Laboratory Safety in Academic Environments

Woman Working in a LabLaboratories are indispensable to academic facilities because of the wealth of information that they provide. When it comes to school labs, students and teachers must follow strict protocols to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the building.

In school labs, the risk of fires and chemical spills is ever present. For example, Enviro Care Inc., an environmental remediation company in Utah, had to remove a cabinet from a high school because it contained mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic substance that is nevertheless a common material found in laboratories, especially since it is found in thermometers.

Though it is unclear how the mercury ended up there, it is possible that it was a chemical spill. Both teachers and students have to work together to prevent such mishaps from occurring.

Create a Safe Environment

Though school laboratories tend to have less equipment than a commercial or private laboratory, it is still important to follow all of the stringent safety guidelines.

You should fit out the laboratory itself with safety storage equipment and devices. The addition of fume hoods, fire extinguishers, and safety cabinets for flammable or hazardous equipment helps minimize liquid spills and the dangers it poses. Also, they control the spread of volatile gasses.

Build a Culture of Lab Safety

It is also important to instill a culture of lab safety in all students, teachers, and personnel. Before doing any work inside the lab, you have to brief students on safety practices, which may include handling, storage, and proper disposal of toxic materials.

Everyone inside the laboratory is also expected to be responsible for their workstations. You should not allow students to engage in risky behavior and they must report any problems that they may encounter immediately.

Lab safety is all about responsibility and accountability. Safety practices must be fully internalized and implemented at all times.