The longer you work in research, the greater chance you have of witnessing – or experiencing first hand – a hazardous situation that can lead to an accident. These are the moments that are passed down to future scientists as scary, funny, or “I can’t believe how bad that situation could have been!” stories with the hope that they are learned from – and that history doesn’t repeat itself.
What are some of the common scenarios that can result in an accident?
- Limited understanding of how an item or tool works.
- Using a chemical reagent before reading its MSDS.
- Avoiding PPE like the plague.
- Wanting to learn more information about an item and not knowing where to begin looking for it (or depending entirely on a colleague for instruction – who knows just as much, or little, as you do).
- Throwing sensible and established safety principles out the window, in an impossible quest to save time (this one is rare, but happens).
There’s good news, though: laboratory accidents are preventable!
Whether you’re beginning in science for the first time, coming back after some time off or moving to a new lab and a new field of research, take a moment to review the basics. We’ve created a succinct guide that takes the “crash” out of “crash course” and helps you hit the ground running to complete your next experiment safely.
Here’s what you can find in our introductory guide, The BitesizeBio Guide to Lab Safety.
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Personal Protective equipment: Dress for success
How to wear a lab coat
How to take care of a lab coat
When not to wear a lab coat
How to use gloves effectively
How to store gloves
When to change your gloves
When not to use gloves
Face and Head Protection
Choosing the right eyewear
Chapter 3 – Common lab hazards
Using a fumehood
Reagent and chemical disposal
Using a tissue culture hood
How to minimize your risk
Measure your dose: exposure monitoring
Working with Bunsen burners
Microwaves and Hotplates
Extreme temperatures: autoclaves, freezers and liquid nitrogen
How to handle common lab accidents
The safety shower
Chapter 5 – Conclusion: Great places to find more safety information
Your lab’s safety manual
Your institution’s safety department
Your Right To Know: The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
No one should ever have to guess about how to run experimentation safely. It is my hope that once you read this e-book you will become empowered to see every laboratory with a more discerning eye, appreciate the safety principles that are well established and then be able to address areas that can be made better for you and your colleagues.
Although “Laboratory safety” is such a broad topic in itself, the basic principles will become second nature the more that you utilize them. When deeper questions arise during the unique research you do, you’ll know how to begin looking for the tools and the resources to seek out new knowledge and apply it. Click here to pick up your copy of The BitesizeBio Guide To Lab Safety today.