Working in a biology lab can be exciting, interesting, and rewarding. It can also be dangerous if you are not alert and serious, and if you do not make sure that proper safety precautions are taken. You are the one responsible for making sure that the environment in the lab is safe, instructional, and enjoyable. This is because these things are everyone’s responsibility. Having practices that are unsafe can be a danger not just to you, but to everyone around you.
It is a given that there will be samples in a bio lab. These samples will need to be stored. There are companies, such as Pacific BioStorage, that offer storage facilities for those samples. These storage facilities meet all regulatory requirements and offer built-in redundancy. They also have controlled access, so you can be sure that the samples will be stored safely. Since safety is always a concern, you need to ensure that the facility you choose to store your samples has safety measures in place, like Pacific Biostorage does.
You might recall, back in 2014, samples of dangerous substances such as the bacteria that causes plague, and ricin, were found to be improperly stored. This was in laboratories of the National Institute of Health. Because of improper storage, these samples were destroyed.
According to OSHA, there are more than half a million workers in the US employed by laboratories. They go on to say that laboratories can be a dangerous place to work. This is because the workers in laboratories are exposed to quite a few potential dangers that can include dangers that have to do with radioactivity, physical dangers, biological dangers, and even chemical dangers. This is all without mentioning the stresses to the musculoskeletal system. The safety of laboratories is overseen by quite a few regulations from the local, state and even federal level.
LAIs, or Laboratory Associated Infections, first began to be reported at the beginning of the 20th century, according to a publication released by the CDC. By the year 1978, four different studies had been conducted by Pike and Sulkin and these studies found that between the years 1930 and 1978, there had been 4,079 laboratory associated infections and 168 of those infections resulted in death. This just goes to show you how critical safety measures are when it comes to biological laboratories.
Before you even enter a biolab, you need to be prepared for as well as knowledgeable about any of the exercises that are to be performed in the lab. This means that you need to know exactly what it is that you will be doing. Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of each of the procedures and purposes.
When you will be working in a biological lab, you need to ensure that your area is kept organized and neat. If there is a spill, you need to clean it up properly immediately and you might need to notify your supervisor, depending on what the spill consists of. Always remember that when you are finished with a given project, that your area is cleaned up properly and that you thoroughly wash your hands.
Wear the Right Clothing
Yes, accidents can and do happen in biolabs. Some of the chemicals that are used can cause damage to your clothing. Because of this, you need to ensure that you are wearing clothing that you can do without should it become damaged. It is always recommended that an apron or lab coat is worn at all times.
It is also recommended that proper shoes are worn. This would be shoes that can keep your feet protected in the event that something gets broken. Open toed shoes and or sandals are never recommended.
The very best way to ensure safety with chemicals is to always assume that the chemicals are hazardous. You need to know what type of chemicals you are handling and how they are supposed to be handled properly.
If there is ever a time when a chemical comes into contact with your skin, you need to immediately wash the area and inform your supervisor. You also need to always be wearing protective eye wear anytime you handle chemicals.
These are just a few of the safety precautions that you should take when working in a biolab. Can you list some others?