In this article we will discuss about some of the safety measures that will help you to prevent from laboratory hazards.
There are many categories of hazards that might be encountered in a laboratory setting, and situations can change frequently. Even after you have identified and controlled all current risks, it is critical that you remain open to the possibility that new unexpected dangers can arise. Periodically verify that the Laboratory Information Card (LIC) and other hazard warnings are current; advise Environmental Health and Safety whenever changes to the LIC are required.
Carry out weekly inspections on the condition of:
i. Fire extinguishers
ii. Emergency wash devices such as eyewashes and drench hoses (run these for several minutes and update inspection tags
iii. First aid kit contents
iv. Fume hood and other ventilation devices
v. Tubing for circulating water, vacuum, gases
vi. Chemical storage compartments
Also, ensure that fire extinguishers and emergency showers are inspected, tested and tagged annually.
Among potential laboratory hazards, be alert for the following:
Microbiological Disease-Producing Agents and their Toxins:
Physical or Mechanical Hazards:
i. Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
iii. Poor equipment design or work organization (ergonomic hazards)
iv. Tripping hazards
v. Excessive noise or heat
Psychosocial Conditions that Can Cause Psychological Stress Abelling:
Labels alert people to the dangers of the product and basic safety precautions. It is imperative that all containers in laboratories are clearly identified.
Hazards in Laboratory:
The hazards and accidents in the laboratory may be discussed under the following areas:
3. Cuts and pricks
4. Hazards to toxic chemicals
5. Electric shocks
Infection in the laboratory can occur in different ways, but the commonest causes are:
i. Inhalation of pathogens in air-borne droplets (aerosols) which are released during breakage or spilling of infectious fluids, centrifuging, dispensing or pipetting of infectious materials and snap-opening and closing of specimen containers.
ii. Ingestion of pathogens from contaminated food or fingers.
iii. Ingestion of pathogens by mouth-pipetting.
iv. Pathogens finding their way into the body through needle pricks, cuts, scratches, insect-bites, sores or skin lesions.
Burns sustained in the laboratory may be caused by:
i. Inflammable substances catching fire.
ii. Fires from Bunsen burners, spirit lamps or from faulty or overloaded electric circuits.
iii. Swallowing of corrosive substances during pipetting or spilling, such substances on the skin.
3. Cuts and Pricks:
Cuts and pricks may result from:
i. Edges or broken glassware’s.
ii. Edge of a knife.
iii. Accidental pricking with needle or any other sharp instrument.
iv. Walking on glass chippings.
4. Hazards of Toxic Chemicals:
Hazards due to toxic chemicals result from:
i. Inhalation of fumes of toxic chemicals.
ii. Swallowing or ingesting toxic chemicals during mouth pipetting
iii. Skin contact with toxic chemicals.
5. Electric Shocks:
Electric shocks, usually due to ignorance or carelessness can be caused by:
i. Faulty electrical circuits.
ii. Incorrect installation of equipment.
iii. Touching exposed live wires.
Safety Measures in Laboratory:
All specimens arriving in the laboratory should be regarded as being potentially pathogenic. It is a very wrong notion to think that only specimens meant for bacteriological investigation are infectious. A specimen of cerebrospinal fluid sent for glucose estimation may be a part of the same specimen sent for bacterial meningitis investigation.
The same is true of a specimen of blood sent for hemoglobin or packed cell volume measurement which may contain infectious microorganisms. The laboratory worker must therefore, observe some “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to prevent laboratory acquired infections.
Some of the rules for the laboratory worker are:
1. He/she should wear protective clothing (laboratory coats/gowns) over normal clothing: preferably. Wear closed shoes and not walk barefooted in the laboratory.
2. All specimens and infected materials should be handled with care.
3. He/she should avoid eating. Drinking or chewing gum in the laboratory.
4. He/she should refrain from smoking in the working zone of the laboratory and also refrain from applying cosmetics in the laboratory.
5. Nothing should be pipette with the mouth. Gummed labels should not be licked neither, should pens or pencils be put in the mouth, or stuck in the hair.
6. Protective gloves or plastic aprons should be worn when collecting blood sample for hepatitis, AIDS or viral hemorrhagic fever investigations.
7. Used needle should be inserted back into its guard immediately after use. But due to the increased awareness of the risks of infection from needle pricks, it is no longer advisable to recap used needles. Instead, “Sharp safe” containers should be made available for immediate disposal of used needles. The containers are finally incinerated.
8. When handling specimens or culture containing highly infectious pathogens gloves should be worn.
9. Process specimens or cultures containing highly infectious pathogens in the safety cabinet.
10. Any cuts, insect bites, open sore or wounds should be covered with water-proof adhesive dressing.
11. Finger nails should be kept short.
12. All infected or contaminated materials should be disinfected before disposal.
13. There should be a jar of disinfectant on each bench at the start of the day’s work. The disinfectant must be changed every day.
In case of any spillage, disinfectant solution should be poured to cover the spilled.