Working safely in the laboratory

Working safely in the laboratory

Laboratories must meet special standards to ensure safe work.

The safety precautions in laboratories go far beyond the location of the chemical substances. Knowledge of life-saving protocols and emergency procedures is essential. It is not without reason that laboratory safety has many facets: it is the key to a secure scientific future.

A secure scientific future includes a wide variety of dimensions. On the one hand, it includes the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the protection of researchers from potential dangers. Furthermore, laboratory safety consists of the responsible use of chemicals. This is also crucial for protecting researchers from danger. On top of that, work utensils in laboratories must be secured due to their environment and value. The measures not only ensure a safe working environment, but also promote the acquisition of meaningful results.

Access regulations and handling regulations

In order to protect employees and the environment, strict safety precautions apply in laboratories. This needs to be tracked as soon as you enter a laboratory. Precautions include, among other things, wearing the necessary protective clothing. This can vary depending on the institution and the level of research: In principle, sturdy and closed footwear is required in every laboratory. When working with substances that are harmful to health, suitable protective gloves must be worn. UV light sources require appropriate face protection and closed clothing.

In addition to protective clothing, there are also facilities where vaccinations and regular immunity checks are required for entry. Particular attention is recommended here in microbiology, virology or cell biology. Dealing with human pathogens requires conscious use of safety protocols (an example of the extent of a safety error is provided by A laboratory accident is suspected as the origin of the coronavirus “Sars-CoV-2”). Access is therefore restricted to laboratories with genetic engineering work areas. Cleaning and maintenance personnel may only act with authorization.

In addition, it is important to know the personalized handling regulations before entering a laboratory. These can be requested in advance if they are not already communicated in the form of information materials or security contracts. The handling regulations vary depending on the facility standards and concern knowledge of disinfectants, the condition of the rooms, and the limitation of desk use for record-keeping purposes.

Overview: Legal regulations and guidelines
Technical Rules for Biological Agents (TRBA) Standards practice the handling of biological and chemical substances
Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV)
Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Industrial Safety Ordinance (BetrSichV) obliges employers to provide safe work equipment and risk assessment
Genetic engineering legal safety standard (GenTSV) regulates the handling of genetically modified organisms
TRGS (Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances) provides detailed instructions for the safe handling of specific hazardous substances

Bans in laboratories

Another part of the safety measures are strict prohibitions. These should also be noted before entering a laboratory. The uniform prohibitions include the following:

  • Dealing with private itemsPrivate items and food may not be stored in the laboratory. They must be stored in the lounge. Eating, drinking, smoking and taking snuff is prohibited in the work rooms.
  • Dealing with scientific objectsScientific objects are stored in the laboratory. Lounge rooms will not be entered with protective clothing. When using suction devices, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent hazardous substances from escaping.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The PSA defines all measures that protect researchers from potential dangers. As already mentioned, wearing protective clothing is required. In addition to appropriate shoes, protective gloves and face protection, there are other items that fall under the PPE category. PPE also includes laboratory coats, breathing masks and other safety equipment, which are intended to minimize contact with dangerous substances.

Handling chemicals

The safe handling of chemicals also requires compliance with laboratory safety measures. In this context, storage is particularly important. The chemicals must be stored and labeled correctly. Furthermore, all substances and substances must be treated in accordance with the guidelines of their safety data sheets. The safety sheets contain information on safe storage and the potential hazards.

Safety devices

Safety devices include all construction and equipment elements located in the laboratory. Regular inspection and maintenance is essential for the elements. Because their effectiveness and their perfect functioning determine the safety at the specific workplace. Failure to ensure proper functioning of safety equipment such as emergency showers, eyewash stations and fire extinguishers can have significant impacts on the health of employees and the environment.

A comprehensive laboratory security policy based on safety devices also covers the protection of property and research equipment. The possibility of safety devices and Insure office property Being able to do this also benefits scientists. So-called item insurance offers an additional layer of security. This can minimize financial burdens in the event of damage and ensure that research activities continue smoothly.

Technical cleanliness

Many elements of the security system today work on the basis of technical processes. A well-known example in this context is the use of special smoke detectors, which are connected to an alarm system and the emergency call. Training facilities and laboratories work with this system to minimize the level of danger. Regular inspection and maintenance can also be crucial in this context. Technical cleanliness is important in laboratories to guarantee performance, reliability and safety of systems.

Emergency measures

Finally, emergency measures must also be taken into account when it comes to laboratory safety. In summary, emergency procedures are critical to the safety of all employees. Everyone in the laboratory should know the location of emergency showers, eyewash stations, and fire extinguishers. This should include knowledge of first aid measures and how to use emergency equipment. Clear evacuation plans and emergency call procedures should also be an integral part of a responsible laboratory. In an emergency, quick and conscious action is of the utmost importance. Raising awareness can minimize risks such as injuries and potential long-term damage.

December 19, 2023

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