Setting Up Reliable Lab Safety Policies and Protocols, Part 2

Every lab needs a current collection of lab safety policies and protocols. Our prior post began a two-part series about general lab safety rules. In this post, we complete the series—with the caveat that, because every lab situation is unique, these lists should be amended to meet the specific needs of your lab and your work there. Please also note that these relatively brief posts should never be considered comprehensive guides to addressing every lab safety issue.

With these provisos, here is Part 2.

General Lab Safety Rules

  • Never operate lab equipment without first being trained, tested, and approved as a user by your supervisor or other authorized lab personnel.
  • Never chew gum, drink, or eat while working in the lab. Foreign substances should never be brought into the lab because cross-contamination can endanger your health and raise the possibility of contaminating your work.
  • Laboratory glassware should never be used to hold food or drink. (If you follow the prior rule about cross-contamination, this one will never become an issue.)
  • Each time you use lab glassware, carefully check for chips and cracks. Do not use any damaged glassware, and if you discover any issues, notify your lab supervisor. Regarding lab safety and the possibility of cross-contamination, damaged glassware should be properly disposed.
  • Never lift anything (solutions, apparatuses, glassware) above eye level. (Our answer for that doesn’t involve a step stool.)
  • Do not attempt to repair equipment problems yourself. If an instrument or piece of equipment does not operate properly or fails while during a procedure, immediately report the issue to a technician.
  • Do not use open flame in your lab unless you have explicit permission from a qualified supervisor.
  • Always work in properly ventilated areas and verify that all fume hoods or snorkels are on and operational.
  • Never touch, smell, or taste chemicals. If you are uncertain about something, do not use it.
  • Never pipette by mouth.
  • Always follow established protocols for disposing of lab waste, including all items used in cleaning up after any procedures or lab accidents.
  • Never leave an ongoing experiment unattended.
  • Never work alone in the lab. When you leave the lab (for a break or at the end of your shift), verify that you aren’t leaving someone else alone in the lab.
  • If you are the last person to leave the lab, turn off every ignition source and lock all cabinets and doors.

IonBench believes in operating safely in every lab and safety is also critical in the manufacturing of our dedicated lab furniture. Our IonBench LC safely rises and lowers with the touch of a button—you don’t have to lift anything above eye level to service your HPLC or UHPLC. To learn more about other safety features we have built into our IonBench MS and IonBench LC, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.