Laboratory safety

There are many hazards associated with laboratories.

Employers must take precautions to make sure employees are protected from chemicals or biohazardous materials entering the body.

Chemicals can enter the body by breathing, through the skin, eating, and injection. Inhalation (breathing in vapours or particulates) is the most common way that chemicals enter the body. Chemical exposure to the skin or eyes is another way that chemicals can get absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Unintentional ingestion of chemicals can occur if food, drink, or our hands are contaminated.

For this reason, food and drinks are not allowed inside a laboratory, and employees should wash their hands before eating. Finally, an injection may occur through sharp injuries or punctures to the skin.

The safety data sheet for each hazardous product in the laboratory must be reviewed before storing, handling, or using the product. It is important to note any incompatible products or safety measures before using the chemical. Some products require additional precautions including perchloric acid, picric acid, peroxide-forming compounds, and cryogenic liquids.

Through exhaust ventilation, guarding, safe work practices, and personal protective measures, employers can protect the health and safety of laboratory workers.


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