A lab is an ultimate place to carry out experiments and research. However, things can turn ugly, because here you work with poisonous chemicals,Bunsen burners, glasses and other potentially dangerous equipment. Stories are told of people who lost their eyesight while doing experiments in the laboratory. Other lab accidents have even led to fatalities. Therefore, every time you are working in a lab, it is important to take caution. Always put on your protective clothing and have your laboratory equipped with all necessary safety equipment placed in a good market, visible, and readily accessible position within the lab.
Typical safety equipment that a standard laboratory should have is a lab coat, which needs to have long sleeves, white in color, knee length, and should be made of cotton, polyester, or naturally absorbent material. Apart from that, they should have a first aid kit, disposable hand gloves, etc.
More advanced safety equipment that every laboratory should have included:
1. Safety can
This canis of less than 5 gallon capacity, and contains a spring closed lid, spout cover and flame arrestor. This can is designed to relieve internal air pressure. Recommended safety cans for laboratory must have recommendations from Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL) and should be compatible with the chemicals that they are designed to contain. A laboratory technician should replace any safety can with a corroded spark arrestor screen, insufficient springs or any damaged parts immediately.
2. Fully equipped first aid Kit
Having a first aid kit is not enough, but having one that is fully equipped and regularly checked is encouraged. Regular inspections ensure that it remains restocked at all times. Also, this equipment should be accessible to everyone working in the laboratory. They are normally placed in a drawer or cabinet, and the drawer or cabinet must be labeled ‘FIRST AID KIT’ for easy access during an emergency.
3. A chemical spill kit
This is a necessity for laboratories that mostly work with dangerous chemicals. They should be located in fixed spots, around work areas for everyone to access them. A typical spill kit must have absorbent material, personal protective equipment, a container to collect the spill residue, a plastic dustpan and also a scoop. IF your laboratory works entails working with mercury, mercury thermometers and manometer, then ensure you have a mercury spill kit in place. Spill kits, just like the first aid kits should be regularly inspected and restocked. The ideal spill kit should contain absorbents, such as Acid Spill, Universal Spill Absorbent Material, Alkali (Base) Spill, Solvents or Other Organic Liquids. Personal protective equipment should include, Goggles and Face Shield, Plastic Vinyl Booties, Disposable Coveralls and Apron, Vinyl Gloves and Heavy Neoprene Gloves (disposable). Clean up materials also include, Plastic Dust Pan and Scoop, Plastic Bags -30 gallon and 3 mil thick, plastic bucket with lid for spill and absorbent residues (one, 5 gallon)
4. Safety shields (Portable)
In a laboratory, chances of explosions and fire break up are high, and therefore, to be safe, it is imperative to equip your lab with a portable safety shield, as it will give you limited protection against chemical splash hazards, fires, and explosions. These safety equipment works better where the hood sash fails to provide proper shielding. For better performance, these safety shields should be used together with a fume hood, since the safety shield does not offer protection from the sides and its back.
5. An eyewash station
It is a requirement for all laboratories that work with hazardous chemicals to have an eyewash station that is clearly labeled, unobstructed and easily accessible. The eye wash station comes in handy when there happens to be a chemical contamination of the eye and face. The victim needs to flush the eye with water for 15 minutes before seeking medical attention. It is recommended that these stations get supervised annually by bodies such as Facility Services, Physical Plant or the IUEHS. These agencies ensure that the station has proper flow as per the ANSI Standard, Z358.1 standards. The reason why these eyewashes should get activated weekly by the laboratory personnel is to ensure that they are working properly
No one knows when the peril will strike. The more one is equipped with more safety equipment; the better one can act fast and minimize greater damages from happening in the event of an accident.