Many people who spend their careers working in labs are highly committed scientists, researchers, doctors and others who wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. However, most lab work comes with some serious risks.
Over 500,000 people in the U.S. work in labs. Among the potentially dangerous materials and substances they work with are biological hazards, including diseases, viruses and bloodborne pathogens. Many lab employees work with hazardous chemicals.
Working around dangerous substances requires numerous safety protocols
Every lab should have strict safety protocols in place for the protection of those who work there and to prevent accidents that could compromise the safety of others. Among the key safety protocols are the following:
- Lab waste must be disposed of properly. This includes gloves, biological samples, chemicals and more.
- Employees should know where the safety equipment is located, and it needs to be properly maintained. This may include things like eyewash stations, fire extinguishers and safety showers.
- Emergency exit routes need to be clearly marked.
- All chemical containers need to be clearly labeled.
- Everyone needs to wear proper protective equipment and clothing.
- Employees need to know how to handle and use the equipment they’re working with.
- Any toxic or potentially hazardous materials need to be labeled and secured as necessary.
Employees in many labs understand that they are working with potentially dangerous substances. However, they have the right to a safe and healthy workplace where they’re free from the risk of being injured or becoming ill.
If you have suffered an injury or illness through your work in a lab, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help you get the medical care you need and support yourself and your family during the time you’re unable to work.