Setting Up a Sound Set of Lab Safety Policies and Protocols, Part 1

Every lab should have an up-to-date set of lab safety policies and protocols. A sound and comprehensive set of rules and reminders can prevent most of the lab safety accidents about which we periodically post.

So, we’ve put together some idea starters to give lab managers and policymakers a few building blocks for their own policies. The list is extensive and will take two posts to cover, but it should not be considered as a complete guide to lab safety issues. Every lab is different and any list will need to be expanded upon and tailored to meet the particular needs of your lab.

With these caveats, here is part one of our list.

General Lab Safety Rules

  • Before you begin working in any lab, locate and read all fire alarm and safety signs. If you do not understand any signage or posted rules, get assistance or a translation as necessary.
  • Make sure you know where your lab’s exits and fire alarm pull stations are located.
  • Know your building’s evacuation procedures. If any renovation is underway in your building, learn whether it will impact those evacuation procedures, and then determine and practice an alternate route to safety.
  • Know where to find the phone numbers you need to use in case of an emergency. Store those numbers on your phone so they are always with you, regardless of where in the lab or building you might be.
  • Make sure you know where your lab’s safety equipment is stored and how to use it. This can include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, eye-wash stations, and safety showers.
  • Make certain that any lab areas containing hazardous materials and machinery (such as biohazards, carcinogens, radioisotopes, and lasers) are properly marked with appropriate warning signs.
  • Do not install or store dedicated lab furniture, instruments, or equipment within a three-foot radius of any and all building fire sprinkler heads.
  • If you notice any unsafe conditions in your lab, let your supervisor know immediately.
  • If there is a fire drill, be certain to turn off all electrical equipment and close all containers before departing the lab.
  • Follow all instructions in the event of an accident or emergency, and encourage others to do the same. (Your safety can be compromised by a colleague’s careless disregard for lab safety rules.)
  • If you have been injured or need assistance, shout out as loudly as you can, as soon as possible, to summon help.
  • If a chemical splashes into your eye(s) or onto your skin, immediately flush the affected areas with running water for at least 20 minutes (preferably using the eye-wash station or safety shower previously noted).
  • Report all injuries, accidents, and broken equipment or glass immediately. No incident is too small or unimportant to be reported when lab safety is at stake.

Here at IonBench, we promote safety in every way possible. We have designed our dedicated lab furniture to put safety first. To learn more about all the safety features of the IonBench MS and IonBench LC, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233. Also stay tuned for Part two of our list of General Lab Safety Rules.