Who is responsible for safety in your laboratory? YOU! You are most responsible for your own safety and that of your coworkers. Here is a list of common good habits that all lab personnel should observe. As always, become familiar with, and follow, your own company's laboratory guide book on lab safety.
Good Lab Habits
Read through the entire protocol before starting, so you know what to expect. Be sure to have the needed chemicals, equipment, and time to complete the task.
Identify the hazards and match your level of protection to meet them. Chemicals, toxins, and biological hazards can enter the body via inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and injection. Safety measures and safety wear include:
Gloves impervious to chemicals being used
Safety glasses with side shields
Lab coat or apron
Closed toe shoes
Treat every chemical as potentially hazardous.
Read and pay attention to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), especially when dealing with unfamiliar chemicals.
Make yourself familiar with the locations of safety equipment such as:
Electrical control panels
Emergency phone numbers
Work carefully and cleanly! Pay attention to drips and spills and wipe them up appropriately before they get spread around.
Gloves protect your hands, but they do not protect other parts of you or other items you touch.
Dispose of wastes in designated containers. DO NOT mix hazards!
Trust your instincts. If something doesn't look, smell, or seem right, it probably isn't. Check!
Have only the chemicals you are currently using out and available. All others should be put away.
Do not play around or distract individuals who are handling chemicals or equipment in the lab.