Reviewing Lab Safety Standards
When working in or managing any type of laboratory, you need to always have the best possible safety standards in place. Labs are typically filled with all sorts of hazardous chemicals and materials that can cause serious health and safety issues for those working in the area, and even those in the surrounding locations.
In order to help maintain proper safety standards, OSHA and other safety organizations have made many different regulations and suggestions on how to keep people safe in these environments.
Taking the time to review these regulations is important, but perhaps more important is making sure that everyone working in the lab is properly trained on how to follow the safety standards. This is why each laboratory should have a set of training requirements that everyone follows at all times.
Before anyone starts working in a laboratory, they should be given some level of general lab safety training for the facility. Some points that must be touched on during this training include the following:
- Equipment Training – Learning how to use each piece of equipment in a lab is essential. Even if an individual generally won’t be working with certain pieces, they should still understand at a basic level what the machine does and how it works so they can respond properly to any safety concerns.
- Safety Process Training – When an employee notices something that may be hazardous in the facility, they should be trained on how to respond properly. For example, if they aren’t sure whether or not something is dangerous, they should know who to go to for clarification. When they know something is creating a hazard, they should know how to sound the proper alarms.
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Training – Each facility will have different requirements when it comes to what personal protection equipment is used at all times, and what is available for certain activities. All employees in the area should know how to use all the PPE that is available so they are prepared for an emergency.
- Chemical Hazards Training – Teaching everyone how to read safety labels so that they know what each of the chemicals and other products in the laboratory are is essential.
This type of general training should be given to everyone who works in the area, no matter what their role in the company may be. Giving regular updates to this training is also essential since people tend to forget things that they don’t think about on a regular basis.
Specific Safety Training
In addition to covering the general training that everyone should receive, it is a good idea for facilities to take the time to provide specific job training to each individual. This is above and beyond the actual training of how to perform their day to day responsibilities.
Providing everyone with safety training that is tailored to their specific role will make them experts in identifying any risks or hazards in the workplace. When individuals are equipped with this specialized training, they can better respond to something when it is out of the ordinary. Some examples of what this type of training may cover include:
- Machine Monitoring – People working in labs should have an excellent understanding of the machines that they use the most. Whether it something simple like a compound mixer or something much more complex, knowing when there is a problem with a machine is important for preventing safety hazards.
- Chemical Reactions – Knowing what type of reactions can occur when using the chemicals they most often use is very important. Becoming an expert in the different chemicals and compounds in their lab can help to avoid problems.
- Evacuation Routes – In the event of an emergency, each employee should know exactly where they should go to find safety. Having a primary and a secondary evacuation route in place can help to keep everyone safe.
- Safety Equipment – Teaching everyone how to use any safety equipment that will be used in their job is essential. This could include anything from safety goggles to a full Haz Mat suit.
The bottom line with this type of job specific safety training is that everyone should know how to perform not only their day to day job duties safely, but also how they should respond in the event of an emergency. This will help keep people calm during danger so everyone can get to safety.
Chemical Lab Safety
In just about all laboratories, one of the biggest hazards will be related to the chemicals that are present in the area. With this in mind, it is easy to see why it is so important for all labs to take chemical safety very seriously.
One of the simplest, yet most important ways to keep everyone safe when working with or around chemicals is to ensure everyone knows what chemical is in each container, and what type of hazards it may present.
Labeling Chemical Containers
The best way to make sure everyone knows what chemical is in which container is to use high quality labels. Many chemicals will come in a container that is already labeled, which can be great. If that is not the case, or you move chemicals into custom containers, however, you’ll need to create your own labels.
In order to do this, you’ll need to have a high quality label printer in the laboratory that can print off the exact labels you require. For many labs, this means purchasing a LabelTac label printer. These printers can make high quality, long lasting labels that have both text and pictograms on them to ensure you are in compliance with all OSHA standards.
In addition, these labels can contain custom warnings and information that will help to alert everyone to any potential danger.
Of course, labels are not going to be helpful if you don’t provide the employees with training on how to properly read and understand them.
This is why laboratory safety always begins with proper training for all the employees. Without that, no other safety standards will be effective.
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- Hazard Communication – 1910.1200– safetyblognews.com
- DIY Workplace Labels – Make These 8 Types Yourself– creativesafetypublishing.com
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- How to Create Custom, Durable Labels– thermalboss.com