Finding work in any kind of laboratory can be an exciting career but it can also be pretty dangerous, if you aren't careful. Most labs are full of chemicals and precision instruments that can be hazardous if misused.
Knowing little or nothing about what kind of hazards can arise in your workplace can actually make you much more vulnerable to injury, which is the last thing you need at work.
That is why many laboratories develop what are called Chemical Hygiene Plans, often shortened to CHPs to help to inform their workers how to monitor their use of potentially perilous substances in the lab setting.
If the lab in which you work does not have its own CHP, you should sensitively suggest to one of your supervisors that you develop one, and it should include some of the following things.
This may seem like a given, but be sure to have clearly posted the contact information of all important laboratory personnel. Also have easy access to numbers for Poison Control and other emergency services. Do not hesitate to make contact with supervisors or medical services when necessary.
Every member of the laboratory team needs to agree upon a set of procedures to enact when there is an emergency, including an evacuation route. The route should be posted clearly, and there should be frequent reminders of the plan. It should be included in training sessions for new workers.
Be sure to maintain an accurate chemical inventory. Make sure that this inventory is given an easily discernable title and heading. Make sure it includes the room number and building name, the name of the department, the person who is responsible for making the inventory, and the date which it was made.
The list of chemicals itself should in a concise manner identify the chemical name, the approximate amount, the location of that chemical within the lab, any possible quantity changes, and some basic hazard warnings, which can be limited to abbreviations like "TOX," for toxic. Make sure these things are understood by all staff.
All kinds of laboratories across various industries are in need temperature sensors. Make sure that yours are up to date with advancing technology and as sensitive as you need them to be. Teach all employees to pay close attention to them to avoid burns or contact with materials not suitable for handling.
When your employees are well educated and prepared, they will be safer all-around, which continues to make their work more exciting and rewarding. And when their work is rewarding, they will certainly be more productive and that benefits everybody.
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