Chemicals need to be handled with care, and that’s why there are chemical hygiene plans that outline the dangers presented while working with chemicals in the lab as well as the tools to help those who are exposed to such hazards. Although policies are usually geared towards specific laboratories, there are specific safety elements that work for anyone who is working with chemicals.
The following safety procedure will help minimize chemical exposure and promote safety in your laboratory.
Anyone working with chemicals needs to be acquainted with the chemical hygiene plan since it helps them avoid exposure to hazardous materials. It’s crucial for those handling chemicals to be trained, but education shouldn’t just stop there. There should also be ongoing activities that address the various aspects of how to avoid exposure. For instance, they need to understand how to label the containers correctly and also evaluate the processes and procedures they are performing so that they take the right amount of chemicals required for the job.
Safety of Equipment
Although it’s necessary to label the containers, it’s equally important to have first aid kits, fire extinguishers, drench showers and eyewash stations so that anyone who’s exposed to chemicals can access the emergency tools to ease the effects of the exposure.
Handling Spilled Chemicals
When handling chemicals, there is a possibility of spillage. It’s important to understand how to manage spilled chemicals. In fact, with a spill response plan, you can effectively address the reporting requirements, how to obtain medical care, when to evacuate, proper ventilation and effective containment procedure. Having a spill kit in place can help to control and contain spill quickly and this helps in minimizing exposure.
Use the Right Safety Tools
Safety tools play a huge role when it comes to chemical exposure. For instance, using the wrong chemical is just as dangerous as using damaged glassware. However, if you take advantage of containment trays then it makes it easier to control the mess.
A Well Organized Storage Facility
If you have a storage facility that is well organized then it’s possible to guarantee safety when handling chemicals. It’s also essential for any stockroom to have a single supervisor since it promotes efficient storage and organization within the area. The supervisor will also be responsible for ensuring that expired chemicals are disposed, duplicate orders are replaced and that the inventory is properly kept. Even in instances where the storage space is full providing containment for shelves and segregating incompatible chemicals is equally essential in promoting workers safety. Also, it’s vital that there is a proper plan for properly disposing of, storing and handling chemicals.
Instituting The Right Housekeeping
Ensuring that the floors are always dry and clean will help in preventing fall and slip injuries which are one of the leading causes of lost work time and worker injury. However, soaking absorbent wipers and mat pads in spill-prone areas can help to reduce the chances of slip and fall accidents. If you efficiently clean up the place, then you lower the chances of spills and reaction as a result of the counter space being overcrowded.
It’s also not advisable to store excess chemicals on the countertops because it doesn’t give enough room for workers to perform their duties. Waste disposal procedures also need to be established and workers taught how to use the hood to dispose of volatile chemicals.
Take advantage of General SOPs
Each chemical comes with its own set of hazard which should be handled efficiently to ensure the safety of any worker. That’s why it’s essential to have a standard operating procedure that takes into account proper disposal of chemicals, safe use, safe handling and correct personal protective equipment that cover all the chemicals in the lab.
If you are working with chemicals in a laboratory, then air quality can sometimes be compromised. That why it’s essential to have a local exhaust system as well as exhaust hoods to increase safety. The national research council has also instituted best practices for handling chemicals which establishes a two and a half inch hood space for each person. Additionally, each of the hood space also comes with a monitoring device that allows for efficient hood performance.