Whether you’re brand-new to lab work or you’ve been at it for quite a few years, it never hurts to have a refresher of potential hazards that could occur. While they’re not all life-threatening, a good amount o them can be. So, without further ado, here’s our list of the most common laboratory safety risks to be aware of.
Standard Cuts and Gashes
Let’s start with a simple one. At any point while working in the lab, you could get cut with a knife or a broken piece of glass. Hopefully, the cut won’t be too bad, but if it’s deep enough, you might need to be rushed to the hospital.
Minor cuts still need to be taken seriously, though. If not covered properly, you could end up with a chemical or two seeping into the wound and getting into your bloodstream. Depending on what chemical it was, it could have disastrous results.
Spilled Chemicals on Your Skin
Not all chemicals need a direct route into your body. Some of them are able to seep through your skin and infect you that way. It’s always good to have chemicals like these properly labeled because chemical spills can also be quite common, and you’ll need to know how vital it is that you thoroughly clean the area that came into contact with the chemicals.
Certain chemicals could start affecting you right away by burning your skin or causing an allergic reaction. No matter how well the chemicals are labeled, though, accidents still happen, so ensuring that you’re fully covered when dealing with them is the safest thing you can do.
Airborne Toxic Fumes
While it’s not the most common laboratory safety risk to be aware of, the next one on our list can be a bad one. Some chemicals have a nasty habit of entering your body through the air. When dealing with these toxins, it’s essential that you and the people around you wear the proper breathing equipment. That way, none of you will end up with harsh chemicals in your lungs that could cause immediate harm or cause you to develop horrible diseases later in life.
There are times when the chemicals you’re dealing with are already in gas form. If that’s the case, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t damage the canisters they’re in, especially during any transportation they might have to go through. As long as you handle them carefully, you’ll be fine.
Flash Fires or Explosions
Not all airborne chemicals become that way naturally, though. Sometimes, they get in the air when fire heats them up. While you can expect there to be contained flames in a lab, not all of them stay that way. Flash fires occur all the time, and they’re dangerous for obvious reasons. However, they can also be harmful to people if the things they burn release toxic gases into the air, as we previously mentioned. Plus, if a flame hits the right chemicals, it could cause an explosion.
Unfortunately, the detonation of chemicals can happen in other ways, too. Simply mixing the wrong chemicals can cause a reaction that ends in a violent explosion. Be sure to pay close attention to the things you’re putting together when you’re hard at work in the lab.
Categories: Science Talk Stuff