What Hazards Are Present In A Laboratory?

Thursday 3rd March 2022

Alice Redshaw

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CONTENTS

Due to the complex research carried out in laboratories, there are a multitude of hazards that those working in this environment need to be aware of on a daily basis.

The safety of those working in laboratories must be taken seriously, with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) estimating that approximately 230,000 people work in the biomedical field alone.

Risks range from chemical hazards to physical injuries, but all must be treated with the same amount of severity. Have a read of our blog to learn about some of the main dangers that are present within laboratories, and how they can occur.

Chemical hazards

Health implications resulting from exposure to harmful chemicals are a constant risk in a laboratory. Many are used for research and conducting experiments, each carrying their own dangers. To find out more about the details of chemicals and their toxicity, please click here.

Only those qualified to deal with these substances should work with them, and training needs to be provided to employees who will be tasked with handling these hazards in the future.

Damage to human health from dangerous chemicals can be severe, some of which can affect employees long-term. For example, corrosive substances have the ability to melt flesh, which could have catastrophic consequences for victims.

Other risks include skin irritation and burns, which is why Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is so important in this environment. The utmost care must be taken when working with any kind of chemicals, and chemical spill clean-up needs to be carried out immediately.

Biological hazards

Biological hazards are an ever present danger in laboratories, often found in workplaces that test on animals. Those who work in this area may experience allergies around test subjects, ranging from sneezing to nausea.

Sharps can also cause risks to humans, so any needles or other equipment of this sort should be carefully cleaned and disposed to prevent harm coming to anyone.

Care must be taken to stop biological agents from spreading throughout the laboratory, so it is crucial all necessary precautions are always in place. This includes wearing gloves, lab coats and industrial googles to stop contact with skin and eyes.

It is no surprise, then, that hygiene and thorough laboratory cleaning is a priority in these kinds of premises. Biological hazards have the ability to travel easy and could be detrimental to workers' health should they encounter them. Therefore, they need to be safely secured at all times when not being used for work.

Our laboratory cleaning services are on hand for all your safety needs, with our teams working diligently to keep your premises fresh and spotless for your research.

Flammable substances

Flammable materials are another hazard present in laboratories because of the nature of the work that is performed. When conducting any research or experiments with these substances, all safety regulations need to be followed.

Examples of flammable materials include:

  • Gasoline
  • Acetone
  • Toulene
  • Hexane

Wearing PPE is necessary when working with flammable substances due to the harm they pose to your health. Particular care is also required around open flames, as the risk of danger from an explosion is very real.

Electrical equipment

Though this might not be the most thought of hazard when laboratories come to mind, the consequences of not using electricity safely in the workplace can be devastating.

Accidents can occur from:

  • Extension cords
  • Sparking plugs
  • Liquid interfering with electrical equipment
  • Faulty tools

Any measures in place for using appliances safely must be followed cautiously. This will limit the possibility of injuries occurring from not using equipment properly.

All of the electrical equipment used within the laboratory should be regularly monitored and checked to make sure it is working in the correct manner. Additionally, employees need be mindful when working with liquids near electrical devices to prevent accidents.

Full training should be provided on dangerous machinery for those who are going to be responsible for operating it. This is essential because incorrect use of this type of equipment can lead to death in severe situations.

Physical injuries

Lastly, physical injuries are prominent within a laboratory workplace while research and experiments are taking place.

Injuries often transpire from animal experiments in the form of cuts and bites. These should be properly treated and covered to stop them from becoming contaminated.

Slips, trips and falls take place too, as in most other work spaces. Equipment should always be stored in the correct place when it is not being used, and care taken when using long electrical cords so that people do not trip over them.

Glass tubing is another way that physical injury can take place within a laboratory. These are very commonly used for research so breakages may happen. As with cuts and bites, this must be dealt with properly and any shards of glass cleaned up promptly.

Professional cleaning services

Our pharmaceutical & laboratory cleaning is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Our extensive experience means we understand the numerous hazards present in this workplace, and know how to effectively treat them to reduce the risks they cause.

From wearing the correct PPE to following stringent health and safety guidelines throughout the clean, we will make sure that all required measures in place.

Our technicians undergo thorough training prior to completing any work for us. It is vital that they are equipped with the correct skills and qualifications to perform the job well but safely.

Chemical spill clean-up

As many chemicals are used in laboratories, spillages undoubtedly happen. Our technicians are able to perform clean-up on any substances spilt and can be on site within the hour to begin work in cases of emergency.

We are also qualified to dispose of hazardous materials in certified removal sites. We do everything possible during the clean to make sure the health of everyone in your workplace is protected. Click here to find out more.

Get in touch

To book the pharmaceutical & laboratory cleaning services we provide, reach out to our team today on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk

We can create bespoke services tailored to your individual needs and use only non-abrasive and non-toxic solutions during the clean.

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