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Controlling Laboratory Hazards

Administrative and engineering controls can help minimize laboratory risks. However, safety conscious workers using good laboratory practices are the most important component of laboratory safety. The following factors are important for safe laboratory operations:

  • Adequate facilities:
    • Proper ventilation
    • Nonslip surfaces
    • Hand washing facilities
  • Available and appropriate safety equipment:
    • Personal protective equipment
  • Laboratory equipment
    • Safety devices on laboratory equipment, machines, devices, and instruments
  • Appropriate emergency equipment:
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Emergency showers
    • Eye wash stations
  • Appropriate procedures:
    • Good housekeeping
    • Personal hygiene (e.g., washing hands)
  • Knowledgeable workers:
    • Experienced
    • Trained

All laboratory rooms should be labeled with emergency contact information. If an incident occurs during off-hours, respondents need to know the names and telephone numbers of the people responsible for laboratory operations. Keep this information current and accurate. Emergency contact labels are available from EHSRM.

Properly trained and experienced workers have the greatest ability to control laboratory risks. By using good laboratory practices, workers can minimize hazards, exposure, contamination, and workplace accidents.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014