, taking care of inadvertent spilling, or other messes should help one reduce the incident of accidents in the lab.
  4. Wear Proper Protective Clothing: Every year deaths occur during laboratory accidents as a direct result of victims not donning proper protective clothing, eye wear, non-flammable aprons, etc. In one of many tragic lab accidents, the Chemical & Engineering News, Science and Technology division reported that, "[the victims] clothes [caught on fire]. She was wearing nitrile gloves, no lab coat, and no one remembers if she was wearing eye protection."
  5. Safety Goggles: They usually aren't the most stylish things to wear, however, eye protection can provide a lab accident victim with the ability to see where first aid and eye/body wash facilities are located.
  6. Safety Equipment Locations: Having clear knowledge of the location of such items as fire extinguisher, first aid kits, broken glass waste containers, and the like are paramount. Additionally, know where emergency exits are located in case of a smoke filled room presents boundaries to leaving a dangerous situation.
  7. Some Serious Do Not Dos: Regardless of how humorous it seems on TV or movies, don't eat or drink in a laboratory setting. Contamination of ones food and drink presents a serious risk of poisoning. Be careful where and when to dispose of used chemical reagents. Most lab chemicals should not be poured down the drain of a sink. Get proper disposal information before discarding anything of question in the lab. Just say no to playing pranks or jokes while in the lab.

Lab safety and cleanliness is the responsibility of everyone who comes in contact with the inside of the work space. Safety should be on ones mind from the moment they enter until after they have left the lab. Working in a clean and organized manner should become second nature, especially when considering how the alternatives could affect yourself and others around you in the lab.

About The Author
Vern Marker is a freelance writer and science geek at heart. His areas of expertise include lab equipment and chemistry.

This is a Guest post by Vern Marker, if you want to write for science decoder as well click here

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5 Response to Tips On Keeping Your Lab Clean and Safe

August 12, 2011 at 2:30 AM

I think its a very good concept.
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October 17, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Yes it is we would like to thank Vern marker for his contribution.

December 7, 2015 at 3:00 AM

these tips are really awesome and important to keep clean lab.

July 19, 2018 at 12:23 AM

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