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A Gram of Prevention for Laboratories

Photo of a lab after an explosion

Accidents happen! But when they happen in a lab, the damage can be disastrous. An emergency response guide with step-by-step procedures for handling common issues is de rigueur these days. But by the time you’re using the emergency response guide, it’s too late. Too late to save study material and data; too late to avoid injury to people and damage to equipment; too late to save money.

You can take the safety of your lab workers a step further with an accident prevention plan. Of course, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is all over accident prevention with their injury and illness prevention programs, aimed at helping “employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt.”

Sounds great. After all, who wants to be hurt or pay for a new centrifuge? Implementation and training are the key. Vince McLeod, writing for Lab Manager, outlined a general accident prevention plan, drawing on OSHA guidelines:

  1. Identify hazards in your lab; evaluate and control them
  2. Accident response
  3. Accident reporting and investigation
  4. Regulatory compliance

Implementing — or even just updating — your lab’s accident prevention plan is going to take time and cooperation from those who work in the lab. But it’s a great investment against injury, damaged equipment, and law suits.

[Photo credit: KOMUnews, CC BY 2.0]