Preventing many laboratory safety risks is possible. In general, laboratories tend to have more health and safety risks than other workplaces. According to OSHA, there are more than 500,000 workers employed in labs in the U.S. The laboratory environment can be a hazardous place to work. Consequently, it is vital to train lab workers to recognize hazards in their workplace. Furthermore, workers must protect themselves from those hazards by following safety practices in order to address the hazards that are present. Often workers are unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment. Unfortunately, this makes them more vulnerable to injury. Many hazards found in laboratories seem easy to spot; however, many are frequently overlooked.
Common Types of Laboratory Hazards Include:
- Toxins, Flammables, & Corrosives
- Fire, Malfunctioning Equipment, & Shock
- Microbes, Plants, & Animals
- Projectiles, Heating Devices, & Slipping
Many labs are more hazardous and risk-filled than the average workplace which makes understanding the hazards that are present in this work the first step to creating a safe environment for workers. Indeed, it is vital that all lab employees understand each and every hazard of the laboratory. Knowledge and clear safety practices can help protect workers from harm caused by hazards in the laboratory.
There are several specific OSHA standards that apply to laboratories. The Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) was created specifically for non-production laboratories. Other additional OSHA standards provide rules that protect workers from various aspects of laboratory activities and hazards in laboratories.
Employers’ Responsibilities for Keeping Lab Workers Safe:
Thanks to the OSHA Laboratory Standard, effective safety and training programs have been implemented to train laboratory personnel in safe practices. A crucial component of chemical education is to nurture attitudes so that safety is included in all laboratory activities. Particularly, preventing laboratory safety risks is needed to be most effective, safety and health must be incorporated into all laboratory processes. Strong safety culture is the result of positive workplace attitudes, involvement, and buy-in, of all members of the workforce.
Additionally, employers are required to develop and carry out a written Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). A CHP is a written program stating the policies, procedures, and responsibilities. These policies serve to protect employees from the health hazards associated with the hazardous chemicals used in that particular workplace. Overall, the CHP contains work practices, procedures, and policies that should provide a safe and healthy environment.
Laboratories present many challenges. It is easy to overlook worker health and safety. However, we can prevent both job-related illness and injury with proper guidance and training. With the many types of hazards found in Laboratories, safety training is especially important. In order to meet the need for safety training, National Safety Compliance offers several lab-specific training courses.
Laboratory-Specific Training We Offer:
- Orientation to Lab Safety Training
- Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Lab Training
- Laboratory Hoods Training
- OSHA Formaldehyde Standard Lab Training
- Safety Showers & Eye Washes in the Lab Training
- Eye Care Safety Game
- Safe Handling of Glassware in the Lab Training
- Preventing Contamination in the Lab Training
- Planning for Lab Emergencies Training
- Laboratory Ergonomics Training
- GHS Safety Data Sheets in the Lab
- Flammables & Explosives in the Lab Training
- Electrical Safety in the Lab Training